Date: August 12 - 13, 2017
Health: Well rested but worn down by the trail.
Wake up late as I have nowhere to go today. As it’s weekend, the Post Office won’t be open until Monday, so I’ll have to wait until the day after tomorrow.
During the morning I do a little gear maintenance. Three and a half months on the trail is hard on your gear. I think it’s also a time to do another shakedown as I’ve noticed some stuff I have no use for and haven’t used in a while.
I soon get a message from Fireant telling they’re coming to town. I gather all my valuables and leave the rest inside my shelter in the park. It’s a small town and there are plenty of other hikers around so I’m not worried about anyone stealing my dirty gear.
We meet up with Fireant, Dandy, Roadrunner, and Roller who’s back on the trail. It’s so good to see everyone again. We hit the grocery store for their resupply and hang around the corner in the shade while everyone gets their stuff in order. After their resupply, it’s time to hit the local brewery.
We order some beer and food. I go with the BLT and chips and it’s good. So is the local beer. We goof around for a while but sadly the group has to get back on the trail. They get a hitch almost instantly, we hug goodbyes, and then I watch them drive off towards the mountains.
After they’re gone I walk back to the park and work on my blog for a while.
Thankfully I don’t have to be alone very long as Sam messages back telling he’s on his way to town. We meet up at the bar where we get some food and beers. Haven’t seen Sam for a few days.
We swap trail stories and Sam mentions how he ran into some hiker celebrities on the way here. He met John Z and Jupiter yesterday. For those who don’t know them, they are kind of big in the ultralight hiking community. Also, John Z is one part of the company called Pa’lante, the makers of the backpack I’m currently carrying.
I’m not usually big on “celebrities”, but before getting on the trail I thought the one person I’d love to meet while hiking in the US would be John. We compare our notes and timestamps with Sam and turns out that if I hadn’t injured my foot I would’ve pumped into John and Jupiter not far from where I got off the trail. What a poor timing to get an injury! Sam even told John and Jupiter to keep an eye for a Finn carrying a Pa’lante pack so that they’d recognize me on the trail. Bummer.
As it’s getting dark we head back to the park. Etna is definitely a cool town. It has a nice small town feeling and the whole State of Jefferson thing is pretty neat.
When we get to the park it’s already pitch black. Darkness comes so much faster here than back home. Sam pitches his shelter close by and we talk while getting to bed.
When we wake up there’s a strong smell of smoke everywhere. Looking around reveals that the entire town is covered in smoke. Damn wildfires!
We take our valuables and head to town for breakfast. After breakfast, Sam does his resupply as he wants to get back on the trail tomorrow morning. We walk back to the park to pack Sam’s stuff and to charge our electronics.
After resupply, it’s time for a lunch at Dotty’s and we meet Iced Tea who just arrived to Etna. We swap more trail stories and talk about the wildfires. There are some firefighter eating close by and we ask about the situation up in the mountains. We hear that the trail is still open and the fire isn’t too close yet. That’s good news.
We spend the rest of the day not doing much. We go to bed early as Sam leaves in the morning.