Hiking to Beer

5/24/15  –  Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company  –  16 miles

Today was deemed a tough day. We woke up to a pretty good climb leaving The Priest Shelter. The trail was again very busy with both weekenders and thru hikers. This left me vulnerable at various pee times throughout the day. I am pretty sure every Boy Scout Troop ever is currently hiking a section of the AT; hopefully none of them saw my ass. I have yet to see a Girl Scout Troop, which I find very sad. What are they out doing?

After lunch we had another huge climb to summit “Three Ridges”. I found this section very demeaning. Not only was it three different climbs right after the other, I passed a group of cute, hip looking chicks that were all giggley, and smelled good. I however felt like a train wreck and smelled like shit. I could not help but compare myself to them. Ugg! Every time I caught up to the boys (Roub, Hot Sauce, and Darwin) they were just getting ready to take off again from a break. Ugg Again! I secretly longed for a day of make-up and shaved legs.

Along the way today we met a hiker by the name of “Checkers” who gave us her number to call when we hit Pennsylvania. She insisted to the boys that the rocks were not that bad. I assumed she was just used to them since she lived there. I feel very Negative Nancy like.

Instead of a fourteen-mile day the boys decided to tack on two more miles to the day. These two extra miles would land us at a trailhead five miles away from Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company. They made it seem I was part of the decision but really it was already decided. I found myself trudging along their trail dust powered only by the sweet screams of the Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl helped divert my mind from my throbbing feet and achy muscles. Adding miles to an already planned day always fucks with me both mentally and physically.

Always the last one to camp these days, I was still coming down the trail when Darwin secured a hitch to the brewery. A young couple with their dog were finishing up a weekend hike and lucky for us, were heading down to the brewery. We piled in their car and answered a ton of their questions on the way. It was so good to have a conversation with a non-hiker! It really puts in perceptive what exactly I am doing out here. My confidence was given a total boost in this short ride to the brewery. Suck it giggley girls, I’m a bad ass!

Once at the brewery, I invited the couple to join our table and we discussed jobs, trail life, gear, and the outside world. Someone then anonymously bought us all around of drinks which made us all feel like rock stars. We enjoyed the coupes company until finally they had to leave. I collected their address to add to my list of friends to send postcards too the rest of our journey. It was interesting to be on the other side of “The Conversation”. Usually it’s Darwin and I asking others about their adventures and being oooed and awed by someone else’s stories. I wish I could really make them understand how easily they could do a thru hike or whatever other adventure they sought. It is just making those first few steps that are the hardest.

After we ate burgers and the boys had a few beers, we crossed the lawn of the brewery to a few camping spots. Most of the good spots had already been take so walked a bit further to find a huge house in a clearing. Not being warned by anyone that someone lived that close to the brewery, we were shocked to find it. Living in shelters and tents for months at a time it seems so stupid that someone would ever need a house or rather “mansion” like this. OVERCOMSUMPTION! After bumbling around for a few minutes we decided to risk it and pitch in the farthest part of the yard. The mansion currently looks empty and we are hoping that it stays that way. I captured a picture of this absurd contrast, a mansion in the background of hobo tents.

The staff at the brewery here has promised us breakfast in the morning and a ride back to trail for only five bucks. Woo Hoo! Overall I have to say those last two miles were worth it for good conversation, burgers, beers and the promise of breakfast. I can’t wait to get the story on this house tomorrow morning!

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