It’s Dark Out There!

Well, I left home after lunch and drove to Culver Gap in Branchville, NJ. I found a spot in the lot and backed in, looked out my window, and there was a guy sitting under an umbrella, in front of a whole selection of trail food!

“Moose” is a Trail Angel extraordinaire. I asked him if he comes out here a lot and he said, “Been here every day in July!”

Wow. Another example of the generosity and kindness you are constantly running into out here.

Moose hiked all the way from Georgia to Maine and got a terrible case of plantar fasciitis. It ended his hike. What a shame. That was just after he backed into a real Moose! They both turned around and in a panic, the human Moose threw his jacket over the Moose, Moose’s head! That jacket probably stopped an attack that could have ended in a real tragedy. They are very dangerous creatures, those mooses. 🙂

On his table, human Moose had drinks. He had fruit. He had jerky, cereal, and instant breakfast. All for the taking! He absolutely would not accept any money.

I left Moose and I hiked up to the Shelter.

Gren Anderson Shelter

This one was built in 1958, by the Green Mountain Trail Club. From Vermont I think. I’ll get more info on that.

I got my tent set up, got everything right for a nap, pulled out my book, and climbed in. I love to read and fall asleep in my tent in the afternoon.

I dosed off and woke up to the text alert on my phone. My friend John was leaving now from home. Through no fault of his own, it was about 6:30pm. I thought he would be here around 2, and he had a 2 hour drive ahead of him!

I went back to my book. Another text. 8:45pm. Outside it looked like this:


John was having trouble following the white blazes. In defense of the local trail club, it’s been hard to maintain the trail this year. Covid 19.

He described where he was. I thought he was about half way up. Turns out he was only a third of the way. The grassy area where he was located, was not the one I was seeing in my head.

I sent him the wrong way. Twice!


I’m in my tent. Cozy. Warm. Comfortable. My friend John is trying to find his way through the woods to me. I’m thinking, he was an Eagle Scout. He can figure this out.

Cozy. Warm. Comfortable.

My higher self spoke to me. Get up and go help him!!!

I did. He was maybe a mile away. As we spoke on the phone, I told him that walking toward him, I had the crescent moon up and over my right shoulder. The trail was straight. He should have it up and behind his left shoulder. Can you picture that?

He turned around and positioned the moon just right. Up and behind his left shoulder.

Remember, he was not where I thought he was. Where he was, the Northbound AT was going Southbound!

Confusing. I know. The result was that he was walking directly away from me!


I’m still walking toward him. I suggest that he stop and set up his hammock, I go back to my cozy tent and we rendezvous in daylight the next morning.

Nope. John is going to get there. He is a determined bugger my friend John. Smart. Really smart. Engineer. He WILL figure this out. He can do this. He got his Eagle Scout Merit Badge for navigation, I bet.

Well. He did figure it out. We did finally meet up in the woods That night. I saw his headlamp and called out, “Dr Stanly, I presume!” I’m so funny.

It was really fun. We didn’t get to sleep until after midnight. Night hiking is great actually. If we had been in Alaska or something, I would have been scared. I think I stayed calm because John was calm. I’m no Eagle Scout. I’m good at 3rd and 13, but I was only a scout for one day. I remember thinking that I wanted to climb out the window of the church basement that night, at my only scout meeting.

So. Another adventure. They just keep coming. These AT trips are never what I expect they will be. Last trip I had a great lunch with Pennsylvania Dutch speaking Amish sisters in Virginia!!! How did that happen?

What is it that they say? If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.

I really enjoy John’s friendship. You can always count on John. Always. There are not a lot of humans I can say that about. About my friend John, I can.

We have known each other since HS basketball, we played on the same team at Central Bucks and on the courts all summer then and later. He was an excellent soccer player. Graduated from Bucknell.

John has been a tremendous support along this path I am on to finish the AT.

Thanks John.


4 thoughts on “It’s Dark Out There!

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