In the morning we were essentially kicked out of the Cabin. I needed a ride to town too, so I was both angry at the actions of the hikers and angry at my hosts for associating me with that group. Our hosts packed us into a pick-up and dumped us off in town. Backpacks went flying out of the car and were strewn about by the side of the road at the main intersection in town.
Everyone was pretty dejected and hungover. A lot of the guys decided to hitchhike onward. I was the only hiker that walked out towards trail. I tired hitching back to the AT for two miles as I walked. It was an eight mile road walk on a deserted country road back to trail. I had enough food to make it back to trail and call it a day if I liked. A couple cars drove by me, no luck.
Then a car passed going into town. About ten minutes later it passed again going towards trail. The tiny pick-up pulled over and a middle-aged guy was driving. He told me he just took a thru-hiker to town and saw me, thought he’d offer a ride since he was doing a Sobo section hike for the holiday weekend. He seemed legit, so I hopped in and we chatted all the way back to trail. He was so amazed by thru-hikers that it made talking fun. He had all his bulky section hiker gear in the back of the truck, mostly military surplus stuff. I tipped him off to some nice campsites sobo and he was super excited.
When we got to trail, he walked off south and I walked north.
I walked most of the day alone. I crossed over a few rough mountains with re-bar and steep climbs. The trail here seemed very wild. I got the feeling that it wasn’t really maintained and likely, not walked by most hikers. A lot of people skipped the section after Andover because there was an easier access point further up trail.
I couldn’t find a nice campsite on the mountain and it was getting late, so I opted to walk down to the next road crossing and stealth there. When I got to the road there was more trail magic and three of my fellow “hikers” sitting in lawn chairs. I was happy to see a few familiar faces. It felt safer camping near the road with them, something I always tried to avoid. Unfortunately, my creepy friend was there too.
The guy doing trail magic was named Tortoise. He was a fun person, who decided to camp out with us. In the evening he drove us to town and we had dinner during a bad rainstorm. As much as I hated going to town this often, it was nice to be around a trail angel.