There are a lot of hiker rumors about Virginia, and so far I haven't found them to be true.
For one, people say that Virginia is flat and "you'll fly." It's true that I've been able to accomplish some big days of hiking since entering Virginia. Still, they haven't been easy! And these mountains are FAR from flat. Instead, there are lots of "bumpy" up and down sections that seem to go on forever. The nice part of hiking along the ridge line is that it's usually paired with stellar views.
There's also the sense of the "Virginia Blues." Since VA is about a quarter of the trail, and since a lot of it is filled with tunnels of rhododendron bushes, it's easy to get down mentally on the trail. I've actually loved it though! Being in Virginia, I have gained a new energy of connecting with my "home state." I wear my UVA hat with pride every day, even though I'm currently hiking in Hokie country.
Quick side note--I will never understand college rivalries. I have had people say some nasty things right off the bat, just because they saw my UVA hat. Still, most people have been incredibly nice, or jokingly make a comment that I'm brave to wear it.
There's also the rumor about Trail Magic: people say that once you hit Virginia, you'll rarely see any Magic. I've seen huge numbers of day hikers, but haven't gotten to share a snack and conversation with them very frequently. I did get some unexpected Trail Magic when, dehydrated by the heat, I had a bloody nose and this group offered me much needed water. They're in a band called "Spoon Fight" so check them out!
I know many of you reading along are in Virginia and not far from the trail, so I urge you to take part in Trail Magic! Drive to a spot near the trail and sit in a parking lot, enjoy the weather, bring snacks and music, and get to know some hikers. You'll witness sincere gratitude and hear some awesome stories. If you don't have the time to hang out, I've also seen people drop off snacks and a trash bag, but make sure to collect it later!
Since I'll be taking a break at the end of the month to celebrate a friends' wedding, I am not going to put up mail stops just yet. Whatever package you would have sent, save for another hiker and share in the Magic. For those of you further away, I promise I'll resume mail posts in early May! I've loved getting mail and packages from you all and really appreciate your generosity.