Location: Hikers Welcome Hostel Glencliffe, NH
I spent my zero day socializing and drinking. I finally got my pizza in the morning when the stores opened back up. Dagobah left late this morning with his heart set on a 20 mile day. The dog didn’t look too excited to leave and was shivering in the morning cold. Last night the temperature dropped into the 50’s, somewhat cold for the valley. I finally met Lumps and Two Step today. I’d been reading their register entries since Katahdin but had never gotten the chance to meet them. They were from Greenville, SC and are recently married. They seem like good people. They started at Katahdin on June 6, which makes me feel a little better about my slow pace.
I also met a girl, Katie, that thru-hiked in 2003. She is an environmental lawyer in New York City. She gave me her phone number and told me that she would pick me up on the trail and take me into New York if I wanted to see the city. She also said that I could stay at her apartment for a night or two in the suburbs. She said that she could come get me when I got south of Kent, CT. I don’t know if I’ll take her up on the offer, but it’s good to have a person to contact in the area since I know about five people in New England.
Katie and I spent a lot of time talking to another thru-hiker from Florida named ‘Engine.’ He is still active in the military, but he has a beard and a long ponytail. He has so many conspiracy theories that I think he has an unhealthy obsession with fantasy. We both got quite a kick out many of the elaborate plots and plans that he said the government had carried out or would carry out in certain situations. He constantly said, ‘You don’t know this, but . . .’ and then he would tell some fact about the government. The funny thing, however, is that Katie and I knew most everything that he talked about. He thought he was delivering rare information, but most it was pretty well known, like the Greenbrier complex in Virginia, the US previous support of many Al Qaeda members or that the Bin Laden family was flown out of the country by the US government after 9/11/01. He thought he had special knowledge which kept making me laugh. On an even more bizarre point, he said that he and his buddies have built a bunker, blown out of caves, on the NC-TN border that could accommodate 25 people in an emergency. He says that they have set up indoor gardens, drilled a well, and built a human powered generator for electricity. He swears that it is true and that 25 people could survive for years inside the bunker. To still be in active military duty, Engine was a pretty weird person. I would’ve liked to have talked to him longer but he is heading north and me south. He does think however that he will be called to duty because of the Israel-Lebanon war. Engine, part Jewish, says that even if he doesn’t get called back by the army to resume his Special Forces duties, then he will still have to go to Israel at his father’s request to check on extended family. Engine certainly stands out as one of the more unique people I’ve met on the trail. He hiked in jeans, sunglasses, black hat and with about 70 lbs on his back. Whether or not he can be trusted is debatable, but undoubtedly he is entertaining.
Day 2 at Hikers Welcome Hostel
The first day of August. I decided to take another zero day. Phatt Chapp, a caretaker at the hostel, told me when I arrived that Hikers Welcome is like Hotel California, you can check out but you can’t leave. I’m beginning to believe him. The ratty hostel is great.