Trail Magic - And Response

Friday, December 21, 2012 - by Henry Glascock

I was driving back from South Carolina last Wednesday and decided to come by way of the North Georgia mountains. Early morning, blue sky, much better than driving through Atlanta. This route parallels the Georgia/North Carolina line and the road crosses over the Appalachian Trail about 10 miles east of the town of Hiawassee, Ga. I came about the trail crossing and standing in the car pulloff area were two hikers trying to hitch a ride down to Hiawassee. They looked ligit so I pulled off and they loaded their packs in the back of my pickup.

I soon learned that they had started their walk back in June and met each other for the first time, after about a week on the Trail, up in Maine. These two are known as "through walkers" who will walk the entire Trail (about 2,200 miles, I think) non stop. Both were college graduates and apparently decided that this trip would be a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, now or never. He (Joel) was mid 20's, long beard, wearing one of those goofy knit hats with long ear flaps. She (Peanut, I hope a Trail name) was early 20's and about half his size, also with a knit hat that only showed her cute, pink face.

"Are you going to Hiawassee to re-stock your food supplies?" was the first of about 100 questions I would ask. "How heavy are your packs, how much weight have you lost, what did you major in, what college, etc., etc. I was bored, but not for long. "No", Joel replied. "We actually were in Hiawassee yesterday and were back on the trail late yesterday afternoon. After we set up camp for the night, we realized that I had lost my camera somewhere in Hiawassee. I fancy myself as an amateur photographer and I had over 2,000 pictures on that camera, a complete photo chronicle of every step of the way and everyone we met. You can't imagine how distressed I was when I realized that all of that had vanished." Then she added that "we both decided that those pictures were too precious to at least not try to find the camera. We only have 70 miles to go and we both want to be home for Christmas (six days away), but the slight chance (impossible chance) that we might find the camera was worth the sacrifice." I was driving with two delusional people; been on the Trail too long.

So, off to the town of Hiawassee to find a small camera and I'm their only source of transportation. Their theory was that they might see the guy who gave them a ride back to the trail, that maybe the camera had fallen into the back of his pickup truck and he hadn't noticed it or that it had not been stolen. Or maybe it was on some sidewalk that they had walked on or in some store they had visited, still right where they had left it. Man, these two must be malnourished and not thinking clearly and here I am going right along with this morning of insanity, a fruitcake chauffeur was I.

"If you don't mind, the man that gave us a ride stopped at an insurance office and dropped off some papers, maybe they will have his name." So we stopped, inquired and, no, not a soul remembered any such hitchhiker picker upper. Same story at the Ingles' Supermarket, the convenience store, the landscaping office (they thought he might be a landscaper because some mulch was in the back of his truck). All the sidewalks were clean of cameras too, what a surprise! At some point along this quest, when my sympathy took over, I surrendered my own sanity and was willing to spend as much time as their delusion would provoke. "Why don't we try the Police station as a (hopefully) last resort," I asked/begged. Another 20 minutes later, Joel dejectedly announced that in spite of the police officers' conviction that they knew everyone in town, they knew no such pickup truck or its driver. "Well, you two can at least say you tried and that you have done every thing you could. Shall we now go back to the Trail?" Please, please.

Peanut asked if I could drop them off at a local restaurant and get a biscuit and some coffee. "Of course," I quickly replied, liking the words "drop off". So they unloaded their back packs and waved good-bye. Dear God they had determination and I wished them well.

I drove on towards Chattanooga. About five minutes later, Joel calls me (he needed my business card to write something down) and said, in a trembling voice, "Guess what... when you dropped me off I saw the pickup truck in the parking lot next to the restaurant. We walked up to the truck and the camera was still in the back of the truck!" I've never heard more excitement in one man's voice.

Peanut earlier told me that through walkers have certain phrases on the Trail and one is "Trail Magic."

* * *

Great story, Henry.

Congrats on a random act of kindness, so lacking nowadays.

Mark Rudisill

 

Send Your Opinions To Chattanoogan.com

We welcome your opinions at Chattanoogan.com. Email to news@chattanoogan.com . We require your real first and last name and contact information. There is no word limit, but if your article is too long you may lose your reader. Please focus more on issues than personal attacks. (click for more)

Robert Stahl Would Serve East Ridge Well

The people of East Ridge would be well-served to elect Robert Stahl to the City Council.  People of Robert’s integrity and ability are needed at all levels of government.  I have known Robert Stahl for over 40 years and can attest to his credentials and qualifications to hold such an office. Robert is beyond a successful banker.  He is a family ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Firm Gets $1,010,000 Contract For Overseeing VW Expansion For New SUV Line

A Chattanooga firm is getting the contract for overseeing the construction work for the new SUV line at the Volkswagen plant. Officials said the EMJ Corporation has been selected for the project that will give a new surge of activity and employment at the plant at the Enterprise South Industrial Park. The work includes additions to the body shop and tech center and adding ... (click for more)

Man Airlifted To Erlanger After Early Morning Crash In Bradley County

Bradley County EMS responded to an early morning crash Thursday at 7 a.m. at the intersection of Lauderdale Memorial Highway and Walker Valley Road in Charleston. Three ambulances and an EMS supervisor responded to the scene. There were three vehicles involved and one car left the roadway.   One adult man suffered serious injuries and it was determined that he needed ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Stays Alive In State Volleyball

SMYRNA, Tenn. – As the old saying goes, It ain’t over til it’s over. That appears to be the philosophy for the Signal Mountain volleyball team as they beat the Harpeth Lady Indians in the opening match here at Stewarts Creek High School in the second day of the state tournament. Contrary to other reports in Chattanooga, the Lady Eagles had a letdown in their second match on ... (click for more)

South Greene Ends Boyd-Buchanan's Bid For State Volleyball Title

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Tears flowed like spill waters through the Chickamauga Dam locks. Players sobbed. Mothers cried. Grandmothers, as well. It was a tough ending to Boyd-Buchanan’s volleyball season. The Lady Bucs (33-16) fell to South Greene, 3-2, at Blackman High School and was eliminated from the TSSAA Class A state tournament on Thursday. The set scores ... (click for more)