First one up today. Rain is falling out of the sky like the gods are pouring their swimming pools on us. At least it’s warm.

I left first, feeling in high hopeful spirits and bodies for the first mile, until the fatigue set in again. Hard. Extremely hard this time. I’m walking under 1mph at this point, and stopping every 15 minutes. Almost everyone makes it past me in the first hour, I keep lumbering along, red lining as hard as I can and barely moving. It was nothing short of miserable. At least it’s warm

Coming up to the Virginia border, I felt an ounce more of energy pop in my body. I had finally made it! Damascus is just around the corner! I pushed harder than ever (still going slow as hell). At least it’s warm.

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I finally make it into Damascus. The rain has slowed now, like my ever crawling pace. I passed by an old AT shelter nestled in a park, but of course it’s just for show. Signs marked “no camping” every 20 feet seemed a bit excessive… I thought this was THE hiker town? Regardless of that, I said screw it and started making my way downtown, in search of “The Place”.

I arrived at The Place, greeted by friends old and new alike, who were all packed in there. For $7 this seems to be a pretty sweet deal!

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The place to be...

Unloading my belongings and drying everything out, I immediately set out to obtaining information and items. My first order of business was to figure out why I hadn’t pooped in 3 days, and why I was so damn tired. Were they perhaps related?

When it hit me.

That $15 McDonald’s payload I nuked my GI tract had probably brought all traffic to a screaming halt. Digesting that plasticy processed meat is one thing when your drunk at 2 in the morning, and an entirely different thing to a hikers stomach. With this in mind, I mixed up a small cup of Epsom salt (terrible tasting stuff) to see if that would help.

Next, more food needs to be eaten! I didn’t have much of an appetite, but I heard about a taco joint in town that serves beer.

So did every other hiker in town.

Credit due to Fireball, he single handedly got every hiker in town to show up to Hey Joe’s tacos and eat and drink the entire menu. I think they were literally out of half the menu by the time I ordered. We filled that place to the brim. But it was delicious.

Later that night, I went back to the Place to pass out. No mattresses in this hostel. Pulling out my ridge rest, I realized there wasn’t much difference between that and the plywood underneath…

Croc Rocket

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