Appalachian Trail Mile 644.2

Saturday June 17, 2017 (Day 45)

I left the church at around 9 am. As I was motioning to leave, pack on back, I heard some noises by the back entrance. I came around the corner to greet the sounds, and the person responsible. A very kind elderly gentleman introduced himself and told me that he was the church janitor. He told me not to hurry out on his behalf. He took me upstairs and unlocked the door to the little church so I may glance inside. It was beautiful. His wife was the organist for the church, he told me proudly. He asked where I was from and wished me a safe journey. The encounter left me feeling so very happy.

I continued on…back to the library. There were just a few things left unfinished. The library closed early on Saturdays, so I positioned myself on the front steps, under cover from the potential rain, with an outlet to my left.

A lady came to drop of some books in the book return bin to my right. She smiled at me and went on her way. Later she returned just to ask me if I needed a ride any where. I told her that I was heading to the cemetary parking area…but that I was not quite ready to leave, as I would not have internet again for some time. She asked how long I needed. She was heading over to her mom’s house to drop off a sandwich and could come get me and take me to the parking lot after that, at a time of my choosing. “How about 4 o’clock? Would that be alright?” She agreed happily and went on her way.

As I continued working, another kind person came by to drop of a book and inquired of my situation and offered assistance. I thanked them, and told them of the kindness I had already been shown.

It began raining heavily. I was protected by the overhang. Sprinkles of wetness decorated the cement inches from my crossed legs. Right at 4 pm the lady returned, and the rain stopped. I finished the process of packing up my things and went to meet her across the street. She was prepared for me. She had her back seat covered in plastic for my pack. She was all smiles.

As she drove me to my destination we spoke of Pearisburg and California and mileage and the trail. She expressed interest in hiking the trail one day. I enthusiastically encouraged her to do so. She gave me a slip of paper with her contact information on it. She asked if she could follow this blog. I was touched. I gave her my information and wished her all the best. Thank you so much for your kindness, Pamela! I hope you find your way to the trail soon!

I re-entered the woods, satisfied with my decision to return to town, and happy to be back on trail.

I made it 9 miles before the day faded in to night and I began searching for a place to camp. I was contented to find a site beneath a grouping of trees, before reaching a stretch of trail that followed a ridgeline. There was room for two tents there. I debated whether to set up my tent or not. I stretched out my ground cover, unfolded my mat, and proceeded to set up my stove for dinner. The light of my headlamp caught a sideways dusting of tiny droplets of rain. So faint were they, they would have streamed unnoticed without the beam of light. Was this a sign of heavier rain to come? Either way, my down sleeping bag would not fair well in these conditions. I resolved to make a compromise. I would set up my tent, but then sleep outside of it. Should the rain become forceful, I could simply slip inside without having to set it up. I was pleased with this solution. It was not long after setting it up and returning to the process of making dinner, however, that the sprinkles persisted and I decided that I might as well just go inside.

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