Thursday, June 16, 2011

Trail Magic and New Friends

As the trail has been leading me from isolated woods into more civilized areas, such as much-visited state parks on the Blue Ridge Parkway, down gravel roads through residental areas (though some still quite sparsely populated), and into tiny towns such as Laurel Springs with biker bars (oh, they did have the best classic rock and Texas Toast cheese sandwich I do believe I have ever had) and past rolling farmland with old folks riding bikes down country lanes and glowing beacons of fresh food (to a hiker!) produce stands, I have have met some people.

Some of the most kind people I have ever encountered.

In fact the generosity and trust these folks have offered me, has helped me to realize another reason why I love to thru-hike. It seems helping out a hiker, and perhaps more than anything, simply another human being who could use something- anything- brings out the best in people. The normal ways in which we interact, and by that I mean, quick to pass by others and quick to judge are swept aside, as I find myself interacting with others on a purely human to human basis...and all I can say is thank you.

Thank you Tulie, Ed (who trusted me to come in his house), Onie, and Mike!
Meet Tulie and Onie (and Tulie's son, Mike not pictured who shared many an entertaining trail story with me and drove me in the cart to and from the house). These women were amazing. A couple of nights ago, I was searching for a woman named Theresa and her pond, by which my guidebook claimed, she let hikers camp. Well, I never did find her pond, but luckily I did find another, and in turn, these folks found me! One minute I was sitting solo by my tent typing up a plant list and the next I was sitting in their kitchen, freshly showered, and enjoying fresh baked cookies and hot chocolate. Oh...and it didn't stop there. 6:30am the next morning , I awoke to, "Good morning, are you awake yet?" a warm washcloth to freshen up, a roll of TP and water to take on my way, and this spread you see here: hot coffee, real cream, a banana, and more cookies (on a silver platter). Needless to say, I hiked on one happy, happy, hiker that morning! 
Thank you RJ from Boone, as well as the other nice man who picked me up on the way back up the parkway, and the super friendly staff at Pizza Hut
And here, a more simple offering, but one equally appreciated. This is a tallboy Bud Light I received from a young man named RJ who picked me up and gave me a ride on my way into Boone. I hadn't even stuck out my thumb and he pulled over, to top it, off I was walking in the wrong direction and so he turned me around! He also drove me all around town, acquainting me with where I could possibly stealth camp.
 Thank you cow, well, for just bein' cows
And well, me and the cows, we've been hanging out a lot too. Most often, I'll stop to wish them a good day and they'll stand and listen to me chatter for a bit and , sometimes they'll even talk back, and well, only once did I set a whole herd running for the hills (literally).
 Also, thank you to the nice family from Charleston (originally Asheville) who gave me a PB&J, a bottle of water, and twizzlers. I ate that PB&J as the rain poured down, sheltered by my pink umbrella as I walked the last 2m to the church. I do believe it's what got me there!

And I just want to say, it's been awesome simply to meet so many different kinds of people and be continually reinforced what I already suspected, that people, for the most part, are good. I hope I can give back a little of what I've received.


  1. SO good to hear an update from you!! I've been checking in regularly to see what you're up to~ Sounds like you are having a grand time and meeting many wonderful folks. Shoot me an email when you get a chance and let me know (if you know) a possible date range for your arrival at the Outer Banks. Claire and I still wanna come get ya, I just need to have an idea so I can get it on the calendar. (lots of visitors coming, plus I'll start work ealry(ish) August) Mwah!!

  2. Hi Heather! We are the family that gave you the PB&J (originally from Asheville and no win South Carolina (Lexington near Columbia)! I am so glad the water, Twizzlers, and sandwich was okay. My husband worried that they might upset your tummy with the sugar overload I keep on hand for my kids. We just got back home today and I have been eagerly awaiting checking on you. I know it rained the day we met. You actually crossed the road near us and you were just a truckin' along! Stay safe! The above post says you are going to the Outer Banks! We will be there in a couple of weeks, will you be there then? We are praying for your safety! You are inspirational!
    -Kendra Brown

  3. Hi Heather. It's Doug who gave you the ride to the Super 8. I felt bad afterwards for not offering to take you back to the trail the next day. I was worried about you getting out of that area and back on the trail.
    Anyway...did some Google work and some help from Kate and POW!...found you. Hope you are well and having fun. I'll be following your post now. Good luck!