On Thursday, May 6th, I(Ranger Rick) finished my last nursing class at Widener University. My friend Jessica(Flipper), Kelly(Spaghetti) and Caroline(Cheese) drove down to Philadelphia to meet and join me for our journey south. We stayed at John’s place in Charlottesville, VA that night. We left Charlottesville at 630am on the 7th and headed southwest towards Pearisburg, VA. We met a shuttle driver, Don, a hell of a guy! Don gave us the run down of the 33 miles Jessica and I were doing. Don told us stories, explained the land and sold us to the famous Wood’s Hole Hostel. I parked my car at the Angel’s Rest trail-head in Pearisburg, Va and headed 33 miles south to hike back to my car.
Don drove us to Bland, Va, where we picked up Andrew(Kneecap) and Brian(Eagle) from the Dairy Queen. Those boys started hiking on May 2nd and are going to continue with Kelly and Caroline until June. Unfortunately, because my pre and postgraduation plans interfer with my continuation on the trail I had to return back to the grind. This grew more apparent and upset me as the days on the trail progressed. Though, I was only a section hiker, I grew very comfortable with the trail and all the thru-hikers I met throughout my journey. Leaving my friends and the trail behind truly hurt. I honestly don’t care about walking for graduation. At the time it seemed way more important to stay with my friends and complete what we started.
As I mentioned before, I was only a short section hiker, but I formed interesting bonds with the thru-hikers. Rock n Roll, a thru-hiker, said to me one time, ” We’re all here for one reason and it brings us close like a family”. All the thru-hikers I met were extremely friendly and kind to the others. They truly acted as family. I’d love to hike the entire Appalachian myself and experience that family bond with others. “All we’re doing is walking everyday together for 3 months”. I have a lot of respect for all the thru-hikers and I wish you all the best of luck.
A special thanks and good luck to Don, Cheese, Spaghetti, Flipper, Eagle, Kneecap, Neville, Michael, Russell, Shorts, Shelter, Fuzzy, Grolar Bear, Georgia, Rock n Roll, Freeman, Cricket, Boston, Zen, Tether-Ball, Moose, Nap-Time, Willy Walker, Rainbow-Monkey and who ever else I met and spoke to.