I woke to the smell of breakfast and walked into the kitchen to find pancakes and bacon courtesy of my wonderful parents. I had coffee on the porch and we discussed our plans for the day. Seth and George needed to take their bikes to the bike shop, so that was top priority. George got his tires rotated and his rear derailleur adjusted, and Seth's pedal has been making a clicking sound so the mechanic looked it over. Come to find, the mechanic was from Florida and used to work at the bike shop where we took our bikes to get packed for shipping to California! We have met three people on this trip from our area; it is such a small world!
George, Claudia, Josh, and Josh's family rode the Virginia Creeper bike trail and Seth and I chose to walk around town and reminisce. When we thru-hiked the AT, we passed through Damascus at different times and hadn't yet met each other. It was very emotional to see the landmarks that we remember so well. We walked out of town and up the trail about a half mile, and as cheesy as it may sound, it truly felt like coming home. We were both emotional as we remembered the footsteps we had taken on that dirt path...the memories are so fresh that it's hard to believe it has been four years. The "green tunnel" around me and the dirt beneath my feet were instantly familiar and I cried as I touched a white blaze, something I had done every day on my journey. Hiking will always be my first love and I know that I will never feel as attached to my bicycle as I do my backpack.
We went to one of the local outfitters and signed the hiker log book that they keep for each hiking season. We saw Andreas and Doug in town and spoke with them briefly before heading back to the house for the afternoon. We sat out on the porch this evening; Andreas and Doug came down and we shared stories and lots of laughter, and again I am up much later than intended, but I am glad for the experience.
It has been a wonderful day in this town where my two journies have collided.