Today, Hotel. Tomorrow, Daleville?

Daleville. A small town in Virginia often spoken of in story and song. A town where dreams come to flourish and grow, to become more than the mortal…

Okay, so it’s none of those things. In fact, I’m willing to wager that the majority of Virginians couldn’t point it out to me on a map if I asked. But the Appalachian Trail through-hiker could. And so could most aspiring section hikers like me. The AT bounces out of the woods onto Route 220 in Daleville just yards from a hotel. A hotel brimming with clean sheets and hot showers, the through-hiker’s temporary Mecca.

Today I find myself in Lynchburg, VA visiting family, as I do a couple of times a year. And the Daleville trailhead is less than an hour from where I’m sitting right now. Every time I’m here I pledge to wander over that way and check it out, to step foot on the AT in Virginia. And every time events and schedule conflicts conspire to make sure it doesn’t happen. Well, this trip it just might. My son-in-law, who has caught the hiking bug too, is on board for a quick run over that way tomorrow morning.

The weather won’t be an excuse: Sunny and 51 is a December dream come true for a resident of the frozen north. And my schedule seems like it will fall into place. The only downside is that, due to light packing so I wouldn’t have to pay a bunch of add-on luggage fees to American Airlines, I have none of my typical gear. I wear hiking shoes as daily drivers, so a quick mile or two might be possible. But at this point, just strolling a hundred yards of the approximately 550 miles of Virginia’s AT would feel like a victory to me.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings…



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