Day 98 – Dalton

   19.0 miles, 49,288 steps, 345 stories climbed

1577.9/620.1 miles/left, 4,091,710 steps, 35,202 stories climbed
Trail Magic Moments: 42

98 AT sign

I didn’t sleep well last night.  Not sure why but I ended up waking around 2am and not being able to fall back asleep, not for a lack of trying.  I packed everything up and hit the lodge’s breakfast of a muffin, apple and hot chocolate before heading out.
The clouds looked very angry and made me recheck the weather report.  Last night it sad late showers for today but that was changed overnight to morning and evening showers.  I put the pack cover on and headed out.
The terrain today was very friendly, flat and not too many rocks.  Not any good spots to camp the first 4 or so miles so it’s a good thing I did t hike past the lodge last night.
I was hiking mostly through forests of pine trees but after about an hour the rain started coming down in spurts.
One minute it would poor and then it would drizzle and occasionally it looked as if the sun was going to come out, only to be stuffed back and hidden by the clouds.
Today, though, I came across another trail legend but of the angel variety.  It the Cookie Man today.  Now, he is not as well known as the Cookie Lady but I didn’t get to meet her and he was pretty awesome anyway.
 99-Cookie Man and Lady farm
These two have a blueberry farm right next to the trail and for the past 25 years have opened it to hikers.  Hikers can camp on the property if they wish, have free access to water and most importantly they give out free homemade cookies!!!  You can also buy soda, ice cream, hard boiled eggs or a bucket to pick fresh blueberries if you wish and they have a hiker box as well.
 98 Vista
I got there and checked the hiker box (which someone left $2 in and I also grabbed a delicious protein bar!?  Who knew they had actually made a protein bar that tastes better than “just edible”!?) and started writing in the logbook when the cookie man came out.
He asked me the usual questions and I asked about how they got into being trail Angels.  Neither of them have ever really been into hiking but the cookie man (Roy, by the way) likes to fly planes as his hobby.   It started back a long time ago (he must be in his mid 70’s at least by now) when he was in the army.  He decided to join this flyers club next to the base and was immediately hooked.  He ended up getting his license and they bought the farm mainly because he wanted to have enough land to be able to takeoff and land his plane.
The place just happened to be on the trail and they felt like talking to hikers and hearing their stories.
I love hearing stories like this.  This man had a hobby, a passion.  He didn’t have to make a career out of it or anything but he did what he could to make sure he could enjoy it and without having to wait until he retired.
After enjoying my cookies, lemonade and Klondike bar I moved on.  The cookie man unfortunately had gone back inside before I could get a picture with him (don’t yell at me, Maria).
 98 woods
The rest of the hike in to Dalton was filled with on and off rain with the occasional ray of sunlight piercing through.  When I finally made it in to town (the slippery mud and roots did slow things down a bit) I took my phone off airplane mode and immediately alarms started ringing.
Apparently, while hiking the weather forecast changed and now instead of some showers tonight, there are supposed to be major thunderstorms and there is even a tornado warning.  I had been thinking about heading on since I was in a hotel last night but decided maybe I should just spend the money tonight.
Everyone in town was talking about the tornado warnings and the woman that made me a delicious cheesesteak at the sub shop started telling me about how she almost lost her house a few years back from a tornado in the area.
Next door to the sub shop I was also pleasantly surprised to find a liquor store with a very good beer selection.  I was there for about a half hour, first looking for certain beers.  I kept picking ones the guy didn’t have, he felt bad and we talked about different beers for a while before I eventually “settled” on a 4 pack of Ommegang Hennepin (a delicious choice I must say).
Now, I have all my chores done, minus resupply since there really isn’t a good place for that here (tomorrow the trail goes within a half mile of a grocery store though so no biggie) so I can just relax with my beer and snacks and listen to the storm. Perfect night, just missing my girl.

One thought on “Day 98 – Dalton

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