It is said that a journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step. What they forgot to mention is that it also begins with a properly fitted backpack, lots of planning and permission from your wife. My personal journey along the 2,175 mile long Appalachian Trail began in 2010 and will likely continue for many years to come as I attempt to section hike the entire trail before my time here on earth is up. Happy trails!
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
It's around 7:00 p.m. as Grayson and I are headed down the path away from Mountain Crossing. We briefly stop to chat with a few other hikers that are debating where to hunker down for the night. The thought of setting up camp close to the hostel instead of hiking another mile to Bull Gap is starting to cross our mind. The only problem is that the hostel is full and there isn't any more room to camp in the immediate area near the hostel.
One guy in particular (a self proclaimed "trail rat") that was dominating the discussion is giving unsolicited advice to everyone standing around (to say this guy was "cocky" is a gross understatement). We mention that we are planning to camp at Bull Gap which promps him to tell us that we are crazy to camp there since heavy "bear activity" has been reported in that area. Grayson jokingly shows him the 12 inch hunting knife he is carrying and comments that bears won't be a problem. This guy then tells Grayson that he doesn't need that "BFK" when hiking the AT... it's too heavy. We quickly do a mental translation of this guy's trail jargen and realize the "BFK" is short for "Big F'n Knife". As you can probably tell at this point, when you are hiking the AT, the weight of your backpack is topic numero uno and all other concerns (including bears attacks) are a distant second. Grayson thanks him for the recommendation of losing the BFK, but decides he will keep it with him a little while longer since he may need his BFK to fend off the BFBs!
Despite the warnings, Grayson and I decide to push on to Bull Gap and set up camp as originally planned. Having watched way too many Scooby Doo shows growing up, I think to myself that this is the point that Shaggy and Scooby would be requesting some Scooby Snacks before they move any further. Realizing that I don't have anything remotely close to a "Scooby Snack" with me, we catiously move on. After all... we're AT hikers... masters of our own domain... we hike our own hike... we create our own destiny. What could go wrong?