In May, I’ll join fellow Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassador Joe Jacaruso for a speedy hike of the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. I had planned on hiking the 600 miles of the state in order to bring the mid-states data set in my AT Hiker app up to par with the northern and southern states, but when I learned that Joe was also planning to hike through Virginia, we decided to join forces.
Joe has thirty days to hike, which means an average of twenty miles per day from the get go. I’ve never quite accomplished that pace in an early-season hike, even on the flatter grades of the Pacific Crest. But we might as well add some more insanity to the plan. Since I like to add side trails into my app data sets, I’ve found approximately 100 extra miles of side trails for us to hike as well, bringing the average up to 24 miles per day for thirty days.
To add to the discomfort, we’ll be starting with a visit to the Trail Days Festival in Damascus. I’m no fan of big crowds, and Trail Days is the epitome of big crowds in the hiking world. It’s going to be an interesting start to the trip.
But I wouldn’t do any of this if I wasn’t really excited about it. The challenge of hiking as hard as I can for a month or more (I’ll actually continue through Pennsylvania if all goes according to plan) and dealing with the huge crowds on the trail may be uncomfortable and in some ways unpleasant, but those are the kinds of challenges that make life interesting. Not to mention the gorgeous Virginia mountains. I think it’s going to be an exciting hike.