McAfee Knob, Voyeurism, Accidentally Breaking My Molar Tooth and Hitchhiking Across the Country
Three Pines Hostel to McAfee Knob:
Today, Voodoo and I hiked to the famous spot on the AT: McAfee Knob. During the walk, we had a conversation about death. He was adamant about sharing sad stories about his friends/family apparently dying and seemed upset that I wasn’t grieving/victimizing about what he experienced in his life.
Ever since I was a kid I found it difficult to really buy into the idea that people were “dead” and “dying”. The appearance of a physical body seemed like such a facade to me. It felt obvious that it was a blessing portrayed as a painful illusion to buy into the idea that we could be capable of harming or being harmed. I suggested to him that he could make the choice to see it differently if he so chose, and naturally, a new way would be revealed to him.
He seemed to be set in his way of thinking, so I said, “I’m not going to argue with you if you’re set on your beliefs so strongly.”
After some time in silence, he laughed and said, “Goddamn! You’re really making me challenge my own thoughts.”
When we made it to the knob, I took my pack off and was prepared to hang off the ledge for a picture. I assumed it was an illusion effect and that it would only appear I was hanging off a cliff, but in reality if I were to fall, it would only be a couple of feet. I kept looking around to see where it was safe to land, but eventually, I was told that if I fell off the cliff I would die! I couldn’t believe that people actually did all that just for a picture!
Then, we got dressed in a rush because Sprocket was meeting us at the trailhead. As we hopped out of the bushes with twigs in our hair, a guy happened to walk by right at that moment. He smiled at me, knowing damn well I just got annihilated in the woods.
I blushed and flirted, “Hey!”
During our walk down, I stopped to undress out of my shorts to put on my “hitchhiking shorts” (ones that weren’t as revealing). I saw the same guy about to walk by, so I acted like I didn’t see him. Meanwhile, I turned my bare ass towards Voodoo so he could spank me, while letting the other guy play the role of voyeur.
Voodoo spanked me hard and my face flushed with a mixture of embarrassment and enjoyment. I turned my reddened ass cheeks toward the stranger and smiled invitingly. Sometimes I wished Voodoo was open to other guys. I would have asked that stranger to give me a little fucking, too.
As we made it down to the trailhead, my truck driver lover from last year, Kawa, called me. It was sweet to hear from him again. Voodoo made his appearance known to him, then went on to have a conversation with an older gentleman in the parking lot. Voodoo called me over to meet him. His name was Miles and he was a Ridgerunner volunteer for the AT. Voodoo had asked him if he would be willing to give me a lift to the I-81 on ramp so I could get a better hitch—I was getting ready to go to New Mexico for CDT Trail Days.
He was so happy to help out. I was about to get in his car when Miles asked if I wanted to meet the the famous Fresh Ground. He had his café set up at the back end of the parking lot, cooking hot dogs for the thru-hikers or any passerby’s that wanted a free meal. I always wanted to meet him, so Voodoo and I ran over there.
Fresh Ground gave me a hot dog and the first bite I took, I heard a crunch. Confusedly, I pulled out what felt like small shards of rock from my mouth. Turned out, I had broken my molar tooth and was pulling out remnants of it. I quickly ran to Miles’s car to look in the mirror. I opened my mouth to find my tooth was indeed completely shattered. I thought to myself, There’s no way this life is real if I’m getting the perception that my teeth are going to shit.
I went into acceptance mode pretty fast—figured if I wanted to, I could worry about it later. For now, I wanted to finish my hot dog. Fresh Ground asked me to put a sticker on his van and to sign the inside of his vehicle with a sharpie. Then, he asked if he could take a picture of Voodoo and I.
“Come to Daddy,” Voodoo said.
I sat on his lap as though I was his little girl. Fresh Ground took the photo and then we french kissed for a moment. The hikers next to us asked if we were a couple and we both said “nope.” They were surprised to hear that.
“So, did you guys meet on the trail?” they asked.
“Yup,” I said, “we just met a few of weeks ago.”
They laughed out loud. It was funny how often we got mistaken for a couple. Sometimes, I wanted to go along with it for shits and gigs, but then people would assume I was unavailable for them.
After we ate, I got myself situated in the car and kissed Voodoo goodbye.
“I couldn’t stop her if I tried,” he says to Miles, “she’s still gonna do what she wants, anyway!”
Miles laughed and told Voodoo he didn’t have to worry. He would take good care of me and that I was safe with him.
“Oh, I’m not worried about her,” Voodoo says, “I’m worried about you! This girl’s CRAZY!”
We started driving towards the interstate, me feeling super excited to get a taste of the desert again. Miles felt happy to see me living out my dream. He gave me $60 to help me out on my journey and sent me on my way.
Got picked up by the first car that drove by. His was named Jose and looked to be in his early twenties. He drove me to Blacksburg, VA.
Then, two older guys picked me up. The driver, Carl, had just picked his friend up from the hospital because he lost his toe. He was driving him back to the retirement home. He gave me snacks and drinks and said he would drive at least 100 miles. He said I was more than welcome to nap in his car and that he tended to be very quiet and preferred to be in silence. Those were my favorite types of rides.
After them, I got picked up by a man named Sebastian who appeared to be in his late sixties. He told me of his days hitchhiking when he was in his twenties. He shared stories of older married women that tried to get with him while they were giving him a ride.
“Let me tell you,” he said, “those older women are frisky. One time, I got in the car to find a woman with her shirt already unbuttoned and already touching my leg. Don’t let ‘em older women fool ya!”
Then, he dropped me off and said, “I would totally be hitting on you, but I don’t want to disrespect my wife. I love her too much.”
It never ceased to amaze me that people failed to see the irony in their words.
Next guy that picked me up was a man in his thirties. He wanted to help me out as much as he could, but wasn’t driving that far. He gave me money to help me on my travels, then said he would drive me to a really good exit where the interstate connected at a four-way junction. It sounded great at first, however it was one of the worst spots I got dropped off because the cars were going over 70mph. But, I just rolled with it.
Shortly after, an older woman picked me up and opened her trunk before I even walked up to her window. I threw my bag in, then hopped in her front seat as she gave me a spiel about hitchhiking. She listened to the Christian radio at a loud volume—said it was the only thing that kept her sane before going to work.
“I’ve been contemplating my life today,” she said, “I’ve been working at a law firm for 23 years now. If I was 27 again I would pack my bags and move to Alaska and live off the grid.”
She wasn’t fond of people much. She wasn’t married nor did she have kids or want any. I told her I didn’t feel like dating at this point in my life, myself—I was open to it, but not really interested in people my age for various reasons. She said if she was in my shoes at this day and age, she wouldn’t be dating, either.
After she dropped me off, I decided to hitch for a couple more minutes before I called it for the day. Last guy that picked me up was a man named Miguel who was driving home to Louisiana. He said he would give me a ride as far as he could.
He played the song Tennessee Whiskey. I thought it was ironic because one of my rides last year played that song for me as they drove me to Silver City, NM. He also happened to be a Mexican guy who barely spoke English. Something about receiving synchronicities in my perception always reminded me that I was exactly where I needed to be.
Overall, it was a solid day of hitchhiking. I didn’t feel phased about hitching in the slightest. I had the most chill rides, no creepy dudes trying to touch me or make moves on me.
Miguel ended up pulling over on the side of an on ramp so we could sleep for the night since the last couple of truck stops were full. He let me sleep on the mattress in the backseat of his pickup while he slept in the front seat with his seat slightly leaned back.
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