Hiking down a busy, bright, wide road that took me past such "fine" institutions as not only the Federal Bereau of Prisons, but a youth correctional facility and school, I had the unexpected assistance of an electrician named Donnie. Donnie lived not far from where I was walking and on his way home had passed by me on the road. He said by the looks of me he figured, "that girl's been walkin' a looong time." So, he filled a cooler with some cold bottles of water and on his way to his dentist appt swung by, pulling his van over to the shoulder and offered me a drink. The temps must have been 100degrees and after a full 15m of roadwalking without talking to a soul, I was ready for both the refreshment and the conversation. Thank you, Donnie!
Upon arriving in Butner later that day, I headed straight for the mini mart in search of a pint of ice cream. Here, at Jack's Best Buy, I was graciously welcomed and got to enjoy my ice cream with a nice man, Tommy and his grand daughter. I never did learn her name, but she dubbed me the Ice Cream Queen and so I dubbed her the Milk Queen (she was relishing a cold bottle of milk). Tommy also made an impromptu visit to the Bible Baptist Church later that night where I was camped just to make sure I was settled in okay and let me know, "If anyone messes with you just give me a call, I'll take care of 'em!" and passed on his contact info. Thanks for you bodyguard services, Tommy, it was a pleasure to meet you!
|Karen Bethune, Me, and Kate Dixon|
While at Karen's, we visited the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science, where she works with the Friends of the Museum as the curator of the Nature Art Gallery. The gallery features NC artists, including one of our own from Asheville, Jay Pfeil (whom introduced me to Karen). Karen is currently in the process of creating a Mountains-to-Sea Trail exhibit that will feature each section of the trail through artwork of different mediums, writers, photography, and live speakers. So be sure to stay tuned to the museum's website http://naturalsciences.org/ for more info on this event, as yours truley will be featured here as well sharing her plant findings, writing, and thru-hiking experience. Speaking of the Mountains-to-Sea, what a perfect place to visit while hiking the trail, as the museum's mainstay exhibit is called: Mountains to the Sea. It was fascinating to walk around, gathering further info and images of where I've been and more importantly, where I will be going...coastal plain, pocosin, and beach...foreign land to me. I had the honor of meeting Betsy Bennett, the director of the museum as well as Angela Baker-James, director of the Friends of the Museum, and Meg Lowman, the director of the Nature Research Center. The construction of this center immediately struck me as I approached the museum as it appears it will be spherical in shape. Really neat looking. Here the focus will be on "citizen science" and is projected to open in spring of 2012.
Also while at Karen's house, I enjoyed an evening with Kate Dixon. Kate is the executive director of the Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail. Check out their website, http://www.ncmst.org/, to learn all you ever needed to know about the trail as well as the multitude of ways to get involved and help reach completion. Kate, what a pleasure it was to meet you, get to know you, and have the opportunity to ask you my many questions about the trail I've gathered while I hiking as well as share with you my experience of the trail as a hiker. I admire all your hard work and the coordination that must be involved in maintaining and progressing this trail. Kate shared with me the various places the trail is planned to travel through - all off road and through forest, swamp, and riverside- and gave me the news that I will indeed have to hike this trail again so to chronicle these plants as well!
What a treat to spend so much time with two women as passionate about the trail as myself! Keep it up, ladies!
|Ann and Tom Thompson|
|Wayne and Jamie|
And last, but certainly not least, yesterday, while back on my hot, long, flat roads I met two nice guys doing work on the cables. Wayne T. Blackwell and Jamie Strickland, you offered a nice reprieve from the hum drum walk, good encouragement to keep on trekkin', and some good laughs. Thank you for the donation as well - I have already made good use of it, enjoying both dinner and breakfast. Don't work too hard and tell any angry drivers to kiss off.
Oh, wait, and one more...
|...even Jesus came out to say hello!|