As with Damascus' Trail Days I am seeing a New bubble of hikers. I am either in between groups or more hikers are dropping out.
Today, I called it short. I didn't want to push my knee. I did pass up going into two shelters just off the trail. On a typical day I'll swing into read the shelter logs. I hiked just over 15 miles including 1 mile of road walking to get back to the trail from the hostel.
The terrain, mellow. The rock, well, in the way on the tread. Rocks slow me down when I need to, err, want to look around without stopping. Water sources, good. Historical value, high. In the region I now walk the Civil War ragged with the intensity of World Cup and strategy of chess masters.
I'm camping at a place called Dahlgren Backcountry Campground. Don't let the name for you, its right off a road just out if sight. Showers, electricit, and T-Mobile service. The last one is nice for a change.
I'm camping here are a few other hikers I've met in the last few days: O-Positive, Catch Up, and Sprout. I've stayed with Sprout in before the Shenandoah's. A few other hikers held up here during the day's heat and just headed out as I drowned a mug of noodles with garlic salt.
I ponder where the next mixer will be? I acknowledge life on the trail is much like life at home. There's a mix of seasons, mix of drama, mix of strengthening.
I've noticed a few shelters are missing log books. I am also skipping Shelton that are a distance from the trail so I might just be fooling myself that so many folks are off the trail but, as I talk with SoBo's and day hikers I get the impression that there are truly fewer and fewer NoBo's.