Wendy here with another update from the trail! We have finally squirmed out of the grasp of the beautiful Franklin, NC and managed to hole ourselves up back in the woods. Today was a short day (only about 4 miles) and we arrived at the shelter early. We were the first ones here for the day and decided to stay in the shelter for the night. Little did we know our plans would be changed for us...
About 30 minutes after we arrived, hikers began filing in to the shelter. First was Daypack, then Turtle, then a group of 3 hikers we haven't seen since Neels Gap! Sorry to say I can't remember one of their names but the other two are Ref and Jigsaw. The combination of all of us fills the entire shelter floor and we all settle in our bags to enjoy the short day before dinner.
About an hour passes before we are hit with 3 hikers; 2 Boy Scouts and a leader. They are very polite and decide that one scout will take a remaining spot along our feet on the shelter floor and the troop leader and the other scout would pitch their tent. While it wasn't the perfect set of conditions for tenting, they were willing to accept their spot outside in order to preserve the comfort of those of us that arrived early (mind you we are ALL thru hikers.)
This went swimmingly until there arrived an unnamed man in a ridiculous looking hat. He seemed to be under the influence of some substance that made him the most important individual on this earth and immediately began demanding that we squish together further to make room for him.
Let's keep in mind 2 things at this part of the story- we had already crammed the shelter to the max in order to fit the people we had fit AND the rain had ceased. Yet somehow this rain on the ground (we assume acidic) proved too much a challenge for dopey hat man to tent in and he instead went on insulting the thru hikers (including Breeze and I) because we could not find room for his delicate frame to hide from the rain that ended an hour ago.
More awkward insulting and muttering occurred and it was then that the other troop leader and two more scouts entered the ring. Preposterous, one might think, to say that even they could be brain dead enough to think that they could fit in the shelter (IT STILL ISN'T RAINING.) As it turned out, however, that is exactly what this retired marine and two scouts expected to do. At this point Breeze and I had become fed up with the backhanded comments from Acid Rain Hat Man and decided to be the bigger men (because 2 full grown adults chose not to be,) and told everyone we would leave and go tent in the lack of rain.
Think that would be the end of the story?! Not when A.R.H.M is involved. As we packed up so that his precious body could seek refuge from the soggy ground, we were once again berated and insulted because we were being babies and moving when they didn't ask us to move at all. Attempts to explain common courtesy and respect for personal space seemed to be one rung too high on the intelligence scale for ARHM and he continued spouting insults as we left.
All in all an eventful day that landed us with wet gear but a peaceful night sleep. Shame on these folks for giving both the military and Boy Scouts a bad image. I fear the scouts will be told we were in the wrong and they will go on to do the same things to people instead of simply being courteous. Hopefully that doesn't happen.
Until the next acid rain adventure,
Alex AKA Wendy