Appalachian Trail

CT #16: Reunion

I love meeting hikers for whom the Colorado Trail is their first long-distance trip. It’s fun to hear their perspectives on the trail, to remember that I once knew intimately the same excitements and frustrations and worries. But, I’ve got to admit, I was thrilled to meet two fellow members of the Appalachian Trail Class of 2012 today.

I was filtering water at a water source, carefully out of the way of the horses, bicyclists, and even motorcyclists I’ve been seeing on trail, when Pace and Hungus walked right up.

I noticed not just the AT patch on Pace’s pack but the 2000-Miler rocker as well. There were lots of smiles and high-fives when we learned we were part of the same class.

Instantly, we found we had a shared vernacular and a shared yardstick to measure our experiences. What would the next water source be like? How like something you’d find in NY or PA would it be?

We spent a while playing the “do you know so-and-so” game, even though our hiking a month apart gave us disparate social groups. I knew I few March starters who’d slowed down, and they knew a few April-starting fast hikers. It was obvious that we all enjoyed talking about people and places that had been so important in our lives.

With a “Happy Trails!” I walked onward. But, they caught me a short while later, when they sought shelter from a thunderstorm in the overhang of a USFS pit toilet — and found me doing the same thing. AT habits die hard.