Friday, May 3, 2013

5/3: Wilbur Dam Road, 429.9

Hey everyone, it's Breeze. I'm so sorry for the lack of updates the past few days. Let me tell you, this has been a whirlwind of a week. I honestly have no idea where to even begin.

The highlight of the past few days has definitely been Kincora Hostel, right outside of Hampton, TN. The word hostel isn't a very fitting word to describe the place however. It's more like a hiker haven, a kind of nirvana for any long distance backpacker enthusiast. Everywhere you turn, you are rubbing shoulders with literal Appalachian Trail rock stars. Let's start with Bob Peoples.

Bob Peoples is an Appalachian Trail maintenance legend. It is said that when Bob Peoples builds a switchback, an angel gets its wings. It is also said that when when Bob Peoples hikes, mountains move to the side out of respect. And I'm not making this up. These quotes actually appeared in a story inside Backpacker Magazine. He has won the "Maintainer of the Year" award several times, and the plaques are proudly displayed on the bunkhouse walls. He has a presence about that him that will command a room, and will turn a bunch of rowdy thru hikers into a quite group of Indian-style sitting school children. He captivated me for hours telling stories of past backpacking experiences in Spain, Panama, California, and Ireland. If there is a long distance backpacking trail in your country, chances are Bob Peoples has hiked it. He's heading to Portugal this winter.

The next one up is another AT legend, Seico. I had the pleasure of hanging out with him all morning. Ok guys, are you ready for this ? Well here it comes...the man has recorded over 50,000 miles of hiking in his lifetime. Yes, as in half of a 100,000! Considering I have around 700 miles, this is just mind boggling. He has thru hiked 12 times, and yo-yoed 2 times (a yo-yo is when you hike up to Maine and then back to Georgia). He has also triple crowned, which means he has thru hiked all three of the US's 2,000+ trails. The numbers are just insane. I could go on and on about stats from Seico. It's just unreal.

Finally, I have to throw a shout out to the infamous Baltimore Jack. He thru hiked 6 years in a row and yo-yoed one of those years. Also, in his former life, he was the theatre critic for the Boston Globe. Wendy and Baltimore had a very spirited conversation about their favorite movies. To our delight, one of our favorite movies, Pulp Fiction, came up!

As you probably could have guessed, everyone at Kincora was super helpful and gave lots of tips on can't miss places to see and things to do. Seico even gave us advice on how to spot a bear! All the guys I just named, plus many more, are the reason why the AT is the most popular trail in the world. They are also the reason why the AT is the home to so many thru hikers each year. You guys rock and I cannot think you enough.

Now there's northing left to do but sit by the lake and wait for my parents! My great grandmother is turning 96 and I get to be a part of it :).

Life couldn't be better. Unless Chewie where here :(


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