Ryan called Wednesday afternoon from the front porch of the Woods Hole Hostel. He was icing his ankle down and was in a talkative and spirited mood. He got in there Tuesday night and was taking the day to rest his ankle and resupply in Pearisburg. He is currently at 619 Miles. He said the miles are flying by in Virginia. He’s done 3 20’s in a row and that was on a tweaked ankle. Lemon, Fish, and Beerburger are at the Hostel as well.
One of the things we talked about was how he was doing relative to a “purist” hike. Ryan is committed to no shortcuts or blue blazing. He’s planning on walking every inch of the trail. Often when hitching into town hikers will pick up the trail on the other end of town cutting off a few miles here and there. A purist hiker will return to the trail head where they got off. Throughout the system there are blue blazed side trails that shortcut bends in the AT or work around the sides of a mountains. These are often day hiker trails. Ryan said he is noticing more and more hikers that started with a purist mentality taking advantage of these opportunities to trim a few miles here and there. So far he has not. He said the volume of thru hikers is falling fast. Many came off the trail in Damascus.