So there we were, sitting outdoors at a local BBQ joint with our friend Turtle in the Daleville, VA shopping commons, while enjoying a terrific pitcher of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale waiting for our chicken and pork to be delivered after a good 100 mile stretch between towns. Lindsay and I walked across the parking lot to check out the local gear outfitter and stopped to chat with three random locals for just ten minutes and incredibly they gave us $40 for our dinner! Riding a high of good food, good beer and good luck to pay our tab, we spied our trail friends “Sunshine” and “Fern Gully” waving from a passing car. Since neither of their packs are big enough to fit a small SUV, it seemed a bit odd and I jogged over to see what was going on. That is when it happened; lightening struck and all of the good karma that we have been building for a year was set back to zero by spending two days with Rob and Beth.
The lady driving the car asked where we were staying that night, to which I sheepishly replied “Somewhere on the trail, near the highway”. When she asked if we wanted to stay at her house I kept myself from jumping with joy. Our furry little four legged child is often a deal breaker for hitch hiking so I assumed he would keep us out of this as well, which Lindsay and I fully agreed prior to leaving home would be part of the price you pay for hiking with a dog. As it turns out Rob and Beth love dogs as much as we do and she told us to “Hang tight for thirty minutes and her husband will be by to pick us up when he gets done hiking.”. Well it wasn’t just a cruel joke on some passing thru-hikers and 25 minutes later a car pulls up next to the curb outside the BBQ joint and the driver tells us to throw our packs in the trunk and hop in!
The next 48 hours were filled with some of the most incredible hospitality and kindness Lindsay and I have ever received. We had so much more than a bed with sheets and a place to shower. Lindsay, Turtle, Fern Gully, Sunshine, Hunter and I were welcomed in to their home with food, beer, wine and great conversation. We planned on spending a zero day in Daleville at the city park and sleeping in our tents or reading a book with our feet up, which wouldn’t be a bad day in itself. Instead with spent our day off by sleeping in, waking up to fresh coffee and even spending the evening at a true dinner party which we fortunately had clean hiker clothing for!
All they asked in return was a picture from Katahdin, which is good because there aren’t enough ways to say thank you in any of the three languages Lindsay speaks. So Rob and Beth, if you read this thank you again and even on the crappiest day we have out here, the thought of getting to the summit if Mt Katahdin to take the picture you asked for is more than enough to keep us going.
The generosity we receive on the trail never ceases to amaze us.