Damascus, VA to Pearisburg, VA [630 miles]



It is only noon and I’m already at the next shelter after hiking 10 miles. I should keep going, but I have decided to stop for the day. I miss my hiking partners, who I lost in the rain yesterday, so I decide to wait here for them.

I lay out gear to dry, sweep the floor in the shelter and organize everything in my pack.

Then I wait.

The news reaches me before they do.

“You’re Acorn? I have bad news for you. Your friends aren’t going to catch up today. Actually, they are never catching up. They left the AT today to hike the Grand Canyon instead.”


I quickly pack my gear and do the only thing I know how to do anymore: I hike north.

It hurts.

I don’t want to believe it. I linger at a stream, rest a little longer on a log and keep looking back.

I am searching for their voices. I am searching for the jingle of dog tags on Jake’s collar as he races to catch me.

I hear only silence.

It is so loud.

This wasn’t supposed to happen. I was supposed to hike alone and not get attached.. But how can you hike with someone for 5 weeks and not grow attached? We share everything on the trail: food, water, laughs, dreams, good times and bad times.

I miss you guys and hope you rock the hell out of the Grand Canyon.

I just spent the last 2 nights at Wood’s Hole Hostel. I feel renewed and ready to conquer more miles of trail. Thank you, Neville and Michael!!





Also, thanks to all who have sent postcards, care packages, money and kind words.

It means the world to me.

I gotta run. The white blazes are calling my name.

















Categories: Virginia | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “Damascus, VA to Pearisburg, VA [630 miles]

  1. Justin

    Sorry to hear your hiking group is off the trail. I know how hard that is, having fallen behind my ‘bubble’ a couple of years ago due to a family emergency. It completely changed my hike, and I ended up getting off the trail just North of Pearisburg. I will regret that for the rest of my life (or until I finish the trail – hopefully). Whatever happens, keep pushing on!

  2. Love the blog and love reading about your trip. You gotta take what the trail gives you and go with the flow.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Kent

    Remember Acorn you are doing this for you ! I believe you will make it all the way! This is your hike and you are stronger than the others. This is a tough time of year to hike out of the grand canyon. Temps are extreme in the bottom even when 40 on the rim. They need to carry tons of water. They are quitting. Hike your hike you are strong. Other hiking partners will transpire. You have already shown your toughness. God speed Acorn, you can do this they cant! Life is all about obstacles and success. I pray you hang tough and go the distance.

  4. carol Naylor

    Looks like life has a change up in your adventure. Can’t wait to hear what happens next! My boyfriend and I are heading up next Sat. to do the approach trail at Amicalola to Neels Gap. This is our shakedown hike and hopefully we can thru hike next year. My youngest daughter just graduated law school so the timing is starting to look real good. Enjoy the hike and we will keep cheering you on from Florida.

  5. Angie

    My husband started following you first and told me about you. I logged into your blog and now look forward to your updates.
    What an amazing journey you are on! Keep the faith! Carry on!
    God bless!

  6. You Rock Girl! No Worries! You Still have friends on the trail tho not sure I will Ever catch up you Sweetie! Go Acorn Go!

  7. James workkman

    You are never alone sooo many friends and thoughts surround you!!

  8. Lee

    Remember (figuratively) when a door closes a window opens. Lessons to be learned from new trail buddies. I’m enjoying following your journey.

  9. Rob Kemper

    Guess we missed your leap frog, we were camped out just off the trail at docs knob on friday night, we got a late start im guessing you passed us that morning. We enjoyed our hike from the swinging bridge to pearisburg, cant wait till our next AT hike.

  10. chris

    Keep pushing. you will meet many more great people. keep us all informed, your journal is great, your hike is greater.

  11. Goodbyes are so bittersweet and it’s okay to be sad. In fact it’s a good thing because it means that you really connected with your friends and they’re be in your heart forever. And there’ll be waves and ups and downs and going with the flow and perservering and beauty, light and life & you’re doing it all! xooxoxx

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