The tramily picked this clearing to stop for the night. With better weather and a wide space with a gorgeous view they couldn’t have picked a better spot. Made for a bit shorter day with the day ending at mile 356.0 and at an elevation of 4321. But,they had several more hours of daylight to set up camp and enjoy the day. One of the girls that has been walking with them is from North Carolina. Her partner was meeting up with them here for a bit more trail magic.
As you can see, the trail attracts folks from all walks of life, all age groups and there seems to be a record number of women hiking this year. Some folks have no time limit and are just enjoying the experience slowly. Others, due to life commitments are more strict in the miles they put in a day. And then there are people like Karel Sabbe from Belgium who set a world record last year by hiking the AT in just 41 days, 7 hours and 39 minutes. And not only do folks bring their dogs along but there is a girl I have been following who is carrying her cat.
The weather he is dealing with seems to be about what we have been getting here in Ohio. A few warm days followed by a couple chilly rainy days, rinse and repeat. The next few days look to be pretty nice. In the next week and a half Jesse will hit a couple more milestones. He’ll hit the 400 mile mark and he’ll have finished 3 states after flip flopping back and forth between North Carolina and Tennessee for some time now.
Jesse is having a rough time getting to post offices to pick up food packages from us. The last one was closed for the Easter holidays and I had to call and bump the packages to the next spot. That next spot was Erwin. Well, the post office is closed from 12-1 for lunch. No problem right? He gets there and they are closed from 9-11 that morning for some reason. So, I now have to call and bump the package again. We were told they would only bump a box once but word on the trail is they will do it again as long as the box isn’t opened. Sooooo….Jesse will have THREE boxes sitting in Elk Park. Obviously we need to switch the way we are sending boxes and start sending them to hostels and not post offices. These little trail towns with a population of 500 have their own kinda hours. A bit stressful for all of us and Jesse is having to use his funds to resupply food where he is missing boxes. Next box I send out I will call a hostel a week ahead of time and ensure they will accept a package and have longer hours.
I started up an Instagram for Jesse and sent him all his sign in information. With spotty service he’ll only be able to download the app and then access it occasionally. But, I have been working to add all the thru-hikers for the year that I can. Not only will he be able to look back through it and see places and people he knows, but I am able to watch ahead and behind him. There are a couple points in Virginia that I am super excited for him to get to. I can also keep track of some of his friends who he gets separated from to let him know where they are at. And I can let him know that he got through an area right before floods and snow. (both have occurred) And I get very emotional when I see a hiker who has to leave the trail due to injury. I can see the pain in their eyes and hear it in their voices as they thank everyone for their support before they head home. The fact that they said “screw it,I think I’m going to climb up and down mountains for 2,000+miles ” is amazing in itself. They have dared to do what many only dream of. So whether they make it 2,000 or 200 miles, damn it they went for their dream in a big way. There is NO shame in that game!