Nothing is Ever as it Seems
Being on trail is becoming increasingly depressing on days like today. Everyone, it seems, is giving up and going home. Quite frankly, it bloody sucks and there’s no other way to put it. Keep on keeping on, right? Bugger all.
Well, that was how I felt at about 14:00 this afternoon anyways…
I should begin with an apology to my readers, not because I’ve done anything wrong, rather that I have failed until now to make one very fundamental element of the trail clear. That, very simply, is nothing ever goes as planned. Period.
Several days ago I described a scenario where I would catch up to and pass Captain Planet and Rainbow Mama and at the time that certainly was the plan. Then the trail’s insatiable ability to beffudle everything reared its ugly head. First, Panda got stuck in town waiting for new shoes to be shipped from The North Face to the local outfitter in Daleville, VA. The second, coincided nicely with this fact and ultimately kept me here (Daleville/Troutdale, VA) for a couple days; our good friends Cha-Cha, Ducky and Ottman decided to get off the trail from here and go back to real life (they never intended to finish). So, I stuck around with them. Captain and Rainbow plowed ahead, leaving us to ourselves in the shelter/pavilion at the Troutville City Park sleeping in our hammocks and tents as the Pokemon Go crowd continuously lapped around the park — all day and all night. Without going into all of the details, they left today and in theory my own ball should have started rolling again, proper sendoff thus completed. Then the plan changed again and very quickly turned from minor alteration to dramatic plot twist. Beginning tomorrow, I am literally flipping my life upside down (at least as far as the trail is concerned). Tomorrow, I become a SOBO.
Most of this new scheme arose when Newman, long-time hiker buddy, decided it was time for him to get off the trail and head home. If you’ve guessed where he’s from, please step to the front of the class to recieve your gold star. That’s right, he lives in Maine. His plan was always to buy a car before his funds ran out and get off at some point which, as it turns out, is here (apparently,
“here,” is the place to give up, who knew?). He showed up not long after The Trio caught an Uber to the airport in Roanoke for a rental car pointed homewards and he was kind enough to shuttle Panda and me (yes, this is the proper grammar) back to Daleville where we know people staying in the same hotel earlier occupied by our own stinking hiker selves. Right about the time I was finished chit-chatting with my fellow hiker mates and preparing to be shipped back to the trailhead by Gloriously Generous Newman, Captain called me with the proposition of jumping up to Maine (known as flip-flopping) with Newman, should his gloriosly generous nature continue, and without so much as five seconds hesitation, I agreed.
There you are. See what I mean about the futility of plans out here? I really didn’t intend to flip-flop — Mt Katahdin has always been my explicit goal — but who says no to a ride and a chance to escape the Virginia Blues (a phenomenon currently being studied by the world’s top scientists wherein thru-hikers get sick and tired of the longest state, it’s simply baffling)? Also, since my little adventure proceeding my Damascus departure, I’ve had the enlightening realization that to keep this thing going and remain sane, I need to just say YES as often as is reasonably and safely possible. Go with the flow and such. Trust me, so far it has been working wonders on both my enjoyment and on my sanity, besides being outrageously interesting.
Of course, even this scenario isn’t without its glitches, as we quickly realized, but not in a way that actually interferes with our new-fangled plan. Newman is stopping off for awhile in New Jersey to visit friends so he won’t exactly get us all the way to the top. But, this too, is okay. We’ve already worked out a reasonable solution involving a rental car to Boston and a wonderful Rainbow’s mum willing to take us the rest of the way. I feel like my life on trail can be summarized by three words: Contingencies. Contingencies. Contingencies.
At this point I’m getting a bit too much dejavu as I sit and try to describe future plans not 300 yards from the coffee shop I last made the same attempt. Who knows what will happen once this new adventure starts? If Gawd knows she’s keeping it to herself, that’s for certain. For now, wish me luck and don’t be the slightest surprised when my next entry details meeting E.T. and buzzing (humming?) off to parts and planets unknown via flying saucer. Till then, cheers!
PS. I’ve gone to making paracord bracelets in addition to my multi-game board in my free time…maybe a certain friend of mine isn’t so far off after all, maybe I am turning into a damn dirty hippie. Ye Gawds. I hope not.
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Library, there is no shame in flip-flopping. I’ve read all the books ( which I realize has no bearing in reality as to what you are going through) and I have followed my son, Captain Planet. It’s all about what is best for you. I know from reading your posts, and from what my son has posted about your adventures together so far , that you are on a trail that only you can follow. Your candor is greatly appreciated here in San Antonio Texas. Please know that you have a stranger who is on your side and knows that you will do what is best for you. Peace and love Library.
Nice to hear the journey continues, and my best to the Captain & Rainbow. However anybody actually completes the 2000+ miles of the AT is an mean feat, especially within one season/year. I will be lucky to finish in my lifetime, but then I am easily distracted by distant trails in exotic places, with hostels at the end of each day’s walk. Not sure where you get the time, energy & internet connection to write, but I do enjoy keeping up with you and walking virtually from time to time. I may do some walking along the Brittany coast, a part with rose colored giant granite rocks strewn along the coast as if they were pebbles. And then Brittany has fine seafood, crepes and Calvados to enjoy also, not exactly the spartan dehydrated fare of my AT days. Carry on! texpat