The night before day 3, a hiker came into the shelter, as I was heading down the hill to take care of business.
I’m a little foggy here. I know we spoke briefly that night or the next morning. Mostly about how far down the hill we had to go for water. There was no choice. The next water was 9 miles away, or so I thought and told Vagabond.
He slept in the shelter, I in my tent. Notice above, my Georgia Tech hat. I thought as I hung it there, that I will probably forget it. I did.
I was up early and on my way. I wanted to do my 9 as early as possible. I headed down the hill, maybe 2 miles and there was a stream! Geez. It wasn’t listed on my app. I told Vagabond that there was no water for 9 miles! Oh well. I wanted to scratch an “I’m sorry!” note in the dirt, on the bank of this unexpected water source.
A little farther was a road, and as I came out of the woods, I looked over and a couple was sitting behind their truck, in a shady spot.
I waved. They looked friendly. I went over. So glad I did.
These two were really nice! They started asking me questions about hiking the AT. Fun. Or actually Fernando asked and translated answers to his Colombian wife. They were from New York, but had a Colombian connection. They were very distant cousins!!! Cool. Fernando had such a beautiful, interested look on his face. It was really endearing. I think he really wanted to hike the Trail, but Paola, no way! She was 5 star. I get that. My wife is 5 star as well. I love 5 star. Who doesn’t! I talk to myself and question my sanity, way less in a 5 Star environment.
So, these two were doing a 4×4 journey on maybe the same Transamerica trail the biker I met at Mattie’s, Damien, was doing. They were in an adventure, just like we ATers are, and really enjoying themselves.
Then down the hill and out in the road comes Vagabond! Cool! I got a chance to apologize for my water faux pas. Yes. He trekked back down the hill for water that morning. Oh well. He didn’t seem too upset…
We, all four of us chatted a bit longer about the trail and the importance of enjoying life, now. We said our goodbyes and off Vagabond and I went.
It was easy, right away hiking with Vagabond. He stopped in the hills to rest. Yay! I stopped at one point and he said, “I’ll see you at the top!” Yay!
I got to the top, and he was sitting in his ultralight chair, smoking a pipe!!! Way cool!
We had quite a conversation about pipe smoking. My dad smoked a pipe. We talked about the smell of tobacco. Smoke rings. You know. Pipe stuff. It was fun.
The view in front of us was pretty stunning. I snuck a shot.
Off we went, headed to Laurel Creek and the campsites along its banks, that were supposed to be really nice, even though not marked as a camping spot.
We walked. We talked. We walked. We talked. We talked about our spouses. We talked about our children. We talked about our work. Vagabond is a film maker. He later showed me this cool contraption that holds his phone up for him to see, while he types on an ultralight keyboard, that sits in his lap. It was really cool. Gift from his wife.
We talked about God in an indirect way. About the wonderful things that had happened in our lives. God things.
It was really easy. Easy, is not me very often, with most people. Especially not for a whole day of hiking, with a man I’ve just met. Football. We talked about football, too. Surfing, too! He’d had a surf lesson in Costa Rica!!
We made it to the creek. The campsites were beautiful.
I didn’t shoot any photos after the one on the top of the hill. I don’t know why. It didn’t seem important. I think I had a feeling that I would see Vagabond again. I will.
It began to rain and we turned in early.
We said our good byes. It was pretty special. I think I’ll do a blog entry on that good-bye another time. It deserves more than a line or two.
Vagabond left first. He had farther to go then I did, and I was feeling lazy. Lazy and a little hip-sore.
I packed up and headed over the creek and up the big climb.
Yes. A big climb up to my shuttle pick up.
Oops. Strider and Roam!!! We met Strider and Roam!
I forgot. I’ll do them in my next one…
As I was headed up the 3 mile climb, there was Vagabond on the phone! We had both just gotten reception.
His son had called and asked if he would come home. He wanted to talk to his dad. 17 years old and he wanted to talk to his dad. That tells you right there what kind of relationship those two have. Of course, Vagabond was already organizing a shuttle pick up at the next road crossing. He’s a good dad.
I had to stop about a mile later for a break, and Vagabond continued on.
We chatted the next day. All is ok with his son.
I got to the top and met Poppins!!!
Such a lovely couple, those two on the left. They reminded me of my favorite uncle and aunt. Erle and Marge.
And Poppins! She was from Mississippi. I haven’t written Mississippi in years! My dad was always trying to teach us that word, for some reason. Just because it’s long and fun, I suppose.
We talked for quite a while. I couldn’t stop talking. I get that way when I’m really enjoying my self. We got on the subject of Georgia Tech, Daycrawler and Hill Crawler were from Georgia. They said that GT is a really good University. Tough to get into. I figured as much. Then, I remembered that my Georgia Tech hat was in that bush back at the Shelter! They were headed to that same spot, maybe.
They did stop there and Poppins found my hat!!! She is mailing it back to me! Trail people are the best. Thank you Poppins!!!!!!
Ugh. I’m tired. There’s more. More about Poppins. I want to tell you more about Poppins! It will have to wait until that next blog entry. It will be Vagabond and Poppins. They kind of go together. 😊
We said goodbye and exchanged contact details.
I hustled across the next mile and caught my shuttle down to Garden Mountain Hostle. Got in my car and went for my Amish lunch!!!
What an amazing collection of beautiful human beings I met on this trip. It was just supposed to be a trip about me adding some miles to my total, before the hip surgery. I did not expect this!
Isn’t that how life goes. The gifts come most often when we don’t expect them. Lesson is. Pay attention. Be present. Great things are happening all around us. All the time!!! We just have to learn to see.
Looking is easy. Seeing takes a bit of practice. The trail and the people up there… they are teaching me so much.
Thank you Linda. Thank you John and Gates. Thank you Kelly.
Thank you Landi for your endless and boundless support.