Day 12 & 13, Damascus, Virginia

56-mile day, 505 total.  Rest day today in Damascus.

Yesterday’s ride was especially scenic as we wove our way though this stretch of the Appalachian Mountains.  We had long climbs but miles and miles of downhill where we’d cruise at 30 miles per hour.

Almost traffic free

Weathered barns and farm buildings greet us along the way

Trout in one stream along the road

Damascus, Virginia, Population 1,000

Damascus owes much of its existence to hikers and bikers.  The Appalachian Trail goes right through the town as does the Virginia Creeper Trail.  The TransAm Bike Route, Iron Mountain Trail, Daniel Boone Heritage Trail, and Crooked Road Musical Heritage Trail also go through the sleepy little town.

Even though its population is just 1,000, there are several outdoors stores and bike shops (plus a little restaurant in the Exon gas station where they serve “World Famous Blueberry Pancakes”).

This coming weekend, though, the sleepy little town will come full awake as it celebrates its once yearly Trail Days when the population will swell to 20,000 visitors, many who have hiked the Appalachian Trail and return to Damascus to reminisce with other hikers.

Our campgrounds in Damascus

We ALWAYS follow the laws and ordinances of the towns where we stay

Eating out at the Mill Restaurant

A delicious meal last night where I had lemon pepper trout, three cheese grits, and lightly grilled asparagus.

Another road angel appeared after our meal with beer, snacks, and then strawberry crepes cooked on the spot on a Coleman stove.

The town of Damascus is filling with active hikers, most whom have started this year from the Appalachian Trail’s southern terminus of Springer Mountain in Georgia.

Through-hikers from Australia (note her broken wrist)

One of their packs. Like to carry this for over 2,000 miles?

Churches are bending over backwards to accommodate hikers . . . free food, showers (where they provide towels and toiletries), WiFi, even haircuts.  The Baptists are winning the hospitality contest!

After eating trail food for weeks and weeks, this has to appeal to hikers. (What can that awesome prize be?)

AT hiker with his dog


6 comments on “Day 12 & 13, Damascus, Virginia

  1. Hi Russ……pictures have been terrific and looks like you have been having an awesome time. what has been your worst challenge, both mentally and physically?

    • So far, it’s been some of the “hills”. Today, for example, we had to go over one of the mountains that make up the Appalachian chain. With a bike/gear weighing 85 pounds, I was riding for 4 miles in my very lowest gear at about 4 miles an hour. But it’s challenges like that that make the trip so rewarding!

  2. Russ, I am enjoying your blog, especially the “real” pictures. Such pretty scenery. Glad you are enjoying yourself!

    • What do you mean that you like the “real” pictures. They’re all real! (Well, almost . . . I do lighten some of them, crop, etc.) Wish you were here with me!

  3. Russ, it was great to meet you and the group in Damascus (and in Wytheville!) Thanks for the photo in your blog! I hope you all didn’t get too wet last night. It absolutely was a deluge on Ben and I as we drove back to Bristol, and then again last night. But, today is gorgeous for your next leg of the trip. Good luck and ride safe. Tell Franklin (Rusty) that I said hello!


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