A Series of Hilarious Events (Part Two) April 17, 2012Posted by marzwaggener in Alabama.
(continued) Thursday, April 12, I found Scott gathering firewood at the trestle like he said. The riverbank was located down a steep embankment. I had to slide on my butt down a dirt slide to get there – the smoothness of the path told me many butts had been there before mine. The riverbank, stream, and trestle were beautiful. We got a fire going and talked about camping while I snapped a few pictures and had a bit to drink. A bit too much to drink, and on an empty stomach at that. (Not a great idea!)
Later in the evening Scott went to the grocery store for a few things. When he got back, I was passed out on the rocks of the riverbed from drinking without eating any food! I managed to crawl into my sleeping bag, and there I slept beside the river, shivering through the 35° night in my 40° rated sleeping bag. Scott went to his truck where he could run the heater, but returned in the morning and built another fire. The morning sunrise streamed through the smoke and leaves, making beautiful light on the water.
Later that day I stopped by the post office in the small town of Weaver to pick up a package my sister sent me, which included a much-needed new pack! Many, many thanks to my sister Naomi Rice for her recommendation – my new pack is fantastic!
I also got a cool Cloak Camera Bag to carry my camera in and the geeky F-Stop Watch to tell the time, as I leave my cell phone off most of the time to save the battery. I stayed at the trestle again that night, but in my tent this time.
April 14th I walked the last few miles of the trail. The end of the trail just has a simple sign announcing the 100+ mile accomplishment:
There’s a park at the end of the trail, so I sat and rested a while, reflecting over the past month. I started walking the Silver Comet Trail on March 14th. Finally on April 14th, one month and many exciting adventures later, I reached the end. As I sat lost in my thoughts, an older gentleman who must have passed me earlier saw me and said, “so you finally made it to the end!” I smiled and replied that indeed I had. He asked where I was going now, and I said I would probably camp in the park for the night. He left, and I went back to my thoughts about my hike (and also how much I hate fire ants, in case I haven’t mentioned that already). But not much later he returned with his wife, and they invited me to stay at their house for the night! I was very surprised by their generous offer and at their insistence I accepted.
Helga and Rolf were full of interesting stories and had traveled all over the world. They told me stories of the many places they’d been and the many adventures they’d had. Rolf has done some beautiful wood carvings and they both enjoyed collecting art from all the different countries they visited. They had been married over fifty years and still held hands when they walked together in public.
After looking at a map, they decided to drive me towards Birmingham the next day. Since I lived in Hoover for ten years growing up, I thought some place near there might be cool, so they decided to visit the Galleria. I put a message on Facebook that I’d be in the Birmingham/Hoover area if any of my friends from there wanted to hang out, and got a couple of replies. Finally, I made plans to stay with my former next-door neighbor when I lived in Hoover as a kid, who had just moved back to Birmingham one week before.
April 15th Rolf and Helga drove me to the Galleria. We had a lovely lunch, walked around the mall a little bit, then my friend Anu came to pick me up. She and her husband have a CUTE daughter who’s just about to turn one, so I got to meet Ruth for the first time.
I also got to see a few other people I knew who used to live in Atlanta, so my stay in Birmingham has been pretty awesome. I’m still not sure when I’ll hit the road again… but I’m sure more Hilarious and Wonderful Events will ensue.