There’s something special about waking up at 7:30 in a comfortable bed. When the bed happens to be in a four star motel within two miles of the trail, it just doesn’t get any better, at least not for this “town guy” hiker. Apparently I’m not the only one with an affinity for luxury because other hikers were milling around the lobby as I enjoyed the impressive complimentary breakfast. Section hikers Jim Dog, from Utah, and Beaker, from Kentucky, joined me at my table for some trail conversation. Jim Dog plans to shuttle up to New York with his daughter today to meet his wife for a section. Beaker is headed back to Virginia to pick up some miles. I told both about Don and shared my web site with them.
Also in the dining area were Medicine Man and his 23 year old son Kudo. The father and son team from St. Louis had also hiked the 24.1 yesterday to reach Port Clinton. They started at Springer ten days before I did, but they had gone home for a few days before continuing their hike recently. So I meet two more thru hikers for the first time. When Medicine Man said that they hoped to finish in early August, it put into perspective how much ahead of schedule I am. Still, I never know what may occur from day to day. I’d rather be ahead of schedule than behind, trying to catch up.
So as I relax in my comfortable surroundings, I wait. I wait for tomorrow when I again hit the trail. As I wait I am reminded of the days of happiness that the trail has given me. But I am also cognizant of times of loneliness and despair. It seems that every time an ounce of sadness or perhaps a tinge of melancholia surfaces to potentially disrupt the hike, something wonderful happens. I’ve heard that an old friend is again on the trail. So possibly tomorrow I’ll have the good fortune to be joined by another hiking partner when I return to the woods to hike north up the Appalachian Trail.