May 17: mile 522: trimple shelter

As we quickly left Grayson Highlands State Park, or pony hell as I call it, we encountered more herds of ponies.  In daylight they were much less foreboding and maniacal than the night before.  Maybe they were different ponies.  Juan Gone and I got some nice pics as we were leaving the park.  

We hiked through an interesting cliff face called Fat Man Squeeze.  The trail goes into a kind of cave that gets pretty constricted towards the middle before it emerges some 30 or 40 feet on the other side.  Ergo Fat Man Squeeze.

We hiked a hard 20 miles spanning a great many different terrains.  Pony land looked like the highlands of Scotland, while we also hiked through dense forest, as well as a section of really large boulders.  

In one of the forested sections, I was going to squash this huge millipede on the trail when this even huger green snake lunged out of the underbrush between my legs and pounced on the millipede.  I stopped, jumped back, and almost shit myself as the snake constricted around the millipede and bit it in half.  Freaking disturbing.  Every tree root looks like a snake now.  

Tomorrow I am to hike 10 miles to a shelter near Marian Virginia to catch a shuttle back to Damascus for Trail Days.  Trail Days is an annual celebration where thousands of hikers, past and present, congregate for a a parade, gear expo, parties at “tent city”, and whatnot.  Happy trails.

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