Today I am visiting Salem Va to stop in with some old friends from Roanoke. It has been nice to be back in this town, I always forget how peaceful it is. In the past week I passed the 600 mile point, just outside of Bland Va, and the 700 mile mark, yesterday before Catawba where I got off the trail.
Every time I reach one of these little milestones I get a boost of accomplishment. Hikers on the trail ahead of me have been marking the hundreds with sticks forming the numbers to let people know how far they have come. I always enjoy it because it gives me perspective on the fact that everyone ahead of me has been past this point, and while I may not know them we share a common bond by having walked up and down the same mountains seen the same views. It helps me feel that sense of community when I can step back and look at that angle of the trail.
I went over some parts of the trail yesterday I had taken day hikes to while I was going to college in the area. The one I remember the best was the dragons tooth. A rock out cropping that gives a great view of the Catawba valley. I took the time to walk out to it and climb to the top.
As many mountain vistas as I’ve seen I never get tired of taking in the majesty of it.
Hiking down from the top of the mountain was some of the most technical hiking the trail has thrown at us yet. I didn’t take any pictures of it but I had to climb down these rock slabs, some of which had to have ladders bolted on. It was a little sketchy but I had a blast going down and only had one point where I almost busted my butt.
Apparently yesterday also happened to be the day of the lizard, I saw two lizards on the trail.