5/30/15 – Big Meadows Campground (still in the Shannies) – 20 miles
We made our 900 mile-marker yesterday so we left camp at 5:30am this morning pumped and ready to tackle more miles. The three of us Roub Darwin and myself, stayed close most of the morning and enjoyed good conversation. The trail in the Shannies is so smooth it has really allowed me to pick my pace up and 10am we were already thirteen miles in. At one point during our day we stumbled upon a campground with a camp store. At the store, I split a big bag of Doritos with Darwin and sucked down a root beer with a pop-tart for desert. After getting high on food for about thirty minutes, we continued on.
About six or seven miles later, Roub and I found a note from Darwin who had hiked ahead, informing us of a side trail that would take us to our day’s final destination. Roub and I followed the side trail to a Wayside but we were unable to find Darwin so we enjoyed a few snacks and waited for him to appear. Just about the time I popped my boots off, a truck pulled up and Darwin jumped out. Darwin then started to tell us about the driver and our campsite neighbor, Wavy Dave.
While we devoured burgers and blackberry shakes at the Wayside Darwin attempted to explain more about his brief encounter with Wavy Dave. Apparently Wavy Dave was shocked that we had done a twenty-mile day and couldn’t believe we had been hiking since March. In payment for the ride to the Wayside, Darwin promised he would bring Dave beer and introduce us. Roub and I were both less than excited about this but Darwin on the other hand was ecstatic.
We hitched to the campground with a Park Ranger and there was no denying which site was Wavy Dave’s; it looked like a compound and throbbed with punk rock music.
After setting up camp we wondered over to Wavy Dave’s compound as Darwin promised. Wavy Dave was a loud, tall man wearing a black Joy Division Shirt, flowy pants and Flip Flops. His outfit was completed with a blue bandanna (that he constantly was retying on his head) and dark sunglasses adding to his mystique.
He instantly welcomed us, introduced us to his “friend” Gigi who was camping with him, and offered us beer and seaweed rice cakes. He quizzed us on our day (making sure Darwin had not lied to him) and rattled on about the random doings of himself and Gigi. Dave was a 50-year-old owner of a landscaping business, artist, and shucker of oysters. Gigi was Dave’s occasional employee and friend who had moved to the states a few years ago. Gigi stayed quite throughout most of this conversation so I assumed her silence was confirmation of everything Dave said. I must also note that while The Wavy One was weaving his tales, he would occasionally interject with his opinions of the government and to inform us that we were beautiful. Throughout the entirety of our visit he was also snapping pictures of us and asking us to strike random poses. Our visit with Wavy Dave lasted almost an hour. Feeling like one would after listening to a motivational speaker combined with televangelist, we were exhausted and ready to hit the showers.
Throughout the rest of the evening, the three of us could not help but notice the giggles and occasional shrieks coming from Wavy Dave’s compound.
We indulged in more food at the lodge near the showers and enjoyed conversation with a few hikers we had seen earlier in the day named Papillon and a blond girl who had just got on the AT in the Shannies. We discussed gear, mileage, and of course Wavy Dave.
We returned to our campsite for the evening and stopped by the compound again to thank the Wavy One and Gigi for their hospitality knowing we would never see them again. They wished us luck and we said our good nights. I feel a little sad sitting here in the tent listening to Wavy Dave’s tunes. What an impression Dave made on me in our visit. Although I judged him a little hard at first, he is just a dude out with a friend trying to have a good time and enjoying life. He seems so comfortable in his own skin; I hope to one day be like that.
****Note: We would see Wavy Dave again in the early morning on his way to the bathroom looking a little less “wavy” then before.