The Blueberry Patch (5038 Highway 76 East, Hiawassee, Georgia, 30546, phone (706) 896-4893) is a thru-hiker hostel and organic farm maintainted by Gary and Lennie Poteat. For $15 a long- distance hiker can have bunk space, use of a shower and bathroom, laundry washed and dried, and lots of good vibes! Gary and Lennie are some of the most friendly and knowledgable people that you could ever hope to meet on the Appalachian Trail. They'll even fix you breakfast in the morning!
So, I hiked for about an hour to Dick's Creek Gap, where US 76 and the AT intersect. I only had to stick my thumb out for about 10 minutes when someboy pulled over. It was a woman going to pick up a thru-hiker (Her son? Husband?) in Hiawassee. Seems he'd gotten blood poisoning from blistering problems. She gave me a ride straight to the bank in Hiawassee, where I needed to withdraw some money. I submitted to the highway robbery of $2 to withdraw money from the machine - what choice did I have? - and walked through the rain to Dill's Food City. I got everything that I needed there, as well as 64 ounces of OJ and four candy bars, all of which I consumed before I left the store. After I drank the OJ a store employee approached and asked
"Excuse me...are you a thru-hiker?"Was it the Gore-Tex that did it?
After restocking, I got a ride from a Cub Scout leader to the Blueberry Patch. I was the only person there. I set about recharging this laptop of mine and taking a shower. There is nothing like a hot shower after 5 days of mountain climbing. It was just great.
Upon returning the the
bunkroom I found that Kevin had caught up. Seems he took the trail name of
"Trail Snail", due to
his slow up steady pace of 1 mile an hour.
Before long, Comet Kid and The Accident Waiting to Happen came by. We all spread out and talked through the night, interrupted only when The Trail Snail and I took a taxi to Subway (the only place open after 8 o'clock in this sleepy little town) to get dinner.
I dialed in for the first time in a few days to check my e-mail. 110 new pieces of mail. My jaw dropped. Checking my watch, I noticed it was a little after 9 o'clock. I spent the next four hours replying to mail. I got mail from mothers (My mother! Hi mum!), mothers telling me to write my mother, friends, grandmothers, boy scouts, cub scouts, school teachers -- everybody that read an article about me in one of the papers. (Note: Chris Snowbeck, a wonderful reporter at The Daily Progress in Charlottesville, did a great piece on me. We should have it on-line here soon. For the next few days it should be available at http://www.gateway-va.com under "Richmond Times- Dispach". There's a neat photo of me there, too. Anyhow, I managed to reply to (I *hope*) every one of those pieces of e-mail. I really dislike getting back generic messages ("Sorry, but Mr. SpecialGuy is too darn busy for you.") when I e-mail people. So I don't want to mass-mail cheesy reply letters. I'd like to apologise in advance to those who are going to write me -- it may take me a few days to reply. I would also like to thank *everybody* that wrote me. It's great to have so much support! If anybody has saved their local paper that has the article about me, I'd appreciate it if you would send the page that it appears on to:
Waldo L. Jaquith
c/o His Mummy Who Misses Him
2445 Cascades Drive
Free Union, VA 22940
All in all, I was up after 1 AM replying to mail. I love this stuff.
"We Eat This Stuff Up" - Motto of a Boy Scout Group concerning nasty weather and tough hiking. A Scout e-mailed that to me, and now it's *my* motto.