Fun And Games

We'd been hiking many long, weary miles. Our throats parched and our clothes drenched in sweat from endless staggering under a broiling sun. Tired, sore in foot and in the rest of the body, and utterly exhausted..... Ok, fine, that might be a slight exaggeration. But it was a hot day when we stumbled across a neat little place just off trail that sold ice cream. And they had umbrellas over the picnic tables for shade. And there was a little pond with a little waterfall and some fish swimming around playfully. And a huge wooden chair that was fun to sit in.

The road passed over a small creek and the trail turned into the woods but there, sitting on the stone wall, was a cooler with sliced watermelon in ziplock bags sitting on ice. The precious gift of a trail angel. I've never tasted watermelon so sweet.

It was near the end of the day with only another mile or so to the shelter when we ran into some SoBos (southbounders) who told us to keep going half a mile past the shelter we had planned to go to. If we could get a lift into town about two miles away there was a drive-in movie theater that lets AT thru-hikers set up tents at the top of the hill and watch the movies for free. They even bring over some of the extra concessions for us to snack on! It meant staying up late but... I think we were all ok with that.

See, the AT isn't all hard work. We might go through our share of pain and way more than our share of mosquitos but it's all worth it. Spending time with trail friends on something other than hiking is precious to us. Whether it's ice cream, watermelon, or a drive-in movie, the laughter is real and the pain fades away like mist under a dawning sun.

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