Sleeping Hikers Nearly Run Over by Truck

Bama➡️Baxter Day 45 & 46

Day 45: 13 miles

This morning we all got up in the shelter pretty early and were ready to walk by 7 a.m. It was only about 11.5 miles to the NOC, where we planned to spend the afternoon.

There was a short climb to start the day and at the top there was a fire tower. We all climbed it and got to see some awesome views from the top. I dropped my neck buff and a guy returned it to me! I was so thankful because I’ve had that buff since 2017 and I love it. And from the tower it was only 6.5 more miles to the Nantahala Outdoor Center.

We wound up just pushing there without a break. I felt really good and got caught up in conversation. And when I wasn’t talking, I was jamming out to music and zoning out. By noon we did 11+ miles and got to the NOC. Our first plan of action was going to the restaurant. Crime Scene was already there with Jay and another hiker Tom who I met yesterday. We sat at the table next to them and ordered drinks and food.

The three of us decided to take a shot before our food came. Wild move on a hiking empty stomach. Then we got food and dove on in. I got the most delicious spicy fried chicken sandwich with coleslaw. I ate just about everything. We were all talking and laughing. It was quite the hiker trash moment in the restaurant. Then we got another round of shots and got some for the Crime Scene and Tom too. Crime kept saying that he was going to hike out but he was getting sucked into our lazy afternoon.

After we ate, we headed over to the gear shop to get our Smoky Mountains permits! I can’t believe that we’ll be entering the Smokies in just a couple of days. That felt like such a far-off point on the AT and it’s already right around the corner. Once that was done, we went to the general store for some drinks and snacks. The guys got beers and then we went to sit by the river and drink in Adirondack chairs.

It was such a relaxing and fun afternoon. We had planned to hike out around 3 p.m. but wound up staying until 5 p.m. Crime Scene, Tom, John, Jesse, and I all sat by the river and joked around while drinking. We got a pizza and then decided that we needed more beer. And then we needed a second pizza after all of that beer. It was quite the afternoon vortex. But eventually, around 5 p.m., we actually packed up and set out to do a bit more walking.

The climb out of the NOC was infamous for its elevation gain. So we figured we wouldn’t make it that far. But we wanted to at least get a mile or two done if we could. It was hot out and we were all a bit drunk but we persevered. We wound up doing 1.6 miles to a “campsite” by a road. The alternative was that we had to walk a couple more miles and do a whole lot more elevation gain. There was a bunch of space along the side of a dirt road. We were just concerned that maybe someone might drive around the corner in the middle of the night. But the desire to camp outweighed our concerns.

The four of us set up and then we were joined by four more hikers later on. I snacked for dinner and we all stayed up for a bit talking. Crime Scene passed by later in the evening. He got caught up hanging out at the NOC. He hung out with us at our campsite for a while before hiking on. Then all of us called it a night.

Day 46: 17.6 miles

This morning when I woke up at our site, I looked over to my right and saw a car parked by us at the road. It had driven in between the tent on one side and our cowboy camps on the other side while all of us slept. They must have been pulling off there to go hunting our something. We were all glad to have not been run over in our sleep. Maybe I’ll think twice before camping next to a road next time. Maybe.

We packed up and set out. The start of the day was a massive climb over the course of about seven miles. But all of us pushed along and made the most of it. It truly wasn’t as bad as I expected, especially setting out before it got too hot out.

Midway through the climb, we took our first break. I got service and saw a message from a friend Madie from high school. She was driving through the area today, heading for Georgia. I checked and saw that in about nine miles, we would be passing by a trailhead, and it turns out that she was about 3-4 hours from there as well. It was too perfect. So we planned to meet up there around 1 p.m. and hang out for lunch. She even said that she’d bring us some food for lunch, which was such an exciting idea. That really motivated us to keep cruising along over the course of the day.

All of us hiked on from there to do the last bit of climb. All in all, it was about 3000+ feet of elevation gain over the first seven miles. When we got to the actual top, we took another break. And I finally drank the beer that I had carried all the way from the NOC! Quite a big climb to carry a beer up. But it felt like quite the reward at the top of the climb. We ate some snacks up there and hung out for a bit before continuing on.

There was a good bit of downhill after we reached the top, which was nice. We all pushed on the final four miles to the trailhead where Madie was going to meet us. And she even walked up onto the trail and surprised me in the woods! I didn’t expect that at all; it was so awesome. Then we walked down to the lot where she was parked. She brought all of us giant burritos! What a legend. We all sat out in the grass and ate together. I swear that was the most delicious thing I’d ever eaten. There was even queso and chips to go along with it.

All of us hung out there at the lot for a long time eating. We made a lot of other hikers super jealous with our burritos, which I didn’t feel too good about. But we had to cherish the amazing coincidence and trail magic that came along with it. It was so awesome to see Madie. We used to be best friends in high school and probably haven’t seen each other in eight years. It was so cool to just be able to randomly hang out somewhere in North Carolina. I love the way that things work out.

After staying at the trailhead for a long while, we eventually had to get back to walking. We had about five more miles to do to get to our intended campsite for the night.  Fortunately, I digested the burrito super fast and felt totally fine hiking because we definitely had a pretty big climb after coming out of the trailhead parking lot. I was fueled by burrito and felt strong.

I got to camp around 4:30 p.m. and set up to cowboy camp next to Jesse and John. Two other hikers, Smoke and Tim, who we had met before, were camped by us as well. I collected water, set up camp, and ate snacks for dinner once again. I’ve been eating so much food from trail magic that I haven’t cooked dinner on trail in days.

Once I finished snacking, I hung my Ursack and then got into my bag for the night. It was a perfect night to cowboy camp. Not too hot and not too cold. And when I woke up in the middle of the night, I got to do some fantastic star gazing.

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 30

  • FrictionDi2 : Apr 21st

    I wouldn’t ever camp in the middle of any road regardless of how off the beaten path that road might be. In the photo it looks like there is a gate, I would have at least set up beyond the gate.

  • Bill : Apr 21st

    Sleeping in a road is asking to be run over. You should now write an essay about responsible and appropriate camping etiquette.

    • Bill : Apr 21st

      Also, the title of the article is misleading and click bait.

      • DV : Apr 21st

        That was the first thing I thought of too! Sleeping in road and blaming the driver! Our society is completely clueless

        • TrekR : Apr 22nd

          Disappointed this was even published on the website. Glad pegleg was having a good time, but don’t really care to hear about an immature person bragging how drunk they were getting. Acts of irresponsibility seldom go without consequences, which may not immediately effect that person, but could impact other hikers in the future. For example: more restrictions of where can or cannot camp; and how this reflects negativity on backpackers. As it is said, “One bad apple spoils the bunch”. This is not an informative post. It is a reminder of how stupid and inconsiderate people can be.

          • Susan D Magnuson : Apr 22nd

            I totally agree!

  • Justin : Apr 21st

    Agreed with Bill, why would you ever camp out on an actual road like that… Especially without a tent making you at least visible to a driver. That’s just asking to be run over. People drive remote dirt roads at night all the time to get to trailheads for pre-sunrise starts, and responsibility would 100% be on you guys for getting run over in that case being in dark sleeping bags literally laying on the road.

    Also pretty click baity title… Might work to get people once but then they just block your content from appearing in their feeds.

    • Will Now Block : Apr 21st

      Amen. Couldn’t agree more. Phrases that come to mind: stupidity, lack of common sense, death wish, etc. Oh, yeah definitely clickbait! Blocked!

    • okdv : Apr 21st

      Don’t be dumb and sleep on the road… Shit like this is why a lot of people don’t like thru hikers

      Also you were not almost run over wtf, clearly that person went out of their way to not run you over.

      The trek sucks more with each class i swear

  • FE : Apr 21st

    Lmao… If I was sleeping on the highway I would not be surprised if I was hit by a car. Morons. Seriously use some common sense

  • Casey : Apr 21st

    Why would you camp in the middle of a road. I bet your the same type of person that takes breaks in the middle of trails so other people have to go around you or stops their car in the middle of the road to get a picture.

  • Fred : Apr 21st

    Mama’s rules.
    Make a mess, clean it up
    Don’t hit your sister
    Nothing good to say, keep quiet


    Stupidity was in full display in that “campsite”

  • Forrest Gump : Apr 21st

    Stupid is, stupid does Mama always said and there was no shortage of it demonstrated during this tale.

  • Elsie Brown : Apr 21st

    No harm no foul. A learning lesson. Glad to hear people that are hiking the AT are also enjoying fun and food. Nice to hear you enjoying relaxing in nature Too many times I read posts and it’s all about hiking. Nice to see “ the journey “ being enjoyed. Keep making memories.

  • Nate : Apr 22nd

    In the first word of the headline, you misspelled “stupid”.

  • Clifford : Apr 22nd

    Wow! Hope your student loans will be forgiven because these are not the actions of an educated person. As a “solo” female hiker a much greater degree of mindfulness is necessary. Lay off the booze and “solo” with a wiser crew. You’re one drunken misstep away from ending your journey.

  • Bill : Apr 22nd

    WOWEE. Slept next to a road. Good thinking, Peg Leg!

    • Kennedy : Apr 22nd

      Thanks for taking the time to share your travels.. Keep posting ..

      Any trail in the wilderness- is also a highway for mother nature… Anyone can be killed by nature..

  • Daniel : Apr 22nd

    Yay. Another clickbait article by an entitled, drunken idiot. Same type that parties and plays music on their Bluetooth speaker at a high mountain lake. Such pieces of crap and I fell for the hyperbolic and misleading headline. Site blocked. Hire a better editor, Trek.

  • Jeneemae : Apr 22nd

    Goodness, everyone is so preachee here! Let them have their fun. She didn’t bash the driver, pic shows they were not in the middle of the road as people said in comments. So much judgment and shade are not needed, society puts enough of that on everyone these days. In this community I don’t think we need that here!!!

    • Roland T Williams : Apr 22nd

      Clickbait for sure though

    • Freddie Freeloader : Apr 23rd

      Because you are probably entitled and thoughtless like her. Sisters maybe?

  • Ben : Apr 22nd

    Ok, anyone that says they were not in the road is blind. Common sense says don’t set up your sleeping bag or camp in a road or turn around and parking area. Hunters and hikers like me go in the dark to be at a gate at first light and yes I probably would have run over half of you. Not on purpose, but you would have been a bump in the road.

  • Lisa : Apr 23rd

    Disappointed in your judgment on many levels. Yours is the type group that I try to avoid on the trail. Also, I’m blocking you for the clickbaity title.

  • Thepersonyouhate : Apr 24th

    You seem like an insufferable, highly unintelligent attention seeker.

  • Jaypeg : Apr 25th

    I’m inclined to write a response article about this article. Incredibly bad taste.

  • dave : Apr 26th

    You’re an idiot, I bet you also brush your teeth where you sleep and snack in you sleeping bag. Please stay out of the woods, you’re ruining it for the rest of us.

  • CR : Apr 26th

    Someone who camps in the middle of an obvious road and has the gall to insinuate that a driver, who avoided hitting them in the night, is of come kind of fault shows a completely new level of entitlement. Society begs if you to not breed. Next time pick a busier road.

  • Slaya : Apr 30th

    So much Vivitrol for no reason guess some people have nothing better to do with their lives . That “Road” is a dirt path. She probably learned her lesson.

  • Wes : May 29th

    What do I think? I think I’m over the click bait culture.

    However, it is interesting to see the correlation between perpetuating click bait culture and the decision to camp on a road. 🤣 🤣

    I think it’s people like this who ruin the trail with all there picture taking, blogging, vlogging, and technology (including all of your high tech gear that you all buy to keep up with the Jone’s. Just an FYI going “lightweight” is not a skill. It just means you’re that big of a douche to spend that type of money so you can brag about how light your pack is).

    There should be a rule in nature, no phones allowed. The AT is like a tourist trail now and with all the roads and people it totally ruins the true feeling of being outdoors in nature.


What Do You Think?