Oh yeah, the people.
I met Stephanie and her dad, where I parked my car. I was Ubering up the Trail about 30 Miles, to hike SOBO, and she was starting right there, for a NOBO hike.
I remember saying to her, “I guess I’ll see you later!” NEVER thinking it would be on the first day!
I wonder if she knows how few hikers do 20 in a day. Fantastic!
Then I met “Hopkins”
That’s not his real name, of course. Maybe Bruce? I couldn’t remember it. I just remember he was retired from Johns Hopkins. Hence, “Hopkins!” Maybe a Trail name?
Most of our conversation was about all the things we like about the Trail and how great it is to have this opportunity. Im pretty sure that we complained a bit about sore body parts. (I have too many of those conversations. Think I’ll stop having them.) As I recall, he had many more miles done than I had.
Really nice guy. Too bad we were going in different directions!
Then I hiked a bit. I haven’t hiked the trail much since Spring. Every sight and sound was almost enchanting. Magic.
Young, pleasant, kind, upbeat. If I was 30 years younger, I would have followed them home and stalked them until they let me be their friend!
We chatted about, I don’t know what, but I enjoyed every minute with this group, and I am NOT a people person!
The second from the left, I think, sorry if I’m wrong, took the only picture of me on the Trail that makes me look happy!
Thank you so much.
And I walked.
Rose had quite a bit of local hiking experience. Her dad looked like a seasoned trail guy. They were a cool pair.
And I walked.
Then. What? This familiar face comes hiking toward me. It’s Stephanie!
I know, same picture as before.
I couldn’t ask her for a photo back then! We weren’t trail friends until 20 Miles later! I’m still impressed!
Then I walked some more.
I shot this one before they were ready. You can tell when a couple is happy together. Just look. That’s happy. Happy out walking in the woods late Sunday afternoon. Out of the blue, the gentleman says, “I have a Trail story for you!”
Turns out, just before we met, as he was walking, one of his boot soles just fell off! Then a few steps farther and THE OTHER SOLE FELL OFF!
They were a well worn pair of Merrill Boots. Good ones.
How does that happen??? Both soles in the same hour after countless hours, maybe years of use?
Trail magic I guess. Maybe some Trail sorcery!
As I recall, he was worried that it might be an omen. Lost Souls? Get it.
Oh, and thank you for the much needed directions to the water. 🙂👍
I found the water, stopped and set up camp right there! A great day and 13.5 miles.
I usually hear scarey sounds at night, and am sure a rogue bear is coming to eat me. Not that night! I went out instantly. I love that. I must hike all day more often. Takes the fear right out of going solo.
Good morning. It’s 0430 Monday morning. Started with a message from my Luna Bar:
I needed some belief. I was thinking about trying to make it to my car today. 16.6 miles after a 13.5 day? Never did that much distance back to back. Tomorrow, heavy rain was coming. It was showering now already. Better get going.
Started in the dark at 0530.
This is my favorite time to walk. I’ve made it through the night and none of the scary sounds have eaten me, and I’m up and moving before dawn! For me, the best time of the day. Nothing has gone wrong yet.
So I walked. And it rained. And I walked.
And the rain let up and a miracle happened. An AT miracle.
I had my favorite health food combination.
A cheeseburger with fresh lettuce, tomato, and very fresh roll. I don’t generally eat white bread of any kind, but this was the AT. All food maturity is GONE. Oh, and usually a Coke. I decided to risk it all and have Pepsi this time. (Very superstitious I am)
I even had some, I’m wincing right now, MAYONNAISE!!!!!!!! I did scrape some of it off.
I met 3 hikers in the Deli, on their yearly 10 day Section Hike. They were from down south somewhere. They had started years ago at Springer Mountain! I told them that I was going to try and reach Bear Mountain today. They thought I might make it. That’s what I heard but their eyes weren’t saying that. Know what I mean? They were just giving me a pep talk!
I left there with 4.2 miles left at about 4pm.
This is a screenshot from my Guthook Guide App. The arrow on the left is where I am. My car is at the right arrow. The mileage is at the bottom. Handy little tool this is. If you want that information! Sometimes I’m better staying in denial.
So, I have approximately 2 miles to go.
A relatively steep 250 ft. climb and a very steep 500 ft. descent to Nirvana.
Headlamp on. Check. Legs still working? Checkish. Go!
Two YOUNG kids pass me as I start. I hate them. 3 young people pass me on the descent. I despise them. (Truth is, I slipped on the way down and the second group called out to make sure I was ok. Damn kids.)
It’s dark and steep and I’m HAVING A BALL!!! I really took my time to be safe.
Made it down. Stripped between the open car doors and put on some, oh man, dry clothes!
This was the best hike. I know that I say that every time, but THIS TIME it’s the truth.
Thank you everyone. You all changed my mood with a few kind words. Hiking is really hard. Powerful they are, those kind words.
Miles finished: 434.2