Having come another 160 miles from Damascus, I'm now approaching the middle of VA and have started to get a taste of what it has to offer. Unfortunately, it offer puds. Lots of them. Up and over the viewless Brushy Mt. 4 times in 2 days? Sure, sounds lovely!! Its begining to become a little more obvious why many people drop out here; with the warm weather comes more leaves and the onset of the notorious "long green tunnel" effect. Don't get me wrong, its a lovely place to walk in for a day or two, with quaint fields and pastures, great rivers, old farms, tons of flowers and the accompanying scents and colors... buts its hard to keep pushing during the day when every aspect of the scenery begs for a Hucklberry Finn-style nap with a straw hat pulled low over the eyes.
Luckily it hasn't all been so mellow, as the ascent of Mt Rogers and the Grayson Highlands afterwards were both awsome. Open upland meadows, half wild ponies and 70 mph gusts of wind tend to keep things interesting, as do ankle murdering rocks. Dismal Creek Falls was fun and accompanied by some welcome trail magic in the form of some vacationing Virginia Tech. students who brought and shared some bbq, as was the unexpected hitch into the town of Bland. Yes, a town called Bland. Luckily the company was good and the hitch back to the trail was fast, so it didn't sidetrack things too much. Nice views from the aptly named Angel's Rest down to Pearisburg where enough to whet my appatite for civilization to the point that I overshot the turnoff into town and had to hike several miles back, but it was all worth it for the resupply and a pint of ice cream.
I'm still making good time despite some earlier ankle pain which seems to have largley resolved itself, so now its just a simple 340 mile jaunt out of VA. Front Royal,VA, (zip code 22630) is my next big stopping destination, where word has it my sis has secured a sweet pad from one of her coworkers at the zoo; I'm reserving the shower in advance. Their animal rehabilitation park is out near the trail, and its should be one of the cooler sights on the trail through this state, so I'm definitely looking foward to it. After that is Harper's Ferry, WV, (zip code 25425), the spiritual half way point of the trail, and the point where the terrain and place names start getting a little more familiar. DC, NYC and CT get closer with each step, so remaining motivated isn't a problem. I'll be seeing everyone soon, but due to the awfull cell phone reception in VA so far, I can't promise how in touch I'll be. Regardless, messages are always welcome, and I hope everything is well in the real world. Talk to you all later.