A Zero Day

I hiked 0 trail miles today at a blistering pace of 0 mph. Even on zero days we still manage to get in some walking as we have no car and must walk everywhere in town. In a day and a half in Daleville VA (just outside of Roanoke) I’ve put away some 10-15k calories. 2 visits to Wendys, 2 to the Three Li’l Pigs BBQ, 1 to the Mexican Restaurant, and now a Pizza with my roommate. (It turns out that he, Dano, is a former State House Representative in Hawaii.) Walking to all these places in town (plus a couple visits to Kroger for resupply) have likely added a few miles to the journey.

I’ve packed up my new Osprey Exos 34 liter backpack with my summer gear and it’s a great fit. I’ll have to see over the next few days how it feels on my back. It should be comfortable as I now have an internal frame to the pack and am carrying less weight as less clothing is needed in the summer. The forecast has a low of 63 F for the next week and highs in the 80’s each day. This is unseasonably warm. The 50% chance each day of scattered showers makes planning hikes impossible, thus I’ll just move when I want and deal with the rain if and when it arrives. At least there are no longer any real concerns of hypothermia.

Getting my fill of calories has made town a worthwhile visit, but I’ll be ready in the morning to get back out on the trail. With my summer gear and food purchases I’ve spent an absurd amount of money in this town. Watching TV in the hotel as it rains outside has been a bit depressing – the content of TV being more depressing than the rain outside.

I forgot to mention in my last post about my resupply box from my friend Lydia. I had mentioned that I wanted bizarre foods as I was burned out from Dollar General and the standard Appalachian fare. She definitely delivered. The “Oloves” brand olives in a plastic pouch are a sure hit! I can’t find those anyways. So was the powdered milk which likewise I have not been able to find along the trail. Not to complain about getting free stuff, but whole milk would do a hiker’s body good – more so than skim, but I’m thinking that maybe they can’t process whole milk into a powder? Everyone, please prove me wrong and send full fat powdered milk. Actually, powdered anything is great.

My beard is getting seriously cool. I’ll have to get a picture soon. It’s a little over two months since I stopped shaving – when I decided to quit my job. I think this is the longest I’ve ever gone. My goal, of course, is to look like Moses as I climb Katahdin in Maine. Plus, I need to rival my friend Jason’s own thru-hiker beard from his 2005 trek.

I’ll be heading out for another 4-5 day stretch tomorrow morning which means I’ll again get into town on a weekend. This seems to happen every time and then nothing is open! The next town is Buena Vista VA and is about 75 miles away I believe. After that the Shenendoahs are approaching and there’s an option to “aqua-blaze” which is a rafting trip down the river in place of a hike. I’m debating whether to do this. It would make me less than a purist if I didn’t hike every mile, but it would be a nice change of pace to travel on water rather than land.

Some of you may have heard about the events which happened at TrailDays this weekend. I think it made national news. I haven’t really heard much but apparently an old man drove his car into the parade an injured a large number of individuals. A lot of thru-hikers went to the festival, but I believe the injuries were among a previous class of hikers who were walking in the parade together. Our thoughts and prayers in the thru-hiker community are certainly with those who have been injured.


About douglasdouma

I am a husband to beautiful wife, an ordained minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church - Hanover Presbytery, and founder of Sola - Appalachian Christian Retreat (www.discoversola.com). In addition to blogging at this site I am the author of The Presbyterian Philosopher - The Authorized Biography of Gordon H. Clark (Wipf&Stock, 2017) and compiling editor of Clark and His Correspondents: Selected Letters of Gordon H. Clark (Trinity Foundation, 2017). I have a bachelor degree in mechanical engineering (University of Michigan), a master's in business administration (Wake Forest University) and a master of divinity (Sangre de Cristo Seminary). I'm an avid hiker, having completed a northbound thru-hike of the Appalachian trail in 2013 and the first 500 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in 2016.
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2 Responses to A Zero Day

  1. Lydia says:

    LOL. Glad you liked the powdered milk. Got that idea from good ol’ Jack Kerouac. Your next box is inspired by his book “Darma Bums.”

  2. Ron says:

    Hang in there Bonsai. Greek will be nothing to you after this experience. Have enjoyed reading it. We are gearing up for the summer semester. Look forward to having you join us in the fall.

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