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.