I slept extremely well last night, dreams of sugar plums dancing in my noggin'. I hung out until around 11 AM, uploading new journal entries and photos.
I am still forced to put on new journal entries only sporadically, as I don't yet have the appropriate cable to attach my Motorola phone to my Motorola modem. Motorola keeps saying that they'll have one shipped to me soon. One would imagine that the Motorola cell phone adapter cable that came with my Motorola phone would connect to my Motorola PCMCIA modem. How silly of me to think that. So, as for now, I'm a data-bum, grooching use of phone jacks wherever I can. I surely do hope that I get that cable soon.
High Tech strolled in around 10 AM, looking tired, but happy. I shaved, leaving an experimental goatee, and put my contacts lenses in. I only had to spend about ten minutes trying to hitch a ride.
A big honkin' Diesel-hauling Mack truck pulled over, taking nearly 1/8 of a mile to come to a full stop. I ran up to it, pack bouncing up and down, straps waving in the breeze, and tried to hop in.
Now, I've never gotten into a truck that big before. I feel wild getting into a school bus. This turned out to be no easy task. After a few unsuccessful attempts to hurl 60 pounds 6 feet into the air, I finally saw a hand appear and easily pull the pack up into the cab of the truck.
I hauled myself into the truck and saw the driver before me. He was kind of shaggy and timid looking, sitting before a steering wheel with a little swiveling knob mounted on it. His name tag read "Randall". (My first thought: "Oh my god, it's Randall Flagg!") We talked as he drove -- he told me that he'd just gotten married back in December. He seemed amazed that I (or anybody) was hiking all the way up to Maine. I think I convinced him to try a few short hikes. He let me off back where the AT crossed the road, and I hopped out of the cab.
I managed to wrench my back in the process, but it wasn't anything that a little Ibuprofen couldn't fix. I found Jim, The Purple Pirate and Blaze Blind sitting at a picnic table by the parking lot, munching on goodies. They'd decided to skip The Blueberry Patch (their loss) and keep going. I sat with them and ate a Snickers bar (which, I should mention, is far better than any Powerbar. I'm still waiting for an M&M Mars sponsorship...) and downed some Kool Aid. We all caught up on the last few days, as we'd been apart since Neel's Gap, back at Walasi-Yi.
We hit the trail at 1:00. I hiked the 4.3 miles solo. The weather was perfect - around 60 degrees, breezy, with those wispy little translucent clouds that look like remnants of jet trails. The flora, I noticed, had begun to bloom fiercely.
I got to the shelter around 2:30 to find The Accident Waiting to Happen, Comet Kid, Turtle (April), Free Spirit (Fran) and Molloy there. Everybody but Turtle and I left for the GA/NC border. Turtle told me of her many injuries. Seems it's been quite a struggle for her to get this far, having boot and knee problems. She'd already taken a number of (quite necessary) days off. I can't help but wonder if she'll make it. There has already been a lot of rumors about people dropping out around us. Nobody that I've met has dropped out. Yet. 9 out of 10 will by the end. I dearly hope that I won't be one of them.
The Purple Pirate and Blaze Blind rolled in around 4:00, Jim (A hiker that I had encountered briefly, earlier) around 5:00. We all hung out and talked until dark. I whipped out my laptop at one point, hoping to write some e-mail to a few friends. As I pulled it out, sensitive to some of the e-mail I've been getting, I asked "Does anybody mind if I use my laptop?" There was a brief pause. Blaze Blind looked up from her backpack, saying "Not as long as it doesn't poop in my pack." I think that pretty much sums up how little thru-hikers care about me having a laptop on the trail.
A few more hikers came in just after dark, sleeping in tents. I heard that one of their names was Botany Boy, but I don't know the other one's. We all went to sleep soon after that.
"I'm not hiking from Georgia to Maine, I'm hiking the Appalachian Trail." Me, on blue- and yellow- blazing.
Song Stuck in my Head Today: Babylon Sound - "The Broken Line"
APPALACHIAN TRAIL SLANG TERMS FOR IBUPROFEN:
Little Brown Booster
I Be Cruisin'
The Intestinal Bomb