From Can to Can’t
Over the course of preparing for this hike, we were often asked “How long will you hike every day?” Many times, Mel would just say, “From can to can’t”–a quaint expression from days gone by that Mel has run across in his many readings.
We were going to hike from ‘can’ to ‘can’t’ but, as it turns out, we hike from ‘can’ to ‘enough is enough’. We haven’t even come close to ‘can’t’ yet.
Sometimes, though, we’ve walked well beyond ‘enough is enough’ as we did yesterday. Our original plan was to walk 12 miles to Rock Gap Shelter, make dinner, pitch our tent and spend the night. In the morning, we would walk the 3.8 miles to a main road and catch the shuttle to the Budget Inn in Franklin NC which shows up at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. every day. But, when Mel said, “If we hike all the way in to the road tonight instead of tomorrow, we could spend TWO nights in Franklin!” Yahoo!! I was already out the gate and headed toward the barn!
This was all the information I needed to know! We were tired, our feet hurt and it had already been a very long day of walking. But, the promise of a hot shower a real bed, and a decent meal made me change my ‘enough is enough’ criteria to “Bring it On!”
Unfortunately, the 3.8 miles included a grueling up hill that seemed to last forever! By the time we got to the road, we had put in our longest day ever–16 miles.
The plan was to hitchhike into Franklin, but we had no sooner taken off our packs, and a ride showed up! An older gentleman (older than both of us, that is) already had two other hikers in his car and offered us a ride as well! Surprisingly, he was a former through hiker himself–1963! It was fun to hear him tell about what hiking on the trail was like in the early days. A big Thank You to another Trail Angel who helped us along our journey.
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