We have no signal so this will only be posted on 13th.
Every time I woke up during the night there was the sound of rain on the roof. Though in a “private room” in Broken Fiddle (a poorly hung door separating us from the dormitory style room) packing up would have woken others so we waited to just before 7 to quietly slip out for a coffee at the Cowboy Diner (I wish I had my phone to take a picture, you will have to imagine it: a smaller version of the stuff you see in movies, adjacent to the convenience store of a fuel station). We sat there drinking 2 coffees (waiting for the rest of Broken Fiddle to wake up so we could start packing) staring out to the puddle outside judging from the droplets whether the rain was coming down harder or calming down. I don’t know why we were – in our misery of having not-great coffee in a small town diner staring at the rain we were going to be walking in a bit later – more content than we could have been waiting for Egg Bennedict at 44 Stanley sipping Jozi’s best cuppachino.
We got a break in the rain round 9h30 and took off. You can certainly complete this sentence: the towns are located in valleys so going into town you drop into the valley. Leaving the town you have to…….yeah, climb out of the valley. Today was no different. It came as a bit of a surprise to me as the hills around Damascus are really nothing, they look like you can easily run up them. But behind each hill we ploughed up was another, higher one to get up and our total ascent for the day was a solid 1350m. Luckily the rain was not as heavy as predicted so we were dry, our raincoats could handle the gentle rain.
So many people have told us over the last few weeks that Virginia is different to what we have done up to now, and that everybody’s mileage increases significantly in Virginia. So far I can’t see why. The scenery was exactly the same as last week (up and down the green tunnel) and it certainly wasn’t easier.
Oh the shoes – you will probably want to know about the new shoes. Trevor thinks he will be happy with his, the grip is not as solid as the hiking boots were so he needs to be more aware of where and how he places his feet. He spent part of the first few km to calculate that, because each shoe weighs 300g less than each of his old boots did, and he walks 50 000 steps a day, he reduced the weight he has to lift picking up his feet by 50 000 times 300g – a total of 15 000 000g. That makes him smile a lot.
I switched to lighter (non – leather) hiking shoes – the shoes I did the Camino in. They are great but I think there is not a lot of tread left on them, suspect they will have to be replaced soonish.