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Teacher & Snacktime

A Wonderful Day….Part 2

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Snacktime, Coach, Oz and I continued with the next phase of the plan…to drop off Coach’s car at the Dartmouth Skiway lot, toward which the entire group would be hiking for the next 2 days. It was about a 20 mile trek from Hanover, but roughly 12 miles from Etna/Hanover Rd trailhead where were leaving Coach and Oz. It took us about an hour to find our way out to the Skiway, park the car, hit the general store in Lyme for ice (for our trail magic cooler) and snacks, then locate the trailhead in Etna.

I don’t remember much of the conversation, other than it being the easy, relaxed type in an atmosphere usually only found with friends of long standing. For me, the ride was too short, but I suppose the guys were eager to get their hike underway. We pulled over in a small parking area at the trail crossing. The guys got out, donned their gear, and Snacktime and I got the cooler and snacks from the trunk. A hiker arrived as we said our goodbyes with hugs, took a group photo for us, and Coach and Oz headed out on their adventure. Of course, watching them leave, I felt that twinge of envy I always feel when others are going off onto the trail.

I turned to Snacktime and our first “customer”, and started getting down to our own day’s business. “Hobo”, a sobo who started his day at the Moose Mtn. shelter to which “our boys” were hiking that day, was given his bag, a couple of bags of chips and a Vitamin Water, posed with Snacktime, and sat with us for a little while to tell us about his hike. We were soon joined by “Slip”, a nobo out of Hanover that morning, and the process was repeated. Snacktime and I were doing real-live trail magic….and it was pretty cool.

A good while passed before the next hiker arrived, and it was getting on to lunchtime.
There was a general store & deli only .7 miles down the road according to my 2012 Thru-Hikers’ Companion, and while I wasn’t worried about theft, I wasn’t comfortable about just leaving our stuff out. Fortunately, we were then joined by “Heavyweight”, who settled in with his goodies and the intent of taking a break. I asked if he’d mind holding down the fort while we grabbed some lunch down the street, and he gladly agreed. So Snacktime and I took a quick ride, found the general store, and grabbed 3 amazingly generous sandwiches, an M&M brownie for “guess who”, and headed back to our station where the three of us totally pigged out.

Heavyweight hung out with us for well over an hour, and within that time we were also joined by Mr. Bluesky, then AT celebrities Caboose & Sassafras. This well-known (and quickly recognized) father/daughter team from Maine had left the trail to deal with a medical issue Sassafras was having with her foot, but after having been treated and sufficiently healed, they returned to the trail that morning in Hanover. I had been following their story, and was not only pleased to get a chance to meet them, but also to know their adventure was continuing and not cut short.

After everyone’s departures, Snacktime and I had another long wait for more hikers to pass through, but eventually we were joined by “Hancock” and “Gypsy”, a young couple who also stayed with us for a good while. We sat and snacked and chatted about their hike, our quest, and the merits of kids hiking the AT versus playing video games. These two were really delightful to spend time with, and it was with great disappointment that I realized later that they were the only hikers of whom I'd not gotten a photo. Bummer. But I do have a clear image in my memory of them, and while not completely photographic, it will just have to do.

Around 2:30, with the heat of the day at its highest and our shade gone with the change of the angle of the sun, we started to feel the weight of our early rise. Snacktime zonked out in the car while listening to an audiobook, and if I sat much longer with no hikers coming through, I’d likely have joined him in slumberland. It was time to move on. I woke him up and we started to load up the car. We just tossed it all in the backseat, as our plan was to head to Rt 25C, drive to the center of Warren to see the Alabama missile, then park it at the trailcrossing back on 25C and set up again for an hour or so to catch a new group. Just as I was about to start the car, “Mash” & “Mash’s Dad” emerged from the trail in front of us. Of course I stopped the engine, got out and called them over to get all their goodies. A short chat, then we all went on our merry ways.

Snacktime and I followed Rt 10 back to the same general store where we’d bought ice earlier to get a refill for the cooler, and an ice cream cone for him. We got directions from the storeowner that Rt 25 was “just up the road” (7 miles it turned out). When the intersection was no more than 200 yards ahead, I saw a hiker walking on the other side of the road in our direction. I pulled over, called him over, and Snacktime got out the goodies.

“Patches” (or Smokeybones as he’s known on WB) was trying to get back to Hanover and continue his sobo after having done some short-distance flip-flopping between there and the end of the Whites. I looked at Snacktime, raised my brows in question and merely asked “missile”? He answered “Nope, we take him”. We moved everything back into the trunk except for enough drinks and snacks to keep us all happy on the ride.

Thus we ended our trail magic day with a half-hour ride back to Hanover and a “hitch" hiker in the back seat. We talked about his hike and who he’d met along the way. It turned out that he was the very person who had given Mr.Bluesky his name. They’d stayed in the same shelter one night and Patches had been struck by the degree of joy the other seemed to find in everyone and everything around him (something we had also noticed ). We talked about WhiteBlaze, and how he had joined and received so much help in preparing for his hike. I told him we’d post his picture in the Faces of Members Gallery and he was thrilled. We’ll be exchanging friend requests.
We dropped him off at the Hanover Inn (where I foolishly hoped to see our guys still lined up out front). We pulled into the nearby Irving, filled the tank, headed back onto Rt 120 SLOWLY through Lebanon, got on Rt 89, turned on the audiobook and headed home.

Like I said, a wonderful day.

Updated 08-08-2013 at 12:21 by Teacher & Snacktime

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  1. hikerboy57's Avatar
    Of course you felt comfortable we're all family glad you had such a great time glad you met up some of the members here
  2. HikerMom58's Avatar
    Wow... you are an amazing writer!! That's the most interesting journal I've read in a long time. I cannot believe all the twists & turns to make for a very eventful day!! HOW FUN!!