I woke up at basecamp a year older this morning. I hobbled up the basement stairs to the kitchen where I made my standard hiker breakfast of Quaker maple and brown sugar oatmeal and instant coffee. My legs were still very stiff but everything, including my knee, felt better than it did during my last visit to basecamp. To celebrate my 31st birthday, I did absolutely nothing. And it felt glorious.
When I finally decided to get motivated, I managed to turn on my computer and check Facebook. GI Jayne and Giggles had friend requested me and Jayne had left a message. Bad news: They were both off the trail for good. The trail was just more difficult than they had expected. But the good news was that they were due to pick up a rental car from the Asheville airport around noon. I shot a message back suggesting that we have one last lunch together. They agreed, so we met up at Barley’s Taproom in downtown Asheville for some pizza and craft beer. Since they knew it was my birthday, Jayne picked up the tab. It was really nice to be able to do something with friends for my b-day. As it turns out, everyone I knew in Asheville had prior engagements, so I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening vegging at basecamp, doing laundry and listening to music.
Unfortunately, no one was available the morning after St. Patties to help drive me back to the trail. So, I sat around some more and watched a couple adventure documentaries on NetFlicks. Luckily, Jordan, my brother’s friend who dropped me off to begin the trail in Georgia, was willing and able to help me out the following morning. NOC (Nantahala Outdoors Center), here I come.