Monday, October 17, 2005

Reading my friend Dwain's account of his camping trip is making me excited about our own trip this weekend. Jon and I are going to Mount Rogers in Damascus, Virginia this weekend. Hopefully, I can make it up this time without wanting to die. (It's a little shy of 6,000 feet--but I don't think we will be starting at the very bottom).

There are feral ponies around the trail. They ignore you until they hear the distinct sound of ziplock bags being unzipped, and the jostling of trail mix inside. Then they gather around you, staring at you with one keen eye. Jon says that they will nibble at your socks if you let them. They want the salt from your sweat.

My other distinct memory of this place is when I met Jon here in 2003, while he was on the Appalachian Trail. He had hiked a little over 500 miles by this point and I hadn't seen him for almost two months. I was going to hike a small section of the trail with him, then head on home while he continued on, with the intent of making it to Mount Katadhin in Maine. Well, he was getting fed up with the other thru-hikers, whose goals had quickly degenerated into "puttin' in the miles" rather than enjoy the hike (which is what Jon is all about, as far removed from the discomfort of constant hiking as he is), and he missed me. We had hiked about 3 miles out and were taking a rest stop when he sat on a log, looked up at me and said, "I'm done."
And he came home with me.

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