Day 76 – Back To The Wild

I again woke up to my phone alarm going off at 8:30. However this time I found myself in an extremely comfortable bed and hitting snooze at least 6 times. I slept like a baby at the home of our hosts, The Millers. Eventually I dragged myself from bed after 9AM.

I found Mel in the kitchen making coffee. She insisted on choosing my coffee mug for me. I snapped a comical photo of Rabbit juxtaposed with it (or as we sometimes call him “Right-Wing Rabbit”) given his political leanings.

Breakfast was bacon, eggs, biscuits and yogurt with fresh blackberries (they’re in season off-trail too apparently). It was superb. We hung out with the dogs and Mel, while looking through their own hiker box for anything we might need.

We got a ride to Wegmans for some last minute supplies (mostly protein bars) before heading back on trail. It truly was an epic time with Mel and Chuck. We promised to pay it forward. It was kinda bittersweet getting back on trail after a lovely 18 hours in civilization.

When we did it was shortly after 2PM. We looked at the map and decided on Hightop Hut for a break point a little over 8 miles in. Along the way, we passed the 900 mile marker.

Rabbit was described the other day at lunch by some other hikers as the “main character“ of my blog. Given that he’s the only tramily member left I suppose that is not an inaccurate statement. In the spirit of fleshing out the main character (because the author apparently doesn’t count #notbitter) let’s talk about him behind his back.

Rabbit was cranky today because his Rabbit phone wouldn’t cooperate with his Rabbit headphones. Rabbit likes to be spoken about in the third person. He also had to take a number of Rabbit poops on trail today, at least 3 per hour and at least 66% of those were an emergency. Witch Doctor by comparison only had 1 poop on trail and was not cranky. I also thought of a line for Rabbit to start using if I am cranky one day “Where I come from witches, get stitches…and burned at the stake.”

We arrived at Hightop Hut around 6PM. A man arrived shortly after us with a box of Little Debbie’s Swiss rolls and some Pop Tarts. He lives in the area and will occasionally bring trail magic up to this shelter a few times a week. We were grateful for the snacks and chatted with him for a while. He didn’t have a trail name and I resisted the urge to again name somebody “Mr Debbie’s Dad” (It didn’t go so well last time).

I made some new friends with some familiar names today. “Matador”, “Hairball”, and “Double Wide” were some names I’ve seen in logbooks many times who we’ve caught up with. We made a fire in front of the shelter and chatted until it was dark. I utilized the bear box to store our food as it’s been a while since we’ve seen them on trail anywhere.

Im sleeping in my tent again as the shelter here has rumors of mice. I am also making it bed before 10:30 for once in what feels like a long while. Looking forward to another good nights sleep. We hoping for another 20 miles or so day tomorrow.

Stow away in my pack for day 77 on the Appalachian Trail.


Big Jim

Hey buddy, I’ve only known you for a few short years but I’m glad to have met you and happy about our friendship and friend group. Looking forward to more Thursday night “guys nights” and getting to know you better. Thanks for always being so welcoming and inclusive, it means a lot.

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Comments 5

  • Russ Hobgood : Jul 1st

    Hey Derek. You are progressing well on the AT. Probably had enough daily rain and Canadian smoke. Yeah, your weight loss is like mine was, dropped 15 or so, just section hiking. Stanimals in Waynesboro was a lifesaver during a heat spell April of 21. Noticed you mentioned Ft. Irwin a while back. I was there detacted duty to 7th Engineers in 94. Loved hiking the Mojave. Take care, trek on, best of trail luck to you and tramily

    • Derek Witteman : Jul 2nd

      Hey Russ! Thanks for following along and for your kind words. Hiking in heat like that is no joke. Glad I haven’t had to experience triple digits like that on the trail out here!

  • thetentman : Jul 1st

    I LOVE the picture of the mug.
    I too am very happy that the twice Impeached, convicted and Indited guy is gone.

    • Mike Watkins : Jul 1st

      Haha! TentMan, you are celebrating prematurely! He is not gone. Highly possible he will be Pres again. But cheer up that will not be the end of the world.

      • thetentman : Jul 3rd

        Well if he is elected then he will be the first to serve in a XXXL prison jumpsuit.

        But it would be interesting if he could tell more than 30,000 lies in his second term and break his own record.



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