Monday, June 21, 2010

More from Yesterday

Have I mentioned that our weather has been pretty doggone hot?  I’m sure it’s not as bad here as farther south, but hot nevertheless.  Hiking in the heat and humidity is hard on the old body and drinking enough water is a challenge.  Gene has been very dizzy today, probably a result of being too dehydrated.  He has stayed inside, trying to stay cool and rehydrate himself.  He’s feeling better this afternoon.

One of the things we enjoy about hiking is meeting other hikers.  Several days ago I met a lady backpacking with her two teenage daughters.  It’s unusual to see teenage girls on any trail, but especially out for several days backpacking without benefit of running water, indoor plumbing, internet, and cell signal.  The young girls seemed to be struggling under the weight of their packs as they made their way up yet another hill.  I stopped and spoke with the mom.  She seemed like a nice lady; she introduced herself by her trail name, Miss Ann.  I was happy to meet someone new and it added a little pleasure to my day.

Since we were planning to be on the AT for several weeks this spring, I randomly picked out a few trail journals to read and have been following along with about seven thru-hikers since they started in Georgia.  Trail journals (I read from are not usually posted every day because the hikers don’t have internet access.  About once a week, when they go into town to resupply, they’ll catch up their journals, so what is posted is several days old.

The next day after I met Miss Ann, I was reading Trashmans trail journal.  He related a story about a lady and her two teenage daughters.  He didn’t give any names, but I wondered if it was the same group I had met the day before.

The next day after reading Trashman’s journal, I ran into Miss Ann and the girls again.  I related the story from the trail journal and she confirmed it was her.  That was pretty cool.  While sitting on a log chatting with her, I learned she was from the center of the RV universe--Elkhart, Indiana.  Not only that, but her husband works for Thor--the parent company of many RVs including Keystone, who makes Everest.  I was happy to also learn that Keystone is doing well--according to Miss Ann.  I went on my way after our short break not expecting to see them again.

Yesterday afternoon, when I was at Keys Gap to pick up Gene, Miss Ann and the girls came into the parking lot.  They were really dragging and Miss Ann was limping.  They asked for a ride into Harpers Ferry to the motel.  We were more than happy to give them a lift.  She is planning to rest her feet for a couple days then get back out there.  I expect I’ll see her again before we leave here.

As I pulled into the parking lot at Keys Gap (before Gene and Miss Ann came along) there was another thru-hiker just putting on his pack.  He looked like he had been taking a break at the picnic table.  We like to have a cold coke after our hike and I have been putting in a few extra cokes for other hikers who might look like they need something cold.  It just so happened that yesterday I didn’t take extra cokes, but this guy looked like he really needed something cold.  I reached back in the cooler to give him Gene’s coke.  When I turned around, he was walking toward the truck.  I stuck the coke through the open window and he got the biggest smile on his face.  It feels so good to do something nice for someone.  He was coming to the truck to ask if I knew if there was a grocery down the road. I offered to drive him down, but he said that all he needed was water and since I had given him the coke, he figured that would do him until he got to Harpers Ferry (6 miles away).  I didn’t have much water left from my hike, but what I had I poured into his water bottle and then he was on his way.  His trail name was Bigfoot.  Another brief encounter that has enriched my life.

It’s the hikers you meet that make the AT such a rewarding experience, just like it’s the travelers you meet that make the RV lifestyle so pleasurable and exciting.

That’s it for today.  We have a short hike planned for tomorrow if Gene is feeling better.

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