Trail Magic Moments: 78
Of course, even though I had no plans of hiking, I still woke around 5am. A bunch of exited and confused NoBos wondering what was next and a bunch of nervous SoBos about to start their journey, we’re all milling about.
The SoBos going through their gear one last time, making sure they had everything and trying to shed weight at the same time. It brought back memories of me back in Georgia, leaving with my massively overstuffed pack with absolutely no idea of what was waiting for me. I’m a bit jealous of them but, I’m sure Maria and I will have that feeling as we get in Houdini and begin our trip south.
I went to breakfast with all the NoBos for their celebration. Eddy decided to attempt the sundae challenge, a massive bowl with 14 scoops of ice cream (one for each state we hiked) a banana, a donut, M&Ms and Snickers topped with whipped cream and cherries. The night before, I watched a family of 5 get the sundae and they were unable to finish it. Eddy made a valiant effort but was only able to get about halfway through before she set down her spoon and the rest of us started digging in to it like a pack of starving vultures.
Next to our table sat a man cheering her on and asking us questions about the trail. As he got up to leave he simply dropped a $100 bill on the table to pay for our food and walked away. We of course all thanked him for the kindness.
When he left, our waitress told us he does stuff like that quite frequently. She told us about a time a young woman was having a baby shower there while he was eating and he just gave her a bunch of money as a gift and walked out. Stories of good and generous people you would never hear about on the news.
After we all ate our fill, it was time for saddened goodbyes and the exchanging of real names to find one another on Facebook or exchanging email. Hugs, handshakes, fistbumps and many well wishes were exchanged and they were all on their way. I spent the rest of the day as I do any other zero, relaxing and pigging out.
The next day was the day Maria would finally be getting in. Sadly, she wasn’t coming in until later but I was very excited to see her. The day was spent pigging out and getting snacks and stuff for the final hike of the trail.
A little before she got in I went back to the trail cafe to eat dinner before she came in. As I sat there Crane, Papa Crane, Bandit, Freeball and their mother all came in. They had just finished the trail and were coming in for a quick bite before heading home. It was great to see them and be able to be a part of their celebration dinner as well.
Then I headed back to the hostel to see the new crop of nervous SoBos as I waited for Maria to come in (it’s where the shuttle was bringing her).
Finally, she arrived after a bus cancellation and a late bus and numerous transfers. We hugged for a very long time and it was great to see and hold her again.
We then walked over to our room and talked of all that’s been going on and prepared ourselves for the big day tomorrow. It’s so great to have her here for this, even though I know she’s really only here to make sure I come back home and don’t keep hiking.