Monday, August 23, 2010

The End of Hike #1 and the Woody Gap Banjo Club

Okay.  I'm going to attempt to be open minded and politically correct as I try explain my last AT experience on this inaugural AT trip.  During my entire time in the woods I was fearful of getting eaten by bears, getting the plague via mice, getting malaria via killer gnats, falling to my death, or even passing out from dehydration.  However, all of that pales in comparison to the one thing I did not prepare for... startling a couple of members from what I am going to call "The Woody Gap Banjo Club".  Let me explain... Here I am almost 1/4 mile from my exit point at Woody Gap when I see what appears to be two people on the trail ahead of me.  At first glance it appears that someone has fallen down on the trail and the other person is comforting them by rubbing their back.  However, as I get closer I realize that I have interrupted these two young men while they were boldly going where few men dare to go (enter dueling banjo music here).  Startled, their flight instincts kick in as one of them runs in the opposite direction on the trail while the other one makes a poor decision to jump off the side of the mountain.  I'm not making that part was one of the craziest things I have ever seen.  A dude tumbling down the side of a mountain while pulling up his pants at the same time.  I stroll by, look down at him resting awkwardly against a tree and ask him if he is okay.  He mumbles back that he is fine and I make an executive decision to take his word for it.  I just kept hiking as if nothing ever happened. 

The phantom banjo music ringing in my ears helps my tired legs move a little faster and I finally reach my car around 5:00 p.m. I feel a huge sense of relief and accomplishment.  Although I have hiked 28.9 miles total, 8.8 miles of that was just the approach trail. I've technically hiked only the first 20.1 miles of the AT...only 2,154.9 miles left to go. My body is very sore, but my mind is recharged and ready to go.  What a trip.  I can't wait to return.