START: Woods Hole Hostel, VA
FINISH: Knot Maul Branch Shelter, VA
DISTANCE: 63.4 miles (102 km)
DAILY AVERAGE: 31.7 miles (51 km)
TOTAL DISTANCE: 1627.4 (2618.5 km)
The AT in Virginia: Two things come to mind: switchbacks and rhododendron forests. In regards to the former, whilst hiking through Maine and New Hampshire I was convinced that the trail designers wouldn’t know the difference between a switchback and a humpback. Virginia is a different story. Lots of switchbacks. Gradual ascents. Much more civilized. As to the rhododendrons, they brought back fond memories of hiking in Sikkim and Nepal, where interestingly enough they are often found above 12,000 ft, whereas here in Virginia they seem to be in abundance between 3,000 and 5000 ft. above sea level.
What’s in a name?: Not long after Woods Hole Hostel, the AT passes through the memorably named Lickskillet Hollow. Unbeknownst to the thru hiking community, this little hamlet has actually become a haven of sorts for lesbian short order cooks throughout the state of Virginia. You heard it here first.