so as of today, i'll sort of be considered a "yellow-blazer." which means that instead of following the white blazes of the trail, i'm going to skip a section of the trail and take the "yellow blazes" of the highway. i'm only going to skip eighty or so miles (roughly 3.5% of the trail), and i'm going to finish them when i get through hiking, so i guess when i get to katahdin, i won't "technically" be done, but what's 80 miles when you've walked 2,100? i've just definitely got the virginia blues. (it's not an actual, depressive state, mind you, so don't actually worry about me there.) between having to take zeroes for my foot to heal a while back and then just messin' around and taking unplanned zeroes, most of my hiking friends are four or five days ahead of me.
so my wonderful friend jennifer is gonna drive us north and do an overnight with us. we've been in the same general area for a bit now, and she came out and did a day hike with us at the beginning of last week. it was a really interesting day, haha... it started out awesome and sunny, then we got rained on, and then for the second time thus far in virginia, i was hailed on. then it cleared up but we could still hear thunder, and by the time we got to dragon's tooth, it was raining and thundering and lightning. dragon's tooth is a challenge in perfect conditions; coming down it in a thunderstorm with a dog was even harder. there was a section where the foot ledges coming down the rockface were only 4-5" wide, so i would have to inch out there, drop down three feet, call swayze out onto the ledge that i had just done, and then use her harness to basically guide her down to the ledge that i was currently standing on and hope that she'd stay there while i dropped down another three feet. but i really enjoyed it. :) i like rock scrambles. after walking in the woods all day, they're like miniature puzzles that you've gotta figure out.
even though i'm yellow blazing, i'm still thoroughly enjoying the trail thus far. i stopped the other day and talked to a park ranger for over an hour about the trail and the flowers and the trees and the butterflies. a really pretty black and white butterfly flew by and he informed me that it was a zebra swallowtail and that when you see a lot of butterflies gathered around a spot on the ground, they call those drinking clubs. and he told me that the really creepy owls that we hear at night are called bard owls. and we talked about a lot of other cool stuff... his name was mike donahue and he was awesome. and i'm still meeting a lot of really cool people. virginia's just so monotonous at times. it was really awesome, though, coming down to the water of the james river and walking across the footbridge. the footbridge across the james river is the longest foot-use only bridge on the AT and was donated by a guy and his wife with the last name of foot who hiked the trail a while back. their trail name was the happy feet. :)
we need to get on the road and get goin'. more updates later. :)
oh, and someone brought it to my attention that y'all can't comment on my posts now. i don't know how to fix that, but maybe i'll transfer this blog over to another blog soon. we'll see. until then, i've got facebook so you can leave comments on my wall or something.