Appalachian Trail Mile 864.8

Sunday, July 2, 2017 (Day 60)

I hitched back to trail at around 6pm. I spent the morning outside of the library, back propped  against the rough cement. An older, white-haired man called Ward came to offer me a ride to the trail. He had a pick-up truck and a pleasingly chromatic sense of dress. Earth tones. I thanked him, but told him I had some things to take care of and was not quite ready to return to the trail. Yes, my tasks would take more than 1/2 hour. No, I did not need to go to Wal-Mart.

He began talking. He spoke of the trail and Rock Fish Gap. He shared broken bits of history, that I can no longer recall. I recall his crooked little smile and uneven line of teeth and his eagerness to be heard. He asked if I knew anything about meditation. “Let me bend your ear for a minute”, he said. He proceeded to drag the unafixed metal bike rack from the building wall until it sat opposite me. He sat on the ground in front of it, using it as a back rest. Now he was truly ready to chat…or speak, as it was more of a monologue than a dialogue, really. I liked observing him, however. I liked his spunk. The minutes held hands until they formed an hour. Before the hour could replicate itself entirely, I kindly reminded Ward that I had tasks at hand.

After completing said tasks and returning to the trail, I did not hike far. I entered Shenandoah National Park, hiked on for two miles or so, and sat to have dinner. I then realized I had lost my spoon. Oh, how unpleasant! There is a certain drop in morale that often follows the loss of an eating utensil. A certain pleasurable sensory experience attained through the simplistic and smooth process of bringing food to mouth by utensil is no longer, well, so simple…or smooth.

Moments earlier I had spotted what appeared to be the top of a whipped-cream can, littering the trail. I retrieved this, and using the scissors and file on my miniature Swiss army knife, cut it in half and dulled the sharp edges in an effort to make it “bowl like”. I punctured a small hole in the top where I would insert the handle, or stick, of my choosing.

It functioned well enough.

I slept there for the night.

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