Update 4 from a AT through hiker

Hello everyone! well, here I am in Pearisburg, VA, it's actually one of the bigger towns that I've come across (they have a Wal-Mart!), but that's not saying much. I got here yesterday, and I've just been relaxing and eating massive amounts of food. They had a special at Pizza Hut, buy one large pizza and get a medium free. Of course I had to try, but i could barely finish the large, how sad, i'm a disgrace to thru-hikers everywhere. to comfort myself, i went to the grocery store and bought a 1/2 gallon of ice cream. It's one of my rules, always get ice cream when you get into town, you have to enjoy stuff like that while you can. It's amazing how little things like ice cream can make you happy, or things like finding a new flavor of pop tart that you've never tried, i found a cookie dough kind in the last town, which in theory would be really tasty, but it wasn't that good, pop tarts are hit or miss like that. Anyway, so what've i been up to since the last email? Not much, it's just been a lot of hiking, I did go through the Virginia Highlands the other day, which are beautiful! People have compared them to the big sky country of Montana, I've never been to Montana (except to drive through it), but i suppose they could be right. I think thru-hikers like stuff like that just because it's different, all day long we pretty much only see trees, and look, more trees, and hey, there's a bush next to a tree, wow! but when you get to something like the highlands, which are just huge areas of grass lands with big boulders everywhere, it's different, and we can actually see more than 20 feet on either side of us, it's amazing. They also had "wild" feral ponies in the highlands, i say "wild" because they really weren't, i mean they are, but not really. when i saw the ponies, i dropped my pack to get my camera out, well, as soon as i started digging through my pack, the ponies all ran over and swarmed around me, cause they thought i was going to feed them. so there i was, dancing around, trying to keep them from eating my pack and hoping to get a good picture. they were closed in so tight around me that the best i could do was a picture of a horse's ass, but there was a pony off a little bit who was too slow to mob me, so i took a picture of him. then as i was putting the camera away and one of the ponies realized he wasn't going to be fed, he bit me. the little bastard. so i kicked him. oh ok, i didn't kick any ponies, but i was tempted. it's not my fault stupid tourists have fed them in the past, they're not getting any of my granola bars! i never thought i'd have to fight off wild ponies, but yup, it happened. Then, a couple of days later, i'm walking down the trail, and a couple of guys come up behind me, The Pied Piper and Goat. For those of you not familiar with trail customs, people tend to get trailnames as they're hiking the AT, they're usually funny or reveal something about your personality or whatever, some examples are: Serenity, Feelin' Free, Swamp Fox, SwampThing, Cold Feet, Wookie, Blotter, Baseline, Geezer, Get 'er Done, Alice (who's a guy), Mud Pumpkin, and sometimes groups of people get names, like the Four Horsemen, Full House (which is 3 girls and 2 guys), and so on, you probably get the idea, some people choose their own name and others wait to find one on the trail. I waited to get a trailname, and I finally got one the other day, the Piper gave it to me, it's Leisure. Yup, you can call me Leisure. I kinda like it, it seems oddly appropriate. Hmmm, where was i, oh yeah, the Piper and Goat. So we start talking as we're walking down the trail, and they ask if i want to go to Troutdale with them to drink beer for Cinco de Mayo (May 5th, i have no idea if i spelled that correctly), so i'm contemplating it as we're walking down the trail, and about a mile later we get to the highway that we have to walk down to get to Troutdale. I decide, hey, why not, it's may 5th, you've gotta drink some beer! So we walk the 2.5 miles to town, get there and find out a harsh truth about life... it was a dry county. When will this madness end??? And when will i finally learn? So the moral here, never trust a goat. It wasn't a total waste though, turns out the Piper wrote a book, and he had a copy sent to him with his mail drop so he gave it to me. He's self-publishing right now, trying to get the attention of the big publishing companies by hiking the trail (he has some book signings coming up along the trail), so if you'd like to support a young AT thru-hiker, check out his book, it's called Providence Vanished, by Adam Hoch (aka The Pied Piper). He has a website, www.providencevanished.com (i think, i forgot to bring the book with me here), i haven't even been there yet, so i have no idea what's there, but i'm assuming you can buy the book there. The book is actually pretty good, i was impressed, it's a fantasy/epic type of novel, a series, it's book 1 of 7. And that's my story about Troutdale, VA, which is also a very small town, and i come from a small town, but this one takes the cake, they had about 6 houses, 2 churches, and a Trading Post, which had a gas pump, a convenience store on one side, a restaurant on the other, and in the middle was a thrift store with some clothes, toys, various electronic stuff, etc, it was a crazy place! I was hoping the food would be good, meatloaf sounded wonderful to me, so i ordered that. What was brought to me somewhat resembled meat, but once i smoothered it in ketchup, it was ok. Ketchup, that's the secret to everything. Hmmmm, i think that's it, oh one more thing. I think i'm cursed. On my way into Pearisburg, i was coming down the mountain, about 2 miles from town again, and a thunderstorm rolls in. i get just soaked, and yes, there was hail, but not nearly as bad as the stuff in hot springs. what's with thunderstorms hitting me when i'm 2 miles from town??? It usually doesn't bother me when it rains, the only thing that sucks is that the trail pretty much turns into a stream, well, it does, but it's more of a, um, slip-n-slide, you just sorta slide down the mountain on the mud, it's kinda fun, but a little scary, cause you tend to fall, at least i do, i nearly twisted my knee a little while back, but i survived. Anyway, that's all from me, i'm just slowly making my way through Virginia (the longest mileage state on the AT), the trail is suppose to flatten out and get much easier somewhere in Virginia, so I'm looking forward to that! I'll catch y'all next time =)
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