Day 20

Today was a zero (slang for 0 trail miles. Also known as a rest day).

I woke up this morning feeling like I wanted to be out on the trail today real bad.

At the same time, I applied what I believe was logic. I recognize that after hard work, the body physically needs time to recover and get stronger. But it is more than than that, thru hiking is also mentally taxing, zeros are also for the mind. So I decided I was going to initiate talking with strangers today and enjoy the zero.

This afternoon, I went to the post office that is open a few hours a day to get some stamps. While there, I spoke with the lady working there for awhile about her life. I shared with her that my girlfriends mom works for the post office and my grandfather also had. She was really nice and I thanked her for what she does.

I stopped into the towns only gas station and had a small pizza for lunch. It was the only place to get a pizza within a 20 minute drive. I started talking with her and she told me all about her life and living in this area. I enjoyed the conversation and she enjoyed sharing her story. At the same place, a guy in his 90s walked in and he was pulling a small oxygen generating system with him that needed it’s battery recharged and he plugged it in. He walked slow and wore a US Army veteran hat. After I finished my small pizza, I walked over to him and introduced myself. I found out he was from the area and was out fishing on the lake for trout.

As I was hanging out in the lobby where I am staying tonight a hiker I had met came in to print his permit off for the Smokys. He looked like he had something on his mind, so I asked. He said he was thinking of going home sometimes and we talked about that and how to handle those days when it is a struggle and to remember what brought him here in the first place and to talk it out and not make any decisions on a bad day.

The conversations were more in depth than I shared. Getting to know more about the people along the trail is one of several of my goals for this trip. I want to understand and appreciate this nation and it’s people more. Maybe in some way, it may also help me understand myself more too.

I was not going to post any pictures today, but as I was drafting this blog post about 50 or more buzzards were circling in the sky. This picture likely does not convey how cool it was.

8 thoughts on “Day 20

  1. I am impressed on how your reaching out to strangers, not in our DNA right? Love all your posts a high-light of my day.😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. You make me smile.


  2. Gotta say Chief, I like your style, It seems like it will work well for the long haul!


    1. Thanks Randy. Have a good dinner this weekend for me.


  3. Good day Jason…. We really look forward to your daily posts and you are quite the writer as well!!! Well done and


  4. Hello, ‘J.’ Hope you had a good zero day and got all rested up. Once you get through the Smoky’s and to lower elevations w/ warmer weather… every day will be easier… until it gets harder again… ’cause you know it will! 😉 The warmer weather will definitely feel good though. As the winter storms ease, I’d guess lots of folks will again appear on the trail -so you’ll have plenty of hikers to chat with, and the time will fly. Sunny days in the Smoky’s will be beautiful. Get some photos for us! ‘Till next time, Jason. Happy Trails!


  5. That is really amazing that you are reaching out to people on the trail and in the towns. That’s what it’s all about–not just the steps and challenge, but living and loving along the way. Not just passing through, but learning and leaving an impact. Makes me think about all the people we cross paths with every day and never connect, and here you are passing through town after town, where you may never be again, yet you’re making connections wherever you go. The trail is not just an adventure, you are making it a life-changing experience. I admire that! Keep at it! Best wishes, Tamara (Jess’s friend!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! You are so right. There are amazing people out there and I want to meet as many as I can. There are lots of people that when we are at home we pass by, or never make the effort for any number of reasons, we have no idea what we miss.


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