Back to the AT, and Other Crazy Stories

Wish I’d gotten in better shape for Phase 2 of the Appalachian Trail. This morning, April 18, 2019, my friend Steve (who drove me from Missouri to Roanoke, VA, yesterday) dropped me off in the rain at a wide place in the road on VA Route 624 near Catawba, VA. I put on my backpack walked off into the trees.

After only six miles up and over indescribably beautiful mountaintops, ranging from 1,800 to 3,150 feet, I was spent. VA Route 311 appeared in the valley below, so I stumbled down into the parking lot, cried “Uncle” and called Four Pines Hostel. Joe, who owns the Hostel with his wife, Donna, mercifully drove the five road-miles to pick me up.

At the hostel, most everyone was loading up in a van to head to The Homestead, arguably the finest restaurant on the AT; but, having just begun AT Phase 2, I hadn’t yet developed “hiker hunger” so I declined.

Later, when the group returned to the bunkhouse, I witnessed the following profound hiker conversation:

Hiker 1: I have a friend who’s Mormon, so I once read the entire Book of Mormon just so I could be accurate when I made fun of him.

Hiker 2: Mormon? He should be a Catholic! To become a saint all you have to do is perform three miracles while you’re alive and then three after you’re dead.

Hiker 1: Dude, how are you gonna perform three miracles after you’re dead?

Hiker 2: You’re a saint, man! Figure it out!

Hiker 3 (picking up a book): Ah, a math book. Think I’ll sit and read a little.

Hiker 1: A math book? Why would you read a math book?

Hiker 3: Why wouldn’t you? Oh, that’s right, you can’t read.

On and on throughout the evening until lights out at 10:00 p.m. Severe storms are forecast for tomorrow so I’m taking my first zero. Walk a day, rest a day. I may stick to this plan.

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