Day 56

Greetings from the 799th mile of the AT! It’s been an eventful few days since I last wrote.

Three days ago it rained pretty hard all day long. It was a hard day for me, not necessarily because of the rain, just in general. By the time I made it to camp that night I was feeling pretty low, basically the lowest I’ve felt so far. A portion of the group I’ve been hiking with for a while now were there when I got there, so that picked my spirits up some. But even better, about 10 minutes after I got to the shelter, a man walks up and says “are y’all interested in some trail magic?” There’s, of course, only one answer to that question. After going back to his car he came back with a full grill and breakfast fixings. He cooked us an essentially all you can eat meal of pancakes, sausage, and fried eggs. It did wonders to lift all of our spirits after such a miserable day. He was a great guy too and nice to talk to. His son hiked the trail a few years back and he started doing trail magic as a way to meet interesting people.

The next day I hitched my first ride. I needed to resupply and Glasgow VA, which is 6 miles off trail, was the only option. Thankfully I had some company, which definitely made hitching easier, and we were able to get a ride after not too long from some friendly kayakers.

Glasgow is a cool little town, albeit very little and somewhat ramshackle. It doesn’t have much more than a restaurant, gas station, and dollar general (and lifesized brontosaurus with a woman in a miniskirt and tube top riding it, for some reason), but as hikers we don’t need much more than that. After a hearty resupply and a good meal we were about to head back to the trail when another hiker told us about a free shelter they had just opened up in town. It was a lot like the shelters on the trail except nicer and it had a shower. To make things better, the town was having a live band play in the park that night. Even though we had only hiked 14 miles for the day and planned on doing 5 more, we figured it would be silly to miss out on local culture for an arbitrary goal and decided to stay the night.

It was definitely an experience that made me very happy to be out here. The cover band was iffy, and the crowd somewhat sparse, but just being able to be a part of the community for the evening was immensely enjoyable. The fried Oreos from the concession stand didn’t hurt either.

We eventually made it to bed, later than we should have. The friend I hitched into town with, Plus 3, was meeting a friend 15 miles down the trail at 1 pm the next day, so we had to get a very early start. We got up around 5 o clock and tried to get a hitch back up to the trail. We figured it would be easy to catch a ride with the work crowd, but forgot it was a Saturday. In the ten minutes we waited we saw one car going out direction. We were starting to lose hope when Willy Boy, the hiker who tipped us off about the shelter, rolled up in a pickup truck. The guy giving him a ride was nice enough to give us a ride as well, so we were able to make it to the trail by 7.

So the past few days have definitely been an example of the high highs and low lows of the trail. I went from pretty down in the dumps to totally elated in a day and a half and I’m still feeling petty good.

We have a two/three day hike into waynesboro Virginia, the last town before the smokies. I’m looking forward to getting my new quilt in the mail and I’ll probably have to pick up a new pair of shoes as well. I think my feet have grown too large for my current pair and they’ve started to bother my feet a lot. Plus it will be nice to finally get some trail runners.

After getting up so early it’s hard to stay awake even now at 9:30, so it’s definitely time for bed.

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