June 9th Mile 556
I’m sitting on a gravel driveway outside of a hostel, under an expanse of stars. My less delinquent cohorts are missing out on this view. I’m beginning to embrace the fact that I am the strange kind of person who does this sort of thing. My best memories are cycling in the middle of the night. I guess I’ve always been more of the carpe noctem type.
I have no idea where I am, or the name of this hostel. These things no longer concern me like they once did. I just know that everything I need is fifteen feet away in a backpack, so really, why does it matter? This is the most calm I’ve been in daily life, as far back as I can remember.
I made an impulse decision to split with my group for the night, but I’ll be back with them sometime tomorrow. Around 5pm I came out of the trees to find Firebird and Hop-A-Long talking, and went over to join them. It was a large picnic area with grass, and an occasional car would zoom through the nearby s-curve. Firebird was having a rough day, and I just couldn’t get going. As Ladybug so aptly put it, we were all doing “mental zeros.”
Out of nowhere a gray pickup pulled up, and Hop-A-Long recognized the driver as the owner of a hostel. She was setup nearby, but decided to break down camp and head out. Firebird wanted more miles, but my gut told me to go. It could be that clean laundry sounded wonderful. It could be that Hop-A-Long is pretty cute. Regardless, into the truck bed I climbed. It’s best not to question these things.
We arrived at the nicest hostel I’ve ever stayed in. I’ll get the name in the morning. The owner is a former thru-hiker named Lumber-Mack, and his wife Kelly had dinner ready for us. Country-fried steak, potatoes, green beans, corn, salad, and homemade applesauce made the menu. We were happy campers!
I shared the table with Curious George, Random Section Hiker (that’s my name for him) and another thru-hiker. I cannot remember his name. Lumber-Mack brought dessert out later on. I went for the homemade lemon cake.
I had the best shower ever today, and made use of the loofa I’ve had dangling off my pack since Damascus. Curious George referred to me as “Clean Girl” for the rest of the night. Hop-A-Long told me earlier that it was weird hearing her real name now. How weird is it that I respond to Dirty Girl? I feel like that will be less than opportune at some point in my life.
We played spades till 9pm and called it a night. Well, they did. I’m finding more and more that I cannot sleep in bunk rooms. The woods are noisy at night, but in there you can hear a pin drop. I like to flail around a bit before I find my magic comfy spot on a foreign mattress. I like to fire up the MP3 player and fall asleep to music. In both cases I like a bit of noise cover.
So here I am, sitting in the dark on a stranger’s driveway like a weirdo. His cat joined me though, so there’s that. I really do sleep better in my tent. Maybe I’ll just rock my ThermaRest on the porch? It’s official, I’ve become Daryl from The Walking Dead. I’ll be eating possum before long…
One hell of a view though, I wish my phone could capture it. I’ll be back on trail in eight hours. I really need a 20 miler, but I know I’m overloaded after the last resupply. New strategy, go too light on food and up the milage. Hike or starve. “March or die” as the Legionares used to say. It could work.
Another rambling. Take care.