My Partial “Damascus Dash” into Virginia

The elevations and climbs begin to decrease outside of Hampton on the way to Damascus, VA. At least for a time.



Say good bye to the lake after crossing over the Watauga Dam.

There is still aggressive bear activity around. The next shelter is closed. I actually had a decent sized bear just off the trail along the way. He didn’t see me, backing off to get my spray and the camera, he crashed down hill so fast, with such force; well I didn’t get a good angle on him at all as I re-approached.

The plan was just to have dinner at the shelter above the lake, but a storm rolled in and we had to wait it out. The view from the rear of the shelter was amazing to wake up early to.

For the first time the trail begins to give way to open lands.

There is a gorgeous piece of property with a great bench for a view and a nap along the way.

I had an early hot dinner after a two hour nap, awaking surrounded by a herd of cattle, heads down and munching as they meandered by.

I headed out again feeling great. I met up with everyone at the next shelter which marked about a dozen miles for the day so far.

I decided to have coffee and a snack then continue on for a night hike that ended up pushing until after 6am. Forest and I called a stop at 28 miles, just a few miles short of the Tennessee and Virginia border. Which I crossed later around 11am after about 3 hours of sleep.

With consecutive 15+ miles days, close to 70 miles in the last five, I’m feeling better about not having any permanent issues.

Final stats:

3 thoughts on “My Partial “Damascus Dash” into Virginia

  1. What’s the advantage to the night hike? Cooler? Making up time? Is it more or less dangerous? How has the snake population been?

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    • The coolness. Both literally and figuratively. Besides temps, there’s an element of added alertness with a slight air of creepiness at times, that make it a surprisingly fun and productive hike. Each time, I haven’t had to “push” until morning, it just happens. It’s kinda like a slow IV of adrenaline. But I’m a night person too and also find it interesting to really be in a situation that actually warrants being creeped and on edge, to a point of course…

      I don’t really feel danger from it anymore. Either in group or alone. With a good headlamp, spray (that will work for any physical threat with 35 ft), and a quick plan, all is good. Oh and a good bluetooth speaker to jam out to and give notice to anything down trail is great. Just be aware of tenting and shelter locations to mute for a bit as you pass.

      Though I haven’t done a night hike in areas where the bears have been protected for multiple generations, like the Smokies, and apparently tend to be less easily spooked by human antics.

      Re snakes:
      There was that stretch awhile back with the rattler, haven’t seen one since. Hardly saw any before that. My thinking here is snakes are conservative “path of least resistance” motivated creatures, like most of nature. They aren’t out to strike and spend venom. Only if directly threatened. Only way you threaten them is by stepping on them. I’ve really only seen them claiming a hot rock in the sun. They’re actually fairly obvious as you look where you go, mostly 🙂

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  2. Glad you are feeling better. McAfee’s point looked really cool. I just got orders to go to Mckinney on July 13 Friday, then leave the next day for colorado again.
    I could probably send your next box to you.

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