A few weeks ago our amazing Japanese thru-hiking friend Yas came to visit. We first met Yas briefly on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) but we really got to know him while hiking hundreds of miles with him on the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). Here are some things you should know about Yas:
- he’s a human GPS… seriously, this guy is a navigational miracle who does it all old school with a map and compass
- he makes his own gear and is ultra/über/super lightweight
- he’s fast as heck but also slowed waaaaaay down to finish the CDT with us
Now he’s thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT) and is bombing it… he hiked from Georgia to West Virginia in just over a month. He’s a hiking celeb in Japan. His trail name on the CDT was “Rock Steady” and on the AT it’s “V8.” We bought him a 1/2 gallon of V8 to welcome him to our home!
Anyhow, we had an amazing weekend visiting with Yas. It was definitely surreal to see him doing all the usual thru-hiker things – carrying all he needed for months on end in 1 backpack, resupplying on junk food for the next stretch of trail, showering only once a week – while we were doing the “normal life” routine of working 9-5, living in a house and showering daily. Even though Dan & I are both really happy with our jobs, our house and our life, hearing about Yas’ experinces made us long for the trail…. oh trail fever!
But it was also fun being a tiny bit like Trail Angels and feeding Yas insane amounts of food, providing him with a shower & laundry, doing a whirlwind tour of DC, quizzing him about all his experiences and just generally soaking in all amazingness that is Yas…. until he had to head back to Harper’s Ferry 😦
P.S. We have to brag on Yas so much because he’s a little bit shy and absolutely modest about his many achievements!
We hope to host more friends hiking the AT in the future… if that’s you, please get in touch!
But for now, reminisce with us about our adventures with Yas here….
In the end of April, we were thrilled to enjoy a visit from M&P. We guzzled bubble tea at Pho 75, chatted round the chimnea, drank local wines, were dazzled by the blooming red bud and dogwood and then hit the wilds of West Virginia.
You don’t get much wilder than that hair!
We stayed at a charming farmhouse in Lost City, WV with a red tin roof complete with a clawfoot tub in a sunny turquoise bathroom and lots of classic kitchy 1950s decor (like the stuffed squirel bookends and paint by numbers cowboy paintings in our bedroom). We enjoyed a lazy rainy day munching on (high fiber) muffins and doing a ridiculous cow puzzle.
The next day we hiked above the clouds in the rain, but later the sun shone till our skin flushed pink. In the evening we sang our hearts out at the Karaoke night at the local bar. It was country and western until we broke out with some Beyonce and Black Eyed Peas. But there was also a surprising & delightful middle-aged gay contingent from DC amidsts the local mullets and perms!
Then we were off again – Dan navigated our “fire truck” on some crazy dirt roads to the Big Scholss region on the West Virginia/Virgina border. There we left our wheels behind and introduced M&P to wilderness backpacking! They loved it… other than a thunderstorm when we headed out, we had AHHMAAZING weather and Buddy was in good form after Pete performed a mini-operation on him (he’d basically just broken a nail, but the poor dog was limping for days until Pete came to his rescue!).
After a night round the campfire and plenty of s’mores we woke up the next morning and summitted Big Schloss. John Denver’s Country Roads played on loop during most of car ride home. In the 4 days we’d been away our backyard had gone from a tiny bursts of lime to a lush jungle of emerald, jade and malachite. But soon it was time for M&P to return to the other side of the pond again….. and once they’d left, the pond seemed as large as a great ocean.
Schmoozing with R.E.S. at Lake Anne. He was very sweet and also impressed by our cross-country hikes. What a legend!
Fighting a cold in which my snot rivaled the colour of glorious baby leaves that have burst from their branches. I’m finally better, but it was a long time coming!
Party round the campfire in our backyard… but I was sick in bed 😦
Dumpster diving glory.
Walker Educational Nature Center celebrations… free b-day dinner courtesy of Whole Foods (oh the asparagus!) and Environmental Film Night friday about the gorgeous Green House.
Billy Collins Book Club.
Dan rescues someone from being swept down the flooded, muddy and thrashing Potomac River. And, yes, he was upstream from Great Falls.
A gorgeous (but windy) picnic at the Willowcraft vineyard with our dear Italian neighbors.
And the sweet scent of hyacinth and day lilies.
Tomorrow in Reston we celebrate Founder’s Day and the 97th birthday of (our founder) Robert E. Simon. Lake Anne should be as bustling as Reston Town Center for a change! Free cake, a treasure hunt and perhaps even a chance to chat with the birthday boy himself!
Fun begins at noon and goes till 5pm Saturday April 8th, 2011.
More info at http://reston.patch.com
Photo by Karen Goff
Dan is a master smoothie maker. Every time he makes one they’re slightly different but this was one of his YUMMIEST creations yet. A mix of:
- blueberries (frozen)
- non-fat greek yogurt
- spinach (fresh)
- apple (fresh)
- strawberries (frozen)
- banana (frozen)
- a splash of grape juice
There’s no need to choose between healthy food and tasty food as this phenomenal smoothie clearly demonstrates. For a preview, just scratch & sniff your computer screen now.
[Back in mid-March..] Buddy was curious at the contraption we were building…
At first he seemed to enjoy sitting in his “chariot” as I pulled him on my bike…
…but he started crying like a baby as we got on the W&OD bike path headed for Purcellville. We gave him a bone and cooed to him but to no avail. Plus it was hard to balance on the bike since he was moving around and making the one-wheel bob trailer wobble all over the place. This was not going to work for a 60 mile bike ride. Either he’d jump out and get run over by a hard-core cyclist or we’d get arrested by the RSPCA. So we took a detour to mis padres, said hasta luego to the perro and headed off once more.
A few days later, after recovering from a bruised bottom from our bike trip, we discovered an alternative method to biking with Buddy:
Yep! Our darling dog fits in Dan’s messenger bag! He loved the ride and so did all the cars D&B biked by.