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© 2013 Linsen. All rights reserved. 20130608-215536.jpg

1000km by Foot

Day 46; Mile 630.

I’ve taken the last 165 miles since Damascus fairly slow. The first stretch, to Marion, because I felt a bit worn out from hard hiking the week before. It was a good area though, passing through the Grayson Highlands with their famous wild ponies.

After a zero day in Marion (where I again ran into the other South Africans and had dinner with them), I made a good start doing 24 miles on Saturday. Including a lunch stop at The Barn, a (not terribly inspiring) restaurant next to the trail.

The next day the weather was miserable, so I only did 9 miles to the next shelter. Which was luckily an old fireman’s hut, and thus the first fully-enclosed shelter I’ve come across. A good place to hunker down and wait out the rain and cold with fellow hikers.

Halfway through Monday, I developed shin splints – this time on my right leg. So I headed off the Trail to take a rest day in Bland, a town that regrettably seems to live up to its name. After that it’s been short days – no more than 14 miles per day – while my leg healed. Which it luckily seems to have done.

Yesterday I spent at the incredibly cool Wood’s Hole hostel, some 10 miles shy of Pearisburg. It’s by far my favourite place on the Trail so far. Chickens and ducks roaming about, home-cooked and incredibly tasty communal meals (with veggies from their own garden), and even a yoga session and meditation before bed. Truly a place to relax and be content.

Today I did the last few miles into Pearisburg, which also marks the 1000km point (for those back home still thinking in metric units). From here it’s another 100 miles to Daleville, and with it the one-third mark – which I can just reach before heading to DC to join my family.

I’ve decided to stop hiking after that. A complex choice (which I’ll discuss in its own post later), but in short I feel that while the value of the hike has been massive in, another 2 or 3 months will be progressively less so. Which I think says more about what’s waiting back home than about life on the Trail – distance has given me good perspective on just how many great and exciting things are going on my life :-)

Americans love signs. I like how horses trump everything :-)

I always find there to be something deeply romantic about walking on a railway track. I think this is only the second we’ve crossed.

There are snakes. I’ve seen 4 big ones (one a rattler, although not this one), and probably 15 small ones.

Hikers hiding from the rain and cold in Chestnut Knob Shelter.

The comments on this sign suggest there is not, in fact, water. The Trail community at work…

Me halfway across a suspension bridge. Mostly ’cause there hasn’t been a picture of me in a while and I’m sure you’re all curious as to how someone looks after 1000km :-)

These cute little guys appear when it’s cool and damp. No bigger than my pinkie, and somewhat slow and clumsy to move, they seem quite magical. Puts me in mind of the critters in The Life Aquatic.

Panorama of Wood’s Hole hostel. The picture at the top of the post is inside during dinner.

Chickens roosting on the bunkhouse porch at Wood’s Hole


  1. Marion
    Posted 9 Jun ’13 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Bonjour Monsieur Linsen!
    Félicitations pour les 1000 km!!! Des bisous de Stellenbosch.

  2. Anso Adie
    Posted 10 Jun ’13 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    CONGRATS! ps nice title:)

  3. irize
    Posted 10 Jun ’13 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    hi Linsen,
    long time since i left a note…
    i can hear the longing in your voice for “home”… understandably!
    enjoy meeting family, soon!
    listen [just realised one can almost hear "lin-sen" in li-s(t)en] to your heart always.
    sending big hugs,love irize

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