I have four friends (Ben, Tim, Cathy, and Allison) who have done the Camino. Following in their footsteps, I plan to become a peregrino (pilgrim) and walk the “French Way” from Saint Jean Pied de Port, France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. My friend Ben who lives in DC wanted to come down to Lexington, Virginia one a weekend for one last visit before I headed out on my adventure. Over the last few months I have been asking Ben a gazillion questions about the Camino, gear, packing, bed bugs, rain, shoes, etc. to prepare for my adventure.
Ben and I have been friends since mid Oct 2008. He lived and worked in Lexington as the local Obama Field Organizer for a short stint before heading over to DC. Over the years we’ve kept in touch and become great friends. Ben invited his friend Jane along for the weekend, and on Saturday morning we headed out to Big House Mountain for a 5-6 mile hike. Good priming work out for the Camino.
Prior to the hike, we missed a turn and kept on driving for miles before I turned back and got back on the right way. I should know better than to second guess myself (which left turn should I take Route 641, or 640, or do I drive further). I think this doesn’t look right… let’s keep on going. It doesn’t help when there are also incorrect directions on the interwebs. But alas, after a few retraces I get it right.
We get to the top. It is windy and getting closer to the edge is frightening for me; I can jump out of a plane with little fear, but without a parachute on my back and near the edge I feel completely paralyzed. The view is expansive and Virginia beautiful. The incline to the top was moderating challenging – and at one point Ben and Jane looked at me with misled eyes as if to say “I thought you said this was going to be an easy peasy hike”. It is even more challenging when you realize you forgot to bring your water, but knowing we accomplished it without some H2O feels like a small achievement.
Okay, I acknowledge that the picture … is not my best selfie. I was a little nervous with the wind, holding my iPhone and being at an elevated gain of 2850 feet.
Ben is having a Jesus – Sermon on the Mount moment.
Jane having a little fun with the wind. Careful girl.
Yeah, right!! I’m not getting any closer to that edge.
A quick drive back into town, lunch at Mano Taco, back to the house for a quick shower, change of clothes and we get some well deserved wine at local Rockbridge Vineyards.
Exhausted yet … no we are not. We drive to Devil’s Backbone Brewery, have some beer talk to a very wonderful couple who have lived all over the world and have great stories and experiences. Later we meet up with our friend Katherine and grab dinner at The Bistro on Main and a crawl to the local watering hole Macados for a drink. Yes, we are tired now!
Saturday was eventful. Sunday continued in similar tradition with a small hike up one tiny hill to a historical place called Foamhenge. No, that is correct, I said Foamhenge. It is a replica of Stonehenge made with styrofoam. Ridiculous and entertaining.
We continued our adventures with a stop at Lexington Coffee shop, Walkabout Outfitters for some Ali-Ben student-teacher Camino lesson time, then touring W&L Campus, Lee Chapter and Stonewall Jackson’s burial site.
Notice the Confederate flags and Lemons. Whether you are for or against ‘the flags’, I should note seeing Confederate flags in this region of Virginia is not strange especially with it historical reference. On Lee-Jackson day they actually march down the street in full Confederate Regalia waving the flag. What is really STRANGE is seeing the lemons at a grave site. Rumor has it that Stonewall liked (or ‘the ghost of Stonewall’ likes) to eat them.
Something about the lemons probably made us a little hungry, so we went back home, made some delicious paninis. And on a full stomach we said our goodbyes, and Ben and Jane returned back to DC from their Lexingtonian adventure. I will miss you my soon to be peregrino brother (Ben). Look forward to seeing you and Jane in the near future.