Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Zero Day in Dahlonega
I must admit it was great waking up to a hot breakfast at the hotel. I found that Hollie (pictured on the left in the photo) was still working after someone had quit last night. After breakfast, my friend Traci went to do some laundry. My kids were enjoying the computer in the lobby, so we just hung out and waited for Traci to return. While waiting, we met two hikers. The guy’s real name was Moe, I am not sure about the woman’s. They checked into the hotel the afternoon before, and had come from Neel Gap. Apparently they had been hiking and decided that they absolutely had to have a hotel! I totally understood. The woman appeared to be quite a bit older than the guy…but I couldn’t get a good read on their relationship; were they mother/son? Friends? Somehow related? Tuesday morning I received the answer. They had a rather interesting story. Moe told us how his first job was at a McDonald’s and the woman was his boss. They grew close over time, and she became like a second mom to him. When he decided to thru-hike, she wanted to go with him. So here they were!
Alice was keen to know if they had trail names, and turns out they did. He told us how he loved weather, and the first night they were out there was a big thunderstorm, and the other hikers blamed him. So he became known as Storm. His friend (you can’t quite tell in the photo), had a knee brace. Having a past knee injury myself, I couldn’t help but ask about hers. Turns out, a week before they were to depart for the hike, she couldn’t get out of bed because her knee had locked up. She went to the doctor, got a cortisone shot and a brace, and was good to go. Everyone she met on trail called her a trooper, so her name became Trooper. Yep, that’s right – Storm and Trooper. She even had a little Yoda key ring on her pack.
You might also notice Storm’s walking stick. That stick has quite the story as well, but I think the description in the photo (click on the photo to enlarge it) will do it better justice than I can. Of note, to the best of my recollection, the stick had been his father-in-law’s.
After our nice chat, I struck up a conversation with another lady in the lobby – Julie, who was dropping her 28-year old son off that day at Springer for his thru-hike.
Traci returned from doing laundry and had a quick discussion on their plans (no decision yet!). Check-out at the hotel was quickly coming up, and we had to make a decision. Stay another night and hope they’d continue, or checkout and continue hiking? After a brief discussion with my kids, we felt the right thing to do would be to stay and support our friends. Besides, there was the possibility of going to Pueblo’s that night (the local Mexican place) and that I couldn’t pass up!
The rest of the day, we spent going to Wal-Mart, having Subway for lunch, and just puttering about. I refilled all of our water at the hotel and got our packs ready for the next day – either way, we had to continue. Sometime that afternoon, our friends had made their decision. They were going to head back to Florida. We were disappointed, but understood.
That night, Mama’s Taxi took us to Pueblo’s. What a hoot she was, she sure does enjoy seeing all the soldiers about town! haha We enjoyed a great dinner, and there was even live music – a duo singing Jimmy Buffet songs. I did learn that not every Mexican place knows what a Mambo Taxi is. I tried the other name, Sangrita Margarita, and got a blank stare. Turns out they call it a Texas Twister. Who knew?! Afterwards, Mama picked us up in the big party van, and we went back to the hotel and had an early turn-in.