Day 83 – Smiles

Start Milepost: 1499.3 Time: 07:00080517 - 1500 1
End Milepost: 1514.2 Time: 16:15
Miles hiked: 14.9
Miles to go: 675.4
Weather: warm, breezy
Temps: 50’s°, High 80’s°
Blue Side trails:
Overnight: tent
Map: Click on map pin

One morning shortly after starting my assignment at the Pentagon, I was walking the outer ring towards my office when I observed a woman walking in the opposite direction. As was typical, she wore tennis shoes while heading to work and put on her less comfortable shoes when she reached her office. I greeted her with a Good Morning and to my great surprise she looked over at me and smiled the brightest smile and greeted me as well. To me it was remarkable how little effort it took on my part to brighten someone’s day.

080517 - WaterfallSo it is on the trail; greet someone and look for a smile. To get a smile from someone always puts a smile on my face and my trail day is enhanced. OK, it doesn’t take much to brighten the hike!

Of course there are other ways to make me smile. Recall that I have mentioned Chris Perry and his smile in every video he posted last year during his thru hike. I think of him every day when I see another climb. Since I reached CT and now MA, I have another reason to smile. It goes like this. I start on a gentle (!) incline up a hill and often can see a patch of sunshine at the far end of the incline. I smile because that means the climb won’t be too bad. Sometimes I smile minutes later when the Trail takes a turn and the patch of  sunlight vanishes. That last smile is to remind me I am not thinking like the crafty ATC clubs that lay out the trail.080517 - Sages Ravine

I also smile at the end of the day when I finally reach camp. The day is done. Cooked. In the books. (Except at the NY state campground. That day my response was grrrr.  Or words to that effect.)

Scamper makes me smile with stories of the Beagle Boys. As an example, this morning she managed to close the pantry door on Michelob and he took the opportunity to snack in the dark.08517 - Mick's snack - 2

Dottie a trail angel brought a smile to my face this afternoon when she offered me a cob of corn. It was fresh off the farm wagon this morning and still warm from cooking hours later. It was sweet corn. She also had ice cold well water and stories about her 187-miles on the AT that ended with a fall and a case of vertigo that would not go away so she left the Trail at Fontana Dam.

A young hiker from CA made me smile at our lunch stop with a view with his ability to offer pithy replies to my queries about why his day starts at 10:00 and ends at about 20:00. Or his remark about not liking bread on the trail because it gets mashed. He does carry sleeves of Ritz crackers. What is not to smile about that?

080517 - Bear Mountain - Rock Observation TowerAnd I smile when hikers ask, Where’s Jack. My response is generally, At work, which draws a smile from older hikers (and often blank looks from younger hikers who appear to disdain work. I smile at them!)

Last evening I learned that a hiker in the “hostel” with me graduated from Starr’s Mill HS and Mercer University, both from which Jack graduated several years earlier. And his parents live in Peachtree City, our hometown. As Scamper noted, small world. I only know his trail name: Dice.

Share a smile with someone today.


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