PUDs are Pointless Ups and Downs, where “they” make you go over the top of a hill without any reason when there is a perfectly good contour to take you to where the trail is heading.
Today we did many UDs, these are Ups and Downs but they are not pointless. The trail has turned East and we are cutting across the ridges, so these UDs serve a purpose. We did 27km and ascended about 1450m. Demanding day.
We mistakenly thought that we were going close by 2 farmstalls, and were looking forward to those stops. Our previous farm stall stop (well it was a lot more than a stall) at Heavenly Hills had fresh fruit, drinks, freshly made quiches and a donut machine, I was imagining something similar. It turned out both of these places we hoped to visit today are only open Wed to Sunday, we were very disappointed.
Made up for by another event of perfect timing. Remember how we were JUST in our tent last night when the rain started? Well today, JUST as we stepped out of the forest to cross a road a white van came driving up the road. Were we 30seconds earlier or later the van would have come and gone. The van stopped and a woman opened her window and asked if we care for some soda. What a question! She pulled off to the side of the road, introduced herself as trail angel MissJanet and gave us a soda each. We chatted for 20mins or so. She lives in Erwin (where Mathilda lives) and every year in March she packs her van and basically drives northwards along the trail, helping hikers along the way. She has done this for 10 years. Later on Nav and her group of boy companions (there are now 4 😀) told us that she is one of the most famous trail angels on the AT.
On around 20km we found a note on a tree confirming what Groove (one of Nav’s group) told us 10km back, just off the trail (100m) is a house on a farm where the owners (thru-hikers from 2016) welcome hikers to relax on their back porch. There is a fridge with drinks and snacks, a price list and a money box. When we arrived Nav&company have been there for more than an hour already. They stayed for another 30 mins or so and we had a few good laughs following their banter. They left and we stayed a bit longer, we had another soda each, chatted to Firefly (the woman of the house) when she came to stock the fridge with more sodas and then left to do our last 6km – how wonderful to share their back porch with hikers and to facilitate access to snacks and cold drinks!
The last 6km still required us to climb over 2 hills and included some sun walking:
Tomorrow we will (eventually) reach Hanover, where we will stay for two nights and do a Zero, but more about that in the next post.