Very pleasant and sunny out here in the streets of HF. All my bunkmates have moved on to either DC or to crush an 18 miler. I’m going to take my sweet ass time getting out of here, as usual.

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I stopped by the local outfitter, and got into a conversation with one of the employees there who was wearing scrubs. He went by the name “Smokey Bear”, and was talking me into becoming a raft guide and just keeping on hiking after I was there a while (and he almost talked me into it!) Alas, I still had half the trail to go, so I let my better judgement take hold as opposed to my moment decision to just ditch the trail. Maybe next summer I will come back Smokey. And thanks for the compliment on my beard! I seriously would have stayed, but my packages were waiting on the outside of town, and I don’t feel like walking back into town to apply for a job.

After that, I caught Goose and some other hikers and we grabbed lunch on the 2nd story patio of one of the restaurants downtown. I was extremely disappointed to see Goose go. Everyone told me that people would start dropping out again in HF, but I didn’t think anyone I knew would! I guess that’s how it goes though… So he decided financially he wasn’t stable enough to finish.

For me, I just couldn’t imagine stopping half way. I had definitely overspent my anticipated my budget for the first half, but in my mind it was as simple as simplifying my expenses. Less time in town = less money spent in towns. No more restaurants (unless I am with other hikers).

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Today’s town 2nd lunch consists of beer and Mac and Cheese

So anyway, I hiked on to HF hostel that was just a few miles outside of downtown. When I arrived there, the owner Loretta was out resupplying, but her maintenance man was there. So I sat and talked with him for a while (since he didn’t have a key), and just talked about our experiences so far. He seemed to be very well traveled, telling tales of infiltrating various corporate organizations (he referred to these activities as “personal projects”). He didn’t seem to be one too concerned with holding a real job, which is always quite fascinating meeting people like this. His next personal project he was working on was interviewing and testing the viability of street musicians and their lifestyle. As he was explaining his weekly trips to DC, he pulls out this massive accordion and just starts RAILING on the thing. I mean it sounded absolutely incredible. I haven’t seen an accordion in ages let alone heard one (flash backs to visiting family in Louisiana/New Orleans). He played it incredibly well, and was anticipating testing it as a street performing instrument. I think he will make it!

While at the hostel, I obtained one of my new pairs of sunglasses from my care packages. I met some cyclists there as well who were super cool (apparently HF hostel catered to A LOT of different active groups). They poured up a nice glass of whiskey and we sat out and drank for a while. Bullet just happened to be in the area with a car, as he and his dad were taking a break from the trail. So he came and picked me up from the hostel and took me back to the trail. I gave him my other pair in thanks for saving my last pair from the grips of the trail. Well turns out, he was getting off for a week… He didn’t sound too encouraged to get back on at this point. I hope he comes back out here and finishes.

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Part 2: The Quest for the Northern Unknown

When I arrived at camp, I was greeted by a lot of weekend warriors and Neon Mountains (who I hadn’t seen in ages and thought was done with the trail!). Turns out he took off an extended period of time, hence how I was able to catch back up to him. Had a good time hanging around the campfire tonight chatting with some of the WW’s.