Jesse was able to contact me for a few minutes today. The weather is gorgeous and he’s been putting down some good miles. His day ended at Jones Meadow at mile 297.1 and at an altitude of 4460. That’s 13.9 miles. A very respectable pace. Jesse and Skunk added Slim and Cowboy to their trailmily after meeting them at the hostel in Hot Springs.
We discussed the man with a machete and he said that he is not a thru-hiker. There are a lot of homeless people living on the trail. They take items from hiker boxes (boxes set up for hikers to drop items they don’t need or want for other hikers to take) that they need and depend on trail magic people to feed them. He said it’s a pretty large community of homeless.
Teresa had asked him about his weight. At around the 1 month mark he had lost 7 pounds but after a couple zero days of eating a lot of food he gained 3 pounds back. That is great to hear. Jesse is pretty slim as is. He’s can’t afford to lose the average 30 pounds.
His tastes are changing as he hikes and I’m certain he will never eat oatmeal ever again after this. Grandma hooked him up with some dried blueberries coated in yogurt and he loves them so I’ll be keeping my eye out for more of that type item. I found some mini logs of salami and summer sausage today at Stite’s as well as Carnation Breakfast drinks so those are going in the next box I send. His day eating is mainly jerky,cheese sticks,snickers, energy bars, gummy and fruit chews and snacky stuff like that. It’s just too much of a hassle to break out the cooking gear mid-hike. So, his dried food he prepared are being sent for dinners only and I add a couple breakfast meals for days when he is not in a huge hurry to get packed up and going again.
I am using the AT weather app (atweather.org) to keep track of weather ahead of him. I select the trail,the state and the shelter and I get accurate weather reports. He has a couple dry days before the rain comes again.
I am following a number of 2019 thru-hikers which not only keeps me connected with his journey but I can see what’s ahead as well as being able to report back to him about fellow hikers. The saddest thing to read is when a fellow hiker gets an injury that ends their journey. Jesse reports that a lot of hikers are dropping off the trail, as a large majority of the hikers who attempt the entire trail do, but when they have to drop out for an injury it’s especially sad. I hope they are able to heal properly and return to try again.
There is an area in Virginia where there are wild horses. Jesse is going to absolutely love that! It’s always good to have something new and exciting ahead to look forward to.