Before I begin I must say that its not true that I got kicked out of Mt Rogers Recreation area for attempting to ride a feral poney. Thats just horse shit. But in the interest of full disclosure I think one of them liked me enough to the point where it could have been my noble steed. Then again, maybe it was just the salty sweat residue on my pack straps.
The last week of hiking has been incredible. We have had day time temps averaging the upper 70s and night time temps in the 40s. Phil and I have basically been following the blue ridge mountains on a north-east heading towards Maine. The canopy foliage is still not out which makes for stunning views of the Virginian flatlands down to our right and the lowlands between the blue ridge and alleghenies on our left. With summer time heat and no shade from trees it somtimes feels like a dry savanna. This is especially true when we're walking over sandy soil with lots of pines. I never expected some sections of Virginia to feel like California! The warmth is invirgorating, but yesterday we were swatting gnats from our faces as we cooked dinner. All I could think was, "And so it begins..."
Spring has not fully sprung, but it has already given us a taste of the pros and cons of summer hiking. We're not so quick to discount the cold as a bad thing anymore, although still happy to be free of the possibility of future snow drifts and snotstickles. Still meeting great people, like a 70 year old thru-hiking from Tennessee who we've spent a couple nights with. His names Bear Fodder and his son came out to hike a section (son of Bear Fodder). Son of Bear Fodder even brought his son out, who they just call rubby ducky (age 11). Its still pretty amazing that two 19 year olds can be living the exact same life style as a 70 year old for a year.
Phil and I are still teaching each other languages. He's teaching me German, and I',m teaching him Spanish. I think I could now be able to at least order some good beer, white sausage, and a Pretzel if I find myself in Munich.