Day 26 – The Show Must Go On

As much as I would have loved to build a log cabin and live the rest of my days atop Max Patch, we have larger goals and a trail to complete. I woke up early around 6am and rushed up the short 0.4 miles back to Max Patch to take a sunrise Timelapse video. The sunrise was nearly as breathtaking as the sunset.

I headed back down to camp with Rabbit who had joined me halfway through sunrise. We had breakfast with Sip, Soda, Hatch and Stan. I packed more leisurely than normal, as I knew I was going to spend a few more hours on Max Patch before leaving. I did a few more loops atop the hill soaking it in from every cardinal direction. What a beaut.

I started my 10 mile hike solo, a good 2 hours after everyone else had left. I listened to more of my audiobook to pass the time. The novelty of hiking everyday wears thin after about a month in my case. Or another explanation could be my dopamine levels were so high after Max Patch that regular hiking just couldn’t compete.

It was a moderately warm day and I cold soaked my shirt in the stream at least 4 different times today. I’m getting the wetness consistency down pretty well now (too wet leads to chaffing).

I was at about the halfway mark of my day, desperately needing a snack. It was as if the trail magic gods heard my inner thoughts. What came next was a truly unique experience. An almost artisanal looking trailer with a man in overalls, a straw hat, and (I shit you not) a corncob pipe, offering coffee and the best apple fritters I’ve have ever eaten.

I’d come to find out that we had heard of this gentleman just a few days prior. I guess in 2022 he used to sell burgers from a spot not too far from Max Patch. When we looked this year he didn’t seem to be in business anymore. Well it turns out he shifted his business model around. While he’s waiting to finish construction at a different location, he’s doing trail magic coffee and apple fritters here.

Those gave me the additional energy boost and sustenance desperately needed at that particular point in time. It significantly contributed to the enjoyment and completion of the rest of my day.

At the peak of the next hill, I met another Army veteran whose name was “Privy”. He’s a Purple Heart recipient and super inspiring dude. I met him at Walnut Mountain Shelter where I stopped to changed footwear. Unrelated, “Privy”directed me to the nearest privy at the shelter which was probably the grossest I’ve encountered thus far on the whole AT. There were more flies and even bees inside the toilet,  than all the other privy’s I’ve seen combined. I feared for what might have happened had I sat down there. Needless to say, I didn’t need to go THAT badly.

I arrived at our tent site just before 5 PM, making pretty good time considering my late start. When I arrived and we started a fire, a task we failed at the night prior. I had a great talk with Rabbit around the fire until dark. We mused about life, love, careers, you name it. I’m really enjoying the company of this current group I’m hiking with. I have a feeling I may need to catch up with them after an intended double zero upcoming in Hot Springs. But I’ll try not to get too wrapped up in worrying about that until the time comes. Looking forward to a hot meal, a shower, a bed and some hot springs tomorrow (not necessarily in that order).

Stow away in my pack for day 27 on the Appalachian Trail.




You are truly one of a kind. Your complete lack of maturity is both impressive and hilarious. Hilarious thinking back on situations we’ve found ourselves in, and impressive given the family, home and career you’ve built for yourself. It gives me hope for my own future ambitions, that if you can do it, I’ve got a pretty good shot myself. You’re a great and loyal friend, and a fantastic father. I’ll see you in October buddy.

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Comments 2

  • thetentman : May 12th

    Hike on and the pics are sublime.


  • Sparks : May 12th

    Great blog, I read all to learn more of what to expect, have and do from these blogs.
    I have always enjoyed learning from others rather than screw up on my own!
    AT in 2024

    Best Regards
    Blanco, TX


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