Shaw’s just summarizes the whole AT shebang. Noisy, friendly, raucus… and it’s still only 5 PM. Poet, the owner, is great. The windows won’t close, so I get to listen to motorcycles, which is fine, because here you wallow in AT-ness. It’s all AT, the crazy, loony, moving sideshow. And we’re the freaks. I love this community.
So. Here’s a story that symbolizes the whole. There’s an Australian NOBO thru here, name of Treetrunk. Poet met Treetrunk back at Trail Days, where apparently Treetrunk overindulged. Vomit was involved. (For what it’s worth, Treetrunk is 60-something.) A couple of nights ago, Treetrunk was bush-camped near a highway. The sites were mentioned in Guthooks. (I’d been aiming there myself when I was in the neighborhood, but didn’t get that far.) Late that night, Treetrunk heard something. There was an animal, or the head of an animal, in his side vestibule! He shouted. It didn’t go away. So he whacked the side of the tent. It didn’t go away. Ao he whacked again, harder, only this time his thumb must have been extended, and the animal
bit off the tip of his thumb (tearing a great gash in the tent mesh in the process), then ran like hell. Blood was apparently spattering everywhere, inside the tent and outside. He didn’t see the critter. He doesn’t know what it was. And his current plan is to finish hiking as quickly as possible so he can get back to Australia where he can get it treated. The weirdest part of the story is that he’s been treated for rabies before, when a wolf bit him while he was hiking in… I forget. Somewhere exotic, that has wolves.
That’s the Appalachian Trail. That, and the fact that I just found yet another slug on my tent, after it’s been balled up in my pack all day.
And the sound of the loons crying across a sunset lake.
And a banjo played by a scruffy hiker with a scruffier dog.
And gifts of food from smiling strangers.
And trail legends who decorate their resupply boxes with playing cards. And hikers from New Zealand, and Germany, and everywhere else.