My First AT Hikers

I was on my way to the pet store yesterday in Manchester since I had some time to kill before meeting Julie for dinner. I was in the turn lane, had my blinker on, and was waiting while droves of cars swarmed on both sides as if I was a rock in a rushing stream.

Looking up I noticed that two fellahs were walking along the road with their thumbs out. They were just about out of town and were probably not going to have any luck with a ride. Once the traffic settled down, I pulled over and they loaded in.

My first two thoughts were: 1. Dang, my car is not that big! 2. I need some kind of odor thing in my car if I’m going to do this regularly.

They were through hikers on the Appalachian Trail with huge packs. What made them unique was their choice to hike from North to South, rather than the typical South to North that is a bit easier by way of temperature and difficulty.

Their names were Grit and Wa——??? I’m not sure. It was a unique trail name that’s tough to pronounce, let alone remember. I’ll just say “W” for now, not to be confused with George W.

Grit and W started together up in Maine with many other N to S hikers, but as people dropped out or moved forward or behind, they ended up hiking together quite a bit. Though W is from upstate NY, the Albany area and then Syracuse, Grit is from England. Not a bad way to see America.

My whole approach here is that of a service or ministry to hikers, so I’ll have to think through things such as taking the station wagon to work instead (yeah, we’ve got one now!) of the car and keeping snacks and other odds and ends in the car.

My resolve to do this has been strengthend by my reading of the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy. Thoughout the book the LORD commands Israel to welcome strangers, to treat foreigners as their equals in many ways. This was counter-cultural at the time. I don’t feel like I’m stepping too far out on a limb to help a few hikers here and there, but in some ways I hope to embody the same welcoming, generous, and hospitable spirit that should characterize the children of God.