3/20/18 – Day 11

Franklin, NC – zero day

Woke up early even after a late night to get shuttled to a church for a free all-you-can-eat breakfast of pancakes and bacon-delicious! Walked back to my hostel and slept for a bit longer. Printed my Smokies permit for free and walked half a mile to ingles to get more food for the next couple of days. One of the hikers in my hostel room – I found out – got arrested last night – big conspiracy theorist guy high on acid and weed. Hung out with some hikers I stayed with at Rock Gap at the brewery in Outdoor 76. Later, I met up with Digs, Graham, and Grant for dinner at Motor Co Grill. We got free scoops of ice cream for being thru-hikers. Best way to end the night, I gave Graham a trombone lesson and taught him the 5 note Bb scale and ‘Hot Cross Buns.’ Should be meeting up with dad on Friday at the NOC!

I was up very late the night before, but the promise of pancakes and bacon got me up and moving before 7am. The same could not be said of any of the others I was out with the night before. A church in Franklin makes an All-You-Can-Eat pancake breakfast with bacon every day for thru hikers. They were all so sweet and welcoming and even passed out cards for us to fill out for them to send to our parents and/or friends back home. Once back at the hostel, I needed to print out my Smokies permit – the only time I had to pay to enter a park on the AT – and needed to get more food. At Ingles, I ran into Racheal and Braden barely awake from the night before. I was right there with them because as soon as I got back to the hostel, I passed out for an hour.

Story time! I don’t remember this hikers name, but he was in my bunk room. The day before he basically was talking conspiracy theories at me and was convinced we were all living in something similar to the Matrix. He was very much on drugs and somehow ended up getting arrested later that night. A lot of things went around about what happened, but the one that seemed to stick is that he had a warrant out for his arrest for an unpaid parking ticket. I never saw him again on the trail, but I did hear that he got back on only to injure his foot; forcing him off the trail again. There are interesting people everywhere…

Some of the guys from the Rock Gap Shelter invited me to grab a beer at the brewery in Outdoor 76, so I went to hang out with them for a while before meeting up with Digs, Graham, and Grant at Motor Co Grill for dinner. While there, Snicker Bear, Honey Badger, Smiles, Penguin, and others they were hiking with came in! That day was the last time I saw any of them on the trail, but I do see some of them again! Snicker Bear ends up being my roommate for 2 months when she moves to Colorado and I got to see Honey Badger and Smiles briefly as they were driving cross country to move to California.

Best part of this day – besides the AYCE pancakes and bacon – was teaching Graham how to play the trombone! I taught him the 5-note Bb scale that most beginners start with and Hot Cross Buns. You can’t have a band class without Hot Cross Buns. His moustache hairs were a bit long and getting in the way of the mouthpiece, but he made it work and did an awesome job with my free trombone lesson. All future lessons will come with a charge ;p.

Lazy Hiker Brewing puts up a sign like this every year for thru hikers to sign.

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