So we executed an additional slack pack scheme. Alex, a worker at the hostel, suggested that we could hire him to drive us 20 miles forward and hike back to the hostel, and the following day he would drive us to the same spot and we would hike the 22 miles to Damascus, he would drive our packs to Damascus. A double slack-pack, 40 mile two day rocket blast to Damascus. We said yes sir to his $100 price for the four of us.
So, today we did the first 20 mile hike backwards to the hostel in Hampton. What a dream to hike with a five pound day pack instead of 40 pounds. What an interesting guy Alex is. He has thru hiked the AT SIX times. In addition he had hiked more than three quarters of the 2200 miles another four times. He is raising money to go to Malaysia to learn sailing. But he doesn’t know if he can be away from the AT that long. He said his last thru hike he quit five miles from the finish in order to see what it felt like. He said it was awesome and he’ll never “finish” a hike again. It’s not about the accomplishment– it’s about being out there. He is one of many truly amazing dudes out here. Bad ass mo-fo’s. People who are truly free. They do what they want, period.
So the 20 mile hike was flatter and easier than what we have been doing. Having no pack made it way easier. It was “spooky misty” in the morning, my favorite. We were a little wet, but cool and ready to HIKE. We nailed the twenty, including through the “aggressive bear” territory where you are not allowed to stop or “linger”. We saw a freash bear track (pictured) on the trail. We got back to the hostel at 6 and readied for the second twenty. Happy trails.