Day 96: Thomas Knob Shelter to Damascus, VA

Sep 16, 2013
Apr 14, 2021
8833 ft
12323 ft
27.5 mi

Currently sitting at the table outside Hikers Inn... This day has gotta go on record as the first day in which I was excited about getting to a town and I didn't hike miserably for the whole day. My starting point was the high point for the day, 5430' on Thomas Knob. The wind was gusty and there was fog, but it actually wasn't too cold. Nonetheless, I started off all bundled up just in case, especially because I was going to use the privy before I left. For being up so high, this privy was pretty open to the elements. It was essentially a bathroom stall in the woods, which left my nether-regions open to a vigorous morning draft. Once I got moving, the rocks of yesterday abated and I was able to make great time, especially because the general trend of the day was downhill. The threat of a small chance of rain kept me moving, with the thought of getting inside before a storm appealing to my hiker senses. I went over Whitetop Mountain in the fog, then over Lost Mountain and down, down, down into Damascus. I was so happy to leave the woods and walk along US 58 towards town. The anticipation was killing me; this is one of the most famous towns among AT hikers for its friendly townspeople and for its mid-May hiking festival called Trail Days. I missed that by a few months. Darn education. My first stop was Subway, where I ran in to a guy who was finishing up his AT section hike. He told me his name was Coyote, and I let out a yip as I met my natural predator. He was a friendly Coyote though, and he pointed me to Hiker's Inn, a place I had already been considering for tonight's accommodations. So it was set. I walked on over and grabbed myself a bunk. The best part of walking through Damascus is that the trail goes right through town, so every step I took as I ate and drank my way along Laurel Street counted as mileage for my day. Not that I needed any, today was already a monster by 3:30 PM. Never have I done so many miles so quickly. That's excitement for you. I tried to plan out my next few days on the trail then gave up and went to resupply at Dollar General. I had decided to get a few days of food then wing it as usual. I never know if I'll want to do 18 miles or 28 miles. I take what the trail provides. Coyote and I went over to the Blue Blaze for dinner, politely turning down an invitation to participate in their pool tournament. I guess Damascus really is just that friendly. I'm beat from the last week's high mileage, so I think tomorrow will be a short one to the shelter just up on the ridge. As with everything out here, time will tell.