Most of our posts are about local trails and day hiking. But today, we’re excited to bring you a “special edition” post. We met a trio of Appalachian Trail thru-hikers online. Lightning, Monkey and Ringleader, collectively known as The Traveling Circus, came off the trail and spent some time with us.
The trio is hiking the AT and shooting a documentary along the way. The film is going to focus primarily on the community and social aspects of the trail. We can’t wait to see the finished project. The hikers we’ve met are fascinating, so an entire documentary about the people should be quite compelling.
During their visit, there was lots of food and fun conversation. They all got to take hot showers, do some laundry, check the internet, and sleep in a bed. We even had time to watch a movie. Christine made a big breakfast before driving them back up to the trail.
We offered to hold onto their heavy gear for the day and meet them at Big Meadows later in the evening. When we dropped them off in the morning, they ran into a couple AT friends. We ended up stowing their gear for the day, too. I’ve never seen hikers look happier. One exclaimed that he felt like he could fly without his pack.
When we met them near Big Meadows in the afternoon, they arrived right on time. It’s amazing that they can hike 17 miles, and predict within a few minutes when they’ll arrive at a given spot. Most people aren’t that punctual with watches, cellphones and cars. Apparently, after three months of hiking, you get pretty good at gauging your speed. All five hikers said they had a beautiful day of hiking – great weather and pretty scenery.
We made it to the Big Meadows Wayside in time for them to order the famous Shenandoah National Park blackberry milkshakes. We had a little time to chat with Moose and Tetherball (the thru-hikers we met when we dropped The Traveling Circus off). They were both really nice and seemed to be loving every minute of their time on the trail.
We offered everyone a ride a little further down the trail, but they decided to walk their miles. Moose said “If you cheat the trail, she’ll make you pay for it later!”
Kate (Ringleader), Brandon (Monkey) and Emily (Lightning) are such nice people – they smile and laugh constantly. They were full of great stories and tales about what hiking the AT is really like. They were all so fit and strong and had positive outlooks, even after months on the trail. We have no doubt they’ll be climbing Katahdin in a few months.