My alarm was set for 6:30 but I woke up at 4:30 so I had plenty of time to get my pack ready for Indigo’s mom to take at 7. Once she got on the road, I had leftovers for breakfast and ran to the post office to ship a few things home. Then one of the guys from the church showed up to take us back to the trail so we were hiking by 8:45. We had 21.8 miles to go and all the climbs were at the beginning so we ended with very nice trail.

There were several nice views today and the trail itself was great, mostly clear of rocks. We went through a cool area on Brown Mountain Creek where there were some stone walls left over from a community of freed slaves who lived there around 1900. The bugs were bad again, making all my breaks very short as I ran away from them.

We ran into Jungle Jym halfway through the day and he said the guy who had given him a hitch that morning said he’d come back and pick up a bunch of hikers for the night if we wanted. We already had tentative reservations in Buena Vista, and that’s where our packs currently were, but we decided to cancel so we could do the trail magic instead. There was no signal to call though, of course, although I kept trying. Storytime was trail running ahead so I got a text through to him in hopes he could cancel the reservations but we found out later his phone was dead.

We got to the road apparently only fifteen minutes after Storytime had left with the hostel owner from town. We started trying to get a hitch but it was an odd time and not much traffic was going through. A recent high school grad, Justin, pulled over when he saw Stretch and I with our thumbs out. He knew nothing about the AT and kept asking us “what happened?” like we’d had car trouble or something. We laughed and explained thru hiking. Odie and Jungle Jym hopped in the car too and we made it into town to meet Storytime.

We were able to cancel our reservations still and pick up our packs and Jungle Jym called Jason, the nuclear engineer who’d given him a hitch earlier. He showed up on his way home from work and we ran to get pizza and beer before heading to his home. When we stopped at the grocery store, Odie went out back to dumpster dive and hit the jackpot. A ton of bakery items with a sell by date of today were sitting on top still in containers and untouched. I’ve never dumpster dived before but I am converted because it’s amazing how much perfectly good food is just thrown in the trash. You’d think it could at least be given away to those in need, but no. This is America and we waste.

We went back to Jason’s house and hung out until late then went to bed in a room he had set up with cots for some cadets that he hosts during the school year. Great night.

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Written by Siren

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