Our ride from the barbershop to Microtel was provided by an 80 year old named Steve. I’m not sure what Steve was on but whatever it was could have energized an army. He screamed at us to get in the car and before our body tissue had touched the seats the car was pealing out onto the highway. World speed records were broken driving to Hamburg as he babbled about being late. I believe that we were entrapped in an Alice in Wonderland production.
He had two more to pick up at an restaurant and he for some reason he didn’t know where it was. We pulled through Walmart on two wheels and went out the other side only to enter Walmart again. He yelled at Rocketman and accusing us of making him turn the wrong way. Our eyes met but we remained quiet. Was this what it was like off the trail since we’d been gone. He finally found the restaurant and two more souls sardined in now effectively creating a hash of human bad odor. Arrival at the motel came with a prayer of thanks and an untanglement of body parts. Zipper was standing there obviously glad that she had missed the ride.
The next morning Rocketman, Zipper and I once again rode with a now calm Steve back to the trail. “I’m better now,” he said. “I’ve had some sleep.”
08:18. The AT Under Highway 61
The trail immediately wound its way under highway 61 in another long climb. It was there that I realized that I had met Zipper weeks before when she had no name . She and Boomerang Dan had been smoking at a shelter during a rain storm. I had moved myself to a different area to get away from the smoke.
She had since been hiking with others including a British fellow who was asked what time he gets going in the mornings. “As soon as I hear the zipper on her bag each morning”, he replied. The trail name stuck…..Jasmine became Zipper.
11:58. At Spring for Lunch
I ate lunch sitting on a rock next to a spring. By then Rocketman was far ahead of me and Zipper as well as Type Two were far behind. I’ve seen none of them since although Rocketman and I are keeping in touch.
12:13. The New Trim
My new trim provided by Heather the barber who could talk the legs of a mule.
14:54. The Pulpit
This was one of the worst sections to this point. Constant rocks led to a brain rattling that never ended. It became mind numbing. There were three landmarks along the way that stood between me and Eckville Shelter. The first was the Pulpit. It was a straight up and solid rock. The saving grace has been that it has not rained so the rocks were not slippery.
16:08. The Pinnacle
The second landmark was the same but the third I did not expect. It was a large pile of rock rather than an overlook. Action and Adventure had posted a picture days before throwing a couple of rocks onto the pile jokingly saying that they were making the trail cleaner for me.
16:39. Equipment Left Behind
I’m still finding a fortune in equipment along the trail. This Bell and Howell flashlight was still on and flashing. I picked it up and liked it but it weighed something and I could see fine!!!
18:08. Approaching Eckville Shelter
18:09. Underfed Cousin
I managed to walk into the camp area about 7. This was a small field across from a house whose owner was the caretaker of the site. There was a shelter which slept six, a shower, a real commode, and the field across the street. Everyone was set up in the field. It was there that I met Peaceful Turtle, Mule and Frozo. They would become frequent contacts over the next day as we “hiked on”.