Well it is hard to let you know all that had been happening out on the trail in my absence.  However, I can tell you that it has been a great time for Ryan and the kids.  They are all doing amazing… And have pushed through so many new milestones.

May 10th – No more slack packing.  The crew headed out from Shook Branch Recreation Area.  

We got a call from Ms. Janet letting us know that someone had found our Gopro on the trail.  What??? No one even knew it was missing.  Ryan called the person who had found it.  They made a plan to meet at the shelter, but to our surprise he was at the Rec Area when we arrived.  So meet our Gopro Hero… Theory.

I have the kids and Ryan hugs and kisses and said farewell.  It wasn’t easy to do, but I am so proud of them!  They hiked 9.1 miles to Vandeventer Shelter.

May 11th – Ryan and the kids hiked from Vandeventer Shelter to Abingdon Shelter.  Get this, they hiked 22.7 miles with their packs!!! Pictures to come.

I spent the day shuttling hikers to various places to eat and to the store, as well as cleaning the trailer.  Rain came in so it was a full house!!!

After taking someone to breakfast, we were treated to an impromptu song by Dr Barret! It was really cool!

May 12th – I got up early, and started helping to clean up the trailer.  And prepare to leave Doe River Hiker Rest.  There are not enough words to say how thankful that I am to have been able to stay at Doe River.  David is an amazing man, who really cares about hikers and his guests!!! It was awesome to witness him in action.

He called his buddy at Boots Off Hostel to see if he was heading to Damascus, and to see if he could give me a ride.  Thankfully he was, so about noon we headed out.

While all of that was going on, Ryan and the kids were bidding Tennessee farewell.  Three states down!!! 

Then shortly afterwards, they made their way into Damascus, VA… “Trail Town USA”.

I had called ahead and tried to find a place for everyone to sleep, shower, and rest.  Chuck, owner and operator of Woodchuck Hostel, agreed to let us all occupy his living room.  It was forecasted to rain about 2 inches, so anything under a roof woukd be more than amazing!!!  While I was still making my way to Damascus, Ryan picked up the mail, got everyone through the showers, and did the laundry!  Thank you babe!  And thank you Chuck for making room for all of us!

Jim, from Boots Off, have me a ride to town just in time for dinner.  

Though we didn’t stay there, his hostel is really really cool.  Can’t even tell you how cool it would be to run a hostel like his one day!!!

We walked to Subway for dinner.  We got soaked, but it was nice to eat subs full of veggies!

Chuck came to pick us up. And when we went back, we settled into the living room for the night!

May 13th – We woke up at about 7.  Included in our nights stay was a deliciously filling breakfast.  Then we started the process of packing up again.  

We weighed our packs, and ourselves!  We are all doing great!  No one had lost too much weight, some are even gaining a little! Even Belle is doing awesome!

And check out this hair!!!

We had a few things to pick up so we headed to the Dollar General, and returned to the post office to mail some things out!  While we were downtown, we ran into our friend Pigpen again!

Ava got her birthday card from Grammie and Grandpa Owen.  Thank you!

It took us awhile to leave town, but we finally did!

I hadn’t had my pack on for a while, and wasnt sure how my leg was going to feel, so we decided to take the Virgina Creeper Trail of of Damascus. It used to be the AT, but when it was made into a bike path, the trail was rerouted to the mountain. 

It was really beautiful.  The rivers were all raging, because of all of the rain.

It was awesome to be back with the family, though it wouldn’t last long.  About 8 miles in, I had to leave the trail.  The kids hiked on with Ryan… Completing 13.2 miles for the day.

I just love this kid!!!! Just thought I’d throw that in there!

I got a ride to town with Lumpy from Mount Rogers Outfitters, and then stayed the night with Pigpen and a couple of gals she has been hiking with.

They had been staying with a gal named Patricia, who just loves the Hiker culture, and though she’s only temporarily living in Damascus, she opens her apartment up to hikers in need.  She embodies the definition of Trail Angel.  Thank you!!!

May 14th – Mothers Day… Check out my post about my perspective on the day.

I ended up going to church and meeting Susie & Gaines Montgomery.  They are a super sweet couple, and I was so blessed to be able to spend time with them.  They even treated me to breakfast at Cracker Barrell.  Yummy!

Ryan and the kids hiked 14.8 miles from Virginia Creeper Junction to Thomas Knob Shelter. They saw a bunch of wild horses.  Pictures to come soon. 😊

So that brings you up to date for the past week… Stay tuned for updates on May 15th to present.  It’s not awesome that I am not able to be with the kids hiking, but we are making the best of it… 

While I yellow blaze it, the crew is flowing the white blazes on the Appalachian Trail!!! 

The journey continues!

Happy Trails ~ The Thru Crew 

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