Tuesday, June 2, 2015


Hiking on the Appalachian Trail in Maryland several years ago was a woman trail-named Louisiana Lou.  She was an elderly woman by trail standards and she carried an enormous pack by anyone's standards.  She even had it covered for rain though it was a chilly January day with plenty hazy sun.  There was no rain or snow in sight.
     We said hello and agreed that it was a great day for a hike.  I couldn't help but comment on the size of her pack:  it was the usual sign of a novice or a long trip.
      "I camped near the Pogo spring last night.  I'm on the way down to the parking lot at I-70.
     She was midway of only a 4 mile hike.  But she was no novice.  The fact she carried so much gear for a minor hike was her style; she was cheerful, and wasn't burdened by anything it seemed, including her pack.
     "I've got my cell phone with me," she went on to say.  "I keep hiking in and out of service areas, but luckily I had service where I camped last night.  My boss called me this morning and said he needed me at work by eleven this morning.  I work at the Burger King in Hagerstown."
     As she turned south and walked away I looked at my watch.  It was almost ten o'clock.