Day 56: The crazy guy

Again with the reluctance to get out of my sleeping bag and start walking! I couldn’t roust myself until 6, but I managed to hit the trail at 7:05. That’s a long way from the first morning, remember? Back then it took me 3 hours to pack up and I was the last one to creep out of the shelter area.

Today was sheer summer. Bright clouds in a blue sky, and hot sunshine. In fact, if there was any slightly off note, it was the lack of shade. The trees still think it’s winter.

That first climb was a monster. There were switchbacks, though, and enough flat places that I managed three miles in two hours, which is outstanding for me going uphill.

But get this! About two miles up, I passed a guy asleep just off the trail—I mean six inches off the trail. He was curled up, wearing a sweatshirt (not hiker gear), and nearby were a duffel bag and a bucket full of bottles (definitely not hiker gear). I had no idea what to do. Should I wake him? Ask if he was all right?

When I was sick, after I moved my site I pitched my tent as far away from the other hikers as I could (didn’t want to infect them). And It struck me that nobody asked if I was OK. That was a very alone, and frankly frightening, feeling.

So I was thinking I should nudge this guy and ask if he was OK. But I was getting a very hinky vibe from the whole thing. The AT being mythic, people escape here from all sorts of things. Not all are safe or sane.

I went with my gut. He was breathing fine and it wasn’t cold. I couldn’t have given him water or food, being nearly out of both. Even my phone battery was pretty much dead. I decided it was best handled by a group of hikers, or at least a burly guy with a stick.

Good decision.

Getting water later, I ran into Clark Kent (not DB Cooper, but a different Clark Kent) and Wander (ie, Wander Woman). They’d seen the sleeping guy, then when they were getting water later, he confronted them and started preaching hellfire and brimstone and rage and blood. It scared the crap out of them. Then another hiker, Doodles, ran into him, but the crazy guy was muttering in Spanish.

No, not everything on the trail is safe or sane.

Today I got about as far as Uncle Nick Grindstaff’s famous grave. Lived alone, suffered alone, died alone. I wonder how Uncle Nick would have felt about the bench and the firepit next to his headstone? He’s never alone now. Would that please him or piss him off?

The grave was crumbling, and I wanted some distance between me and Uncle Nicky in case of the zombie apocalypse. But thunderheads were brewing—black, fierce ones. So I chewed out another mile and pitched near an old firepit.

The rain hasn’t come yet, but given the heat and humidity today and the current rising breeze, I’m expecting thunder after dark. The leaves on the ground are rustling here.

I should be in Damascus Thursday afternoon. Not sure how long I’ll need. Two full days, I think, if I have to go pack shopping.

I need to crunch numbers, but I’ve been doing 12 to 14 miles per day. I think I still have a shot, especially if I can do 15 or 16 per day after Damascus. I did some 20s at home, but haven’t been able to replicate that in the wild. I’m getting new shoes and insoles in Damascus. Maybe that will help!

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Categories: Appalachian Trail | Tags: | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Day 56: The crazy guy

  1. That is a haunted fire pit. I’m sure of it! I’m so glad you hiked on for another mile. 🙂 Wise decision, and one the I’m sure kept the old man out of your dreams.

    I am loving these new posts. Just wonderful!

    I hope the new shoes help and the the miles melt away like butter in a hot pan. Hopefully, those trees will bud soon. Ours are just starting to show their leaves. I would have thought that yours were already turning green. Soon those rhododendron bushes are going to turn into piles of color. I cannot wait to see THOSE pictures!

    Much love to you, Karma. You’re in my thoughts. Stay safe out there.

    • It’s the elevation. Even now, we’re at 2000 to 3000 feet (and up to 6000 in spots). Somebody said the trees don’t leaf out until late May!

  2. UR doing GR8. Getting stronger day by day. The terrain gets easier after Damascus. Many of the middle-age women are cranking 20s. U can 2! Betcha. Pulling hard for U. (Hope you can feel the body English in spirit). Sisu’14.

  3. You can do it! I was telling my mom about you a couple of days ago and she thought you were just amazing and brave, which I do too of course. Wishing I was on the trail myself this year is made all the easier by enjoying your great adventure.

  4. janetg96

    Too scary! I’m grateful a pair of hikers ran into him in his awake, crazy phase! Maybe your Aikido training will come in handy! Be well!

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