Jedmorgensen the Swedish Hiker of Missouri. But You Can Call Him Jed.
I fell asleep before the laughter ended. It was a pleasant way to fall asleep. My plan the next day was to hike about 12 miles leaving me with about 6 or 7 into Pearisburg with a Nero. After getting my gear together I wandered over to the shelter. Jed was in the shelter talking with Flossie, Gatsby, and the couple.
Jed (Rich Reece) is a 67 year old from Missouri who before retirement processed hospital based computer programs. Most recently he was working with Epic which was a program we all learned to love or hate at Oconee. Now hiking the AT he began two days before me on March 5th. So like me he experienced the same wintry fiasco of the Smokies. He is the last man standing of the group he started with. He also has been off the trail with medical issues so basically we are trail twins…… behind the bubble we started in but too dang stubborn to give up.
Flossie of Maine: Hiking Home
Flossie on the other hand is a youngster who hiked along at great speed. I’m actually surprised that I have been seeing him the past four days.
The Ultimate Trail Couple
There have been some great couples out here hiking together from all over the world so I don’t want to take anything away from them but this couple from Raleigh were more openly having a wonderful time together than anyone I have met. Of course, the fact that they have been out here for only three days plays a part in that. They are Sean and Ally. Jed was so impressed that he tabbed them Ozzie and Harriet. Ally excitedly exclaimed that she had heard of Ozzie Osbourne and whatever his wife’s name was. Ah nope…. more wholesome than that. They were pleased with the name assignment and immediately dove into team camping on literally each and every aspect of the life.
I will add here that I unashamedly still claim Huck and Ray (Tyler and Eiryn) as my all time favorite couple out here. I’m still hoping to join them for the final push to Katahdin.
As we were breaking down camp this doe came strolling through camp. She did a 360 around us in no way intimidated by us.
This Was An Accidental Picture But I Like It
Harriet and Ozzie and Orlando at one of the Overlooks
We all met up for awhile at this spot. Orlando joined us. He had just graduated from high school and began May 13th. He thought he’d just knock it out before college began in August. The kicker is he probably will. He is doing 24-30 miles a day. Disgusting!!!!! He does look Orlando Bloom though.
Orlando on left. Jed on right
From this point on Jed and I pretty much hiked together until he got off to go to Woods Hole Hostel. Being from the same decade in age allowed us to actually understand what the other one was saying. He’s actually still quite a youngster at 67.
The Views From Above
By now I was thinking about a bed in Pearisburg. We were back in rocky terrain and it was taking a toll on my legs. A Nero was in order for the next day……. but first I had to knock out this 12. Jed and I took a break at the fork to Woods Hole and then he was gone. I now had it solo Northbound other than some SOBO section hikers.
My Night in Damp City
I hiked within 6.7 miles of Pearisburg and found a camp site. It said there was no water there but with some exploration I found water although I had to share it with a few frogs. With cook water in hand I fixed the evening meal and settled into my Rhododendron forest. It looked nice but I don’t think the ground there had seen sunlight since dinosaurs roamed the earth. The night was more than damp. On top of that it rained several times that night. Have you ever imagined what you would feel like if you were one of the pieces of clothing put into a washing machine and then forgotten about. You know….. the ones that weigh a ton when you finally remember and you attempt to move them to the dryer. Oh…. and you didn’t add soap. And now you are one big moldy mess. That was me. I could ring myself out.
The next day would be a run for a shower. It even took priority over food! I slept well but felt like I was submerged in a muggy bathtub. It would be a rapid hike on.