Saturday, September 4, 2010
Sometimes your plans change in mid-stream. That’s what happened to us yesterday.
We went out for a little hike; one that we had done before, actually. Because it was close and easy, we started southbound on the AT just a mile from our campground where the trail crosses US 2. Right away after we started, we met a thru-hiker coming down. We spoke and went on our way. Shortly, we met another hiker. Again, we spoke and continued on our way. After about a mile, we met yet another hiker. This guy was a real talker, so we chatted for several minutes. On a whim, we decided, while standing there in the middle of the trail, to walk back to the road with him and take him to town. It was the right thing to do. He was a nice guy, he needed a ride to town, we had a truck and really nothing else to do. Certainly, not anything any more important to do.
When we got back to the parking lot, the second hiker we had met was trying to get a hitch. We grabbed him and all piled into the truck. Well, actually, they got in the bed with their packs--they were far too dirty to sit in the truck. We gave them an ice cold cola and they were happy as larks sipping their cokes and letting the wind blow the smell away.
We dropped them off at the laundry mat (that’s where they wanted to go, not where we decided they needed to go) and we turned to go back to the trail. On the way out of town we saw a young thru-hiker couple trying to hitch a ride back to the trail. Since that’s where we were going, we picked them up. As we pulled into the parking lot to let the young couple out, along came Big and Little Foot, a dad and son hiking team. Yep, they wanted to get to town, too.
All together, we made three trips into town and shuttled a total of 10 hikers one way or the other. We never did get our hike finished.
This morning, we went back to the trail. This time, we had no intention of hiking. We were there just to run our little shuttle. About a minute after we pulled up, three hikers came out of the woods. Today, was not as busy, however. We took two others plus their two dogs into town, but brought no one back to the trail.
We hung around the parking lot for a couple hours. About noon, a gentleman and his wife pulled up and unloaded coolers and sacks of food, set out lawn chairs and a folding table. Trail Magic!! The fellow had hiked the trail last year. We often find former thru-hikers doing trail magic. They were the recipients and now they just want to pay it forward. Anyway, he and his wife had things well under control food-wise and we knew there wouldn’t be any hiker come out of the woods who wouldn’t want to sit down to that spread.
We came home for our own lunch. About 2 o’clock we got back in the truck--this time to pick up a couple items from the grocery. On our way by the trail parking lot, we pulled in to see if anyone was ready for a ride. They were all too busy eating to think about going to town. On our way back from the grocery, we stopped again and this time were able to collect a couple hikers needing a ride.
That’s how we’ve spent our past two days. Not very exciting, but all those hikers really appreciated the ride and we were happy to help them out.