Yesterday the 13th I bestowed two people their trail names. The college-age guy is a through-hiker and his blond girlfriend is joining him on and off. He wears two metal knee braces as he hikes, and they guffawed when I told them he should be “Forrest Gump” and she should be “Jenny.” They will be ahead of me and I can see if the names stick, by reading the Log Book at each lean-to. “That’s my favorite movie!” He said – so, I suspect they will adopt their new names.
Bridges and rivers
The A.T. Is routed through the main street of Hot Spring NC because here a bridge goes over the French Broad River. For my night in the town I rented a small cabin overlooking the river and from the porch I can see that it is brown and roiling after the rains a couple days ago. To swim or ford this river would be a death-defying feat for a hiker with a backpack. Today I will cross the bridge heading out of town. Looking ahead The next Trail town is Erwin, TN which also has a bridge. The Trail crosses several major roads between here and there, so if I need to, I can leave the Trail. Erwin is only about thirty miles as the crow flies, but the Data Book says it is 68.1 miles from here to there, and the map shows that the trail meanders.
“Am Army marches on its stomach” – Napoleon Bonaparte
So yesterday I went to the Dollar General grocery store here and bought food supplies. For ten days. Could you carry ten days of your own food in a backpack? This is a conservative plan, to go 7 miles a day, seeing as how I just included my first 10-mile day last week; but this upcoming section includes climbing a 5,000 footer. I decided to re-add Beef Jerky to the menu and am not getting as many Mountain House items. Lots of noodles. Powdered mashed potatoes. Not so much tuna fish. I found I craved protein when I got here – and this morning, after a meat binge, my muscles were not nearly so sore. I think I am tearing up a lot of muscle based on how sore I am. To replace this, needs to be a focus. (yes, Barbara…. I am still obese and I am still planning to get in better shape but these things take time. I am not starving myself. I am actually having fun doing this!). So – more protein goes in the food bag.
Joining a Posse?
So, I took a walk while doing laundry, pausing to read all the restaurant menus on Bridge Street. At the micro-brewery some hikers came out calling me by my trail name, and dragged me in. I’d met this group of three several days ago. They bought me an Anchor Steam, and I sipped it as we chatted. I knew then I was going to have to buy a round….. yikes. The oldest of the three (65) is from Maine, originally.
From a bar stool….
Naturally we were ordained to solve the problems of the world, and we set about doing so. The big discussion was to contrast the idea of “focus” from “Obsessive-Compulsive” as a motivating factor for a long hike such as this.
Long story short:
they invited me to hike with them, fourth man for their team. A time-honored tradition, dating back to Athos, Pathos and Aramis – here I was, with a valid entree to become – D’Artagnan! I was flattered. Every man needs a couple of “wing men” now and again, and here were three such, at my service. I could picture evenings around the campfire being a hoot from now on…..
But I declined. I still need to hike at my own pace and make my own decisions. To hurry would risk re-injuring my knee.
To my mother: Yes, mom, I whiled away several hours in a bar on a hot day. look at the good side: at least I didn’t get a tatoo that said “Gloria”
To my dad: yep, I could have spent the time “working.” No piles of dirt were moved in Hot Springs NC yesterday that I know of.
To my kids: “Estou de ferias!”
To Ben Franklin: thank you for the quote “beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy” (did he really truly say that
No matter what happens, I’ll still see them along the trail ahead. I’m kinda picky as to hiking buddies – once you have hiked with such worldclass hikers as Snafu and Whoopie Pie, you get spoiled.
Ate a “Breakfast bowl” at the nearby store – grits, gravy, egg, sausage, biscuit. I check out of my little cabin at eleven. I have errands to do such as buying more of the water-purification tablets and white gas, to say nothing of checking email. The first mile out of town is a 1,000 foot climb. I will leave here around 3 PM, do the climb, and “cowboy camp” at the top, using the tent. It’s nice here now but will get to the 80s by afternoon.
Hot Springs, NC is the finest example of small town life in America! Anyway – don’t know about cell reception ahead, can’t say when the next entry will be…….