The Priest hike

Yesterday I had my first day of a two week stretch of training out in the western Virginia woods. On my drive to Blacksburg, Virginia, I stopped in Montebello to do The Priest hike, one of the longest climbs on the entire trail. It was a beautiful cooler day and it’s great to be back out in some shaded woods after training through the winter in the leafless forests of Shenandoah National Park. I met some awesome thru-hikers, Koz from South Carolina hiking for his second attempt, Patterns and her canine companion The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and her other hiking friend Scarecrow. I gladly let them help themselves to the snacks, drinks, and candy I housed in my car and it felt great to have the opportunity to do so. I told them I would be hiking south in a few weeks and may see them again. It certainly would be nice to see a familiar face out there.

The Priest Hike, Appalachian Trail

On the summit of The Priest, only doing a short hike today, I had a chance to relax a bit. It was nice to be able to chill without a looming exam or a necessary destination for the night. The sun was far above the horizon, my legs felt great, and I truly had nowhere that I needed to be. But my elation with wandering won’t last long. In a couple weeks I’ll be craving the adventure and regiment of a speedy thru-hike. While I love an opportunity to relax, it doesn’t take long before I’m recharged and antsy to go do something stupid again.

The Priest Hike, Appalachian Trail

Driving into Blacksburg, some serious nostalgia kicked in seeing the place I lived for four years while at Virginia Tech. I am staying at my parents’ condo where I lived during my time here. I walked downstairs to turn the water heater on and saw the treadmill that I spent countless winter nights on trying to be the best triathlete I could be. While this upcoming hike is far from an aerobic endeavor, it is still reassuring to remember how long I have been putting a beating on my legs and how prepared they are.

Today I’ll go for a shorter run and finish some preparations on my mail drops and gear. And then I’ll get out into the woods for a few nights to mimic what I’ll be doing for nearly two months.

The Priest Hike, Appalachian Trail

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