Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Roller Coaster...

The last 13 miles of Virginia is called, "The Roller Coaster." While that, for some, may illicit fond childhood memories of a favorite amusement park ride, for me these two words hold an entirely new meaning. Virginia's Roller Coaster consists of a very rocky trail that quite simply runs directly up one side of the mountain and then down the other side. There are ten of these mountains in total, which was about nine too many for my taste. There's almost no flat spots at all through that section of trail. Imagine, if you will, a child's drawing of mountains. You know, the one done in crayon... and looking as if the "mountains" are simply fat or thin triangles or a continuous running of the letter "W" on a page. Well that's about what my map's elevation profiles looked like for that section. You're either going straight up or straight down. On a good day it's un-fun ... but yesterday was less than a good day.

Yesterday (7/13/2010) was so humid I began to wonder if I was going to need gills in order to continue breathing. Making things worse was the heat ... which unless I use terms such as "the depths of hell" or possibly "center of the sun" nothing comes close to describing it. Unfortunately, unlike out west, just because the sun is out doesn't mean that things dry ... because of the humidity. Buckets of sweat simply poured off of me (gross, I know). I began to think to myself that it must look as if I'd just climbed out of a pool ... but oh how wrong could I be?!

Shortly after thinking that thought ... it began to rain. Not a pitter patter of rain but a torrent. It actually reminded me of a scene in Forest Gump where Forest is describing the different kinds of rain he encountered while in Viet Nam. Well this rain was kinda like that.There were big fat drops of rain and stinging rain and then sometimes it felt like it was coming up from directly below you. Yup, life imitated art yesterday. I kept waiting to walk up on Lt. Dan swinging from a tree and shaking his fist at God while screaming at the top of his lungs. All I got was more rain, which turned the trail into a river. While going uphill, I walked against the flow. While walking down, I walked with it. Needless to
say ... My boots were soaked. My socks squished with every step.

NOW I looked like I'd just climbed out of a pool! All of my clothing was completely stuck to me and (great time for this to happen) but my pack's rain cover failed, leaving everything somewhere on the damp to wet spectrum.

Some days on the AT are simply better than others ...

Rollin on,

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone


  1. Very nice entry. My girlfriend and I are section hiking the roller coaster tomorrow. Sorry we missed you.

  2. Getting thru that section is the worst, its a non-stop grind on the cardio. Especially in summer.


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