During our thru-hike, we had a lot of laughable moments. Here are just a few funny and odd moments that we look back on.
- Arriving in Gatlinberg, TN Jake and I were walking down the sidewalk with our packs on. We stopped to figure out the trolley and encountered an older couple staring at us. They inquired about why we had such big backpacks, so we informed them about the Appalachian Trail. They had never heard of it and gasped at the thought of walking over 2,000 miles. While chatting I took a sip of my water through my Camelbak. The man looked shocked and exclaimed, “Is that your oxygen tank?!” We held back our laughter and recalled a few years back that we hadn’t a clue about hiking gear either. The couple was so pleased about meeting us they got out their wallet and handed the trolley driver our fare.
- Feeling exhausted as we hiked through Virginia we decided to take a day off in Waynesboro. In the town we saw a YMCA and we asked them to do a work-for-swim. They laughed at us, never having received such an offer, then put us to work mopping the bathrooms. As we attempted to “clean” the bathrooms we couldn’t help but laugh, thinking how odd of a day.
- While shopping at a small market in Salisbury, CT we saw a few other thru-hikers that we hadn’t met yet. Jake was done shopping before me so he went outside to wait. When I looked out the window he was having a French baguette sword fight with another hiker. I burst out laughing. To see my quiet boyfriend suddenly having a sword fight with a stranger made me realize that we were embracing our thru-hiking experience.
- In New Hampshire we had a heck of a time finding people willing to give us rides into town. In my desperate state I stuck out my thumb to one of the few trucks driving by. He ignored us but luckily there was a stop sign where I took a chance and ran and knocked on his window. He hesitated, clearly trying to think of an excuse and came up with, “I have no room and the back of my pickup is filled with trash.” We told him we didn’t mind being in back with trash. When we hopped in we started laughing, the trash he spoke about was one grocery bag filled with cardboard. We definitely smelled worse…
One of the things we loved most about thru-hiking was experiencing unique moments. The kind when you think to yourself… “When else would this happen?” Many of our memories are indescribable to others but it’s those small moments that truly change you.