Day 45: May 29, 2022 Low Gap to Damascus Elevation Profile +2322/-3998 17.1 Miles; Total 470.7 Miles

First things first. Happy Anniversary Blue. She arrived in US from Russia 20 years ago today. When you ask her where she’s from? She always says California but I was born in Russia. She is, most definitely, all American, red, white and blue!

Happy Anniversary Blue

It was a special morning as we were on the road to Damascus. All I could think about was Saul-Paul and his life-changing event that led him to be one of the most influential apostles in Christianity. I asked Jesus, how can you use me as I travel to Damascus?

Morning Sunrise from Low Gap

The sun rose and the skies were blue. That was a first for over a week. I left shortly after 6pm with Blue right behind me. The morning was brisk and the sun was bright! We made it to Low Gap Highway before 7am which set us up for fast miles early in the morning. On His Knees was also at the roadway and walked with us for a stretch of time. The trail was graded perfectly with little ups and little downs. We passed several tents that were undisturbed as hikers were still fast asleep.

Easy Ups & Downs

Our water supply was quite limited today. We dry camped last night and the only on-trail water was a slow flowing spring. I stopped to fill up as Blue continued. I called to her and explained this was the only water source for miles! She came back, smart woman, and we filled up our bladders. It was a scooping drill as the spring was underground and hard to capture. But it was cold, clear and our only source for the rest of the day. Well worth the extra effort.

One of the Oldest Shelter on AT Circa 1934

After getting our daily supply of water, we stopped at McQueens Knob Lean-2 built in 1934. It is billed as an emergency shelter only and sleeps two. This was most likely, one of the shelters Grandma Gatewood would’ve used when she hiked the AT back in 1955. She was the first woman to thru-hike the AT northbound and was considered a pioneer of her day. She hiked with a homemade knapsack, shower curtain for rain protection, no sleeping bag, some clothing and Ked Sneakers. She was 67 years old!

Grandma Gatewood

I received a text from Census last night. She had somehow forgot her tent poles at The Ruins near mile 465 and asked if I could look for them. That’s a big deal as I have done this before when I was traveling with my daughter in Patagonia. Tents are of no use without poles! We headed down trail and arrived around noon. No poles were found. I called her and looked some more, to no avail. Bummer, I can’t imagine anyone would need her poles without the tent to go with them. Ended up Census found a similar used tent at an Outfitters in Damascus and is back on trail. Blue and I had lunch and carried on.

Goodbye Tennessee – Hello Virginia

Just before arriving in Damascus, we crossed over into Virginia! Three states down and only eleven to go. How exciting is that? We took a celebratory photo and carried on. As we were getting into town, a Trail Runner stopped and talked with us. Matt loves to run and was training for a long distant run coming up. We hiked/ran all the way to town and were there in no time. He is a Christian and is looking for a change in scenery. Possibly Damascus is the town for him. He was thrilled to walk with us into town and pointed us to the trail.

Damascus – Trail Town USA

Damascus is one of the few places that the AT continues through the middle of town. We walked to our home for the night, Dancing Bear B&B. Elizabeth, the owner, showed us around, did our laundry and pointed us to the finer places to Dine in town. I think we will like it in Demascus!

Dancing Bear B&B in Demarcus

Today, I had expectations of something grand occurring. I’m on this journey with the Lord and we are hiking to Damascus. There are times that God is so subtle. He doesn’t always put the neon sign in front of me pointing me in one direction or the other. Sometimes I am directionless. But He always has a plan. I just need to be patient and wait. Blue and I were exhausted from our week of hiking. We had two of the biggest days of our hike to date and maybe I was just suppose to be refreshed. I am good with that. A shower, clean clothes, a fresh meal and a warm bed to sleep in is all I really needed. So here’s to Damascus! May we spend the next day getting to know you and reconnecting with trail friends we haven’t seen in awhile. No expectations required!

Blue with Matt in Damascus

“As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.””
‭‭Acts‬ ‭9:3-6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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