One good thing about taking a few days off is that I’ve had the opportunity to meet some new hikers as well as reacquaint myself with folks I passed weeks back. Last night Boo Boo was relaxing in the lobby of the Super 8. Having read his trail journal since before I started, it was a real pleasure finally getting to meet him. Also dealing with some minor injuries, Boo Boo has had to rest some as well. This morning he was getting ready to hike out of Daleville. I have a feeling, however, that I’ll see him on the trail in a few days.
Two of the Germans, Pacemaker and Runner-up, also were here. I had first met them around Hot Springs. Runner-up speaks better English than some of the locals I’ve met along the way. He even referred to something as a “catch 22.” Gotta like a reference to Yossarian. Hiking with visas that have expiration dates, the foreigners must confront other time issues. Runner-up’s visa lasts until mid-September. He and Pacemaker seem like strong enough hikers to reach their goal by then. It would be tough to find oneself within a couple of days of Katahdin with a visa about to expire.
Big Red and Yooper were also getting ready to hike north this morning. Big Red, the first hiker I’ve met from Missouri, said he had heard of me. I’m not sure what that meant. In high school Don had an Irish setter named Red. I hadn’t thought about that dog in a long time. Amazing where the memories appear. Yooper, who calls Michigan home, appeared refreshed from the town stay. With a pleasant smile under her brimmed hat, she looked ready to resume her hike.
As I’ve rested over the past three days I’ve thought of all the hikers whose paths I have crossed over the almost two months I’ve been on the trail. I wonder how many are still hiking and which ones have ended their hikes. Yesterday I decided to text message Rocket and Whiskers, the couple from Cambridge. Whiskers messaged back that they were headed into Waynesboro today. That’s a little over one hundred miles up the trail. I also contacted Slim Jim. He was almost to Woods Hole, about five days behind me.
So I continue to rest, take care of the tendon, and wait. I also continue to remind myself that it’s better to wait than to hike before I am ready. As one of my old buddies has stated in a message, “the trail will wait for you.” Roger is right. It’s waiting as I wait. Hopefully, I will be ready again soon because one thing the setback has reminded me is just how much I want to get back into the woods. It shouldn’t be long now before the walk toward Maine resumes on the Appalachian Trail.