I have roughly twenty days left on trail. I’ll be leaving Pearisburg in a few minutes, to tackle the last 360.9 miles to Hot Springs.
Last night I stayed at Angel’s Rest hostel, and looked at a large wall map of the trail. The piece I have left is minuscule compared to the whole, and that feels wonderful!
I met Right Foot, a man who became injured during an 800 mile section hike. Instead of heading home, he decided to stay and work as a caretaker at the hostel.
“To give back to the trail a little bit too, it’s given me a lot more over the years.”
Right Foot has 4400+ trail miles on the AT alone. He’s a retired firefighter and paramedic, who once participated in an impromptu rescue of an AMC employee in the White Mountains. He and three NYC firefighters volunteered to cross Washington during a bad storm at 10pm, to extract a woman with appendicitis who works at the Madison Hut.
I can tell you from experience that the traverse from Lakes of the Clouds Hut, to Madison, is one of the worst on the whole trail. At night, in the rain, with winds well over fifty miles per hour, it’s downright dangerous. Maybe he’s given back more than he realizes?
We talked for hours about sailing, finances, navigating Labrador’s 24ft tides, and his son’s career as an aircraft mechanic. My ears perked on that latter subject, and I think that will be my next career path. I have a friend who builds C-130’s for a living, and I suddenly have many questions for him!
The skies are dark, and the forecast calls for two solid days of rain. I am stoked! Cooler weather, and water to drink! I’ll take being perpetually wet over the stress of dried out water sources.