09:12. Look Who I Found
Not only had the previous day been pleasant it had also been productive. I had passed 200 miles. These numbers seem insignificant to me at the moment and I guess it won’t mean a lot until I get up over the 852 miles I managed to do last time. If I were to add the two hikes together though I’ve managed to hike over 1,000 miles of the AT.
As I crossed Highway 33 I was about to enter the forest when a car pulled up and I heard someone say, “Is that Defib?”
I turned (slowly and carefully) in time to see Action and Adventure getting out of a shuttle vehicle from Open Arms Hostel. It had been a couple of weeks since we had seen each other but it was like old home week.
11:08. Birds Gone Wild
It turns out that they had zeroed a day in order to get their second COVID-19 shot.. With the combination of time that I had spent with my mother somehow we had managed to be at the same spot at the same time. One moment either way and we would have missed each other. That seemed like a significant moment. So we initiated hiking together. They had on day packs for the day having left their backpacks ahead at Lewis Campgrounds. They were not sure how they were going to respond to their second shot so it was a good move. Since I was fully loaded with my backpack they followed me for the day.
Not long after taking this picture of the tormented tree the rains once again came. It was back into the rain gear.
My Brother Barry’s Former Property
Barry and I had been talking along the trail about his former property. He once lived in Stannardsville, Virginia. He had bought an extra piece of property on top of Flat Mountain. I found a spot with a view and called him. He related that it was an open bald on top of a mountain with some houses and even a pool that was filled with spring water. I scanned the horizon and took this picture. “How about this?” I asked.
“Yup, that’s it! The long lost property of thirty plus years ago had been found.
As a family we had always remembered their time in Stannardsville by one event. Barry, Scott and I along with Barry and my children were playing a family game of football in the back yard. On one particular play Scott was the wide receiver and had gone out for a long pass. He made a beautiful catch and promptly ran into and through the screened storm door breaking it into pieces.
It was one of those moments…… you know….. all of us on the ground laughing…. then it occurred to us that we might ought to check to see if he was dead. He emerged from the wreckage bloodied and scarred but still clinging to the ball. Our older children had to be young then but my oldest son Jamie has a clear remembrance of Uncle Scott destroying the door.
A Night at Lewis Campground
It rained on us for several miles as we neared Lewis Campground. Just as we arrived it stopped long enough to visit the camp store and sign in. Action and Adventure got their packs and I, of course, downed some newly purchased junk food.
There was an entire row of cabins with all but one of them empty. All looked warm and inviting…….. needing very much for us to be occupying one of them. We asked the woman managing the camp store about the availability. “I’m sorry but they are all booked.”
What?????? They are all empty except one!!!!! She checked …… no one had canceled. We pitched our tents in the newly restarted rain. The next morning those cabins were still empty.
I’m thinking bad words right now. You might even be able to see them in between these lines. I deal with that at the Clemson baseball games every year. Game after game you cannot get a decent seat because people or corporations buy up the reserved seats behind the plate and down the sidelines. Few of them attend the games. You end up sitting in the outfield with most of the seating near the playing field empty. Rent a cabin……. go to the cabin. Buy a game ticket…. attend the game!!!! Or give the ticket to someone. Or cancel your reservation! There are others who would love to be out of the rain!!!
There…… I’ve said it and I feel the relief of my soul just like after I’ve eaten a maple frosted donut from Dunkin Donuts. Life can go on even if those seats are still empty and the cabins are still unoccupied. Peace has returned to my being and I’ll now be able to be mellow which will allow me to “hike on.”