You may remember Junker. He helped me find the the Rocky Mountain parking lot a week back or so, while finishing his breakfast at “Timbers.” He works at the Trail of Hope hostel in Fayetteville, PA. I called the hostel and he picked me up at the Dead Woman’s Hollow trailhead. I wish I knew the story around that title, I think.
Junker started his employment life as a door to door Electrolux Vacuum Cleaner salesman in Quakertown,PA. Door to door!
Today they would arrest you for that. No one trusts anyone going door to door these days. Sad really.
I started my employment life in Quakertown as well! Except me 33 years. Junker something like 49! He moved up the chain to management and retired a few years ago.
When we met that morning, he asked me what my Trail name was. I said, “Boom!” He smiled and said, “I’m Junker, the only Junker on the AT, and if you meet any others, kick them off the Trail!!!” 🙂 He was smiling, sort of, but I think he was dead serious.
Junker thru hiked the AT some 30 years ago and came back after retirement to live next to the Trail and shuttle Section Hikers like me. He is a true “Trail Angel,” helping out at the church/hostel and driving his van all over the Southern PA section.
He is just one of the amazing and interesting people I have met on my adventure.
On the ride to Dead Woman’s Hollow, he shared all sorts of useful stuff. The best cheap food. Places to get laundry done overnight if you didn’t want to do it yourself. Where to get new boots. Where to restock. The closest places to replace equipment. That’s just a small portion of his knowledge.
He did say that he really knows nothing about this “new fangled” ultralight gear. In his day…
All his knowledge and advice was steeped in an undertone of love. Love for the Trail. Love for the hikers. Love of life. He would be a good dad for anyone.
Geez. I was just going to write a few thoughts about Junker.
I got to the Shelter…
I had expected to stop, but there was John, trying to get warm inside. It was my first encounter with a person pretty much “living” on the Trail.
He was pleasant enough, but it felt like I was being sized up. I may have read him wrongly, but I was too uncomfortable to stay. If there were others there, it would have been different. So, I gave him two of my bars and headed out.
Shame. I spend lots of time in South Africa. Lived in Cape Town for three years. I have a developed a hardened attitude that I don’t like sometimes.
There are so very many poor souls begging at nearly all the intersections. I gave and gave and gave. Nothing changed. Some didn’t even know that 30 minutes earlier I had given. I do food or a blanket only. Money too often goes to drugs or alcohol. It’s one of the reasons we moved back to the States. Enough said.
Came to a section of Red Pines. Then White Pines. Sort of spooky after that face in the tree. I love spooky.
Then down in a notch.
Milesburn Cabin with “Superfeet” and his buddies. Superfeet (I hope it wasn’t Superfoot) had thru hiked some years before. He’s the one on the far left. He was a really nice guy. No ego at all about his accomplishment. And believe me, a Thru Hike is an accomplishment! They offered me food and drink. 3 or 4 times! I was afraid to stop. My momentum was feelin a bit tenuous. I was sorry I couldn’t stay, actually. In my former life, as a drinker, are you kidding me? Free beer? I would have overindulged and awakened in Altoona or someplace!
Anyway…. nice guys. Normal, fun loving men out for a man’s weekend. Cool!
Set up camp by a stream. Lovely sound all night. There was a father and son up in the shelter. Dad was 65, (he announced that one) son maybe 35. First time out for the dad. He had just called home, telling his wife to cash in his life insurance policy. He was sure he was dying! 😀😀😀
Great for them to be out there together!
I was up and on the Trail at 0439. I love dark morning hiking! New headlamp was plenty powerful. Loved it.
Right here, as I was snapping this photo of the moon, something huge too off from a tree about 20 meters away!
Scared the tar a out of me! Probably an eagle. An owl would have been quiet. Eagles have trouble leaving small trees. I had a Bald Eagle do just that a few months ago, just as I rounded a big rock. Really cool!
I got to my car in an hour, headed out, and found a diner. 😀