Day 119 – July 4 – 0 miles
I woke up to the sounds and smells of breakfast being made in the house.
Amy and friends had made waffles again! There were so many hiker that we had to eat in shifts.
Bill and Amy allowed hikers to use the basement floor of their house. We were allowed to use the shower and even do our laundry.
They had a detached garage that had a second floor. Most of the hikers had slept there overnight. There was also an air hockey table and a foosball table that we could use.
Flashfire beat me at air hockey twice.
Most of the day consisted of talking with other hikers and eating.
At one point I walked into the basement. There were several hikers going over release forms that they had to sign to go skydiving the next day. One of the people filling out the form was Supe! I asked him how his wife felt about it. He said ,”I don’t think she’s concerned about me hiking the trail anymore.”
Flashfire, noticing that many thru hikers at the party had gone sky diving before, began to wonder if there was some sort of correlation between skydiving and Thu Hiking. She was the only one in our Tramily who hadn’t skydived. Because she had no interest in doing it, she though she might be some sort of outlier.
When Stoat and I went skydiving we had a blast. We decided not to go this time however. Hiking the entire AT was our primary goal. Having to get off the trail because of a skydiving injury would be heartbreaking.
Speaking of injury. Sometime after breakfast, Stoat and I had gone back to our hammocks to relax.
There was a swing hanging from a branch from one of the trees my hammock was connected to. For some reason Stoat went over to it and got on. From my vantage point I could see that the branch the swing was hanging from was long dead. I said,” I don’t think that’s a good idea. That branch is dead.” Stoat said, “Its fine, don’t worry about it.” A few seconds later I heard a loud crack and saw the branch falling down.
I couldn’t see what happened to Stoat. I got out of my hammock as quick as I could. When I came around the tree I saw Stoat holding his leg. The branch had fallen on his knee.
Mantis came up as soon as he heard the branch snap. He checked over Stoats leg and asked him some questions. That’s when we found out two things. Mantis used to be an EMT, and Stoats leg was not broken. Both good to know.
Bill, the homeowner, came up to see what was going on. As he was talking to Stoat, Bill turned pale. He said, almost more to himself then us, “My six year old daughter plays on that swing all the time.”
The branch wasn’t huge, but it was big enough to support a swing when it was healthy. Stoat was lucky that it only hit his leg. If it had landed on a six year old girl…
Stoat spent the majority of the rest of the day laying in his hammock with ice on his knee.
An announcement was made letting everyone know that each hiker was entitles to one pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. That made everyone’s day even better.
As I was playing horseshoes and Can Jam with other hikers, we could hear people cutting down a tree. Bill came by and asked some hikers to help move some logs around. I figured Bill needed to clear out some of his property and finally had time to do it. When the logs started to get setup in the backyard, I found out I was totally wrong about that.
They needed the logs to build a massive bonfire!
All throughout the day Jim and Amy’s daughter ,Bluebird,(her trail name) was asking people to bounce with her on the trampoline. The first time she asked me, I declined. The second time she asked me I figured, “What the heck. Why not?”
Before I started the trail, I never imagined jumping on a trampoline with a six year old girl would be part of my experience on the AT. But there I was, bouncing around with Bluebird, while Flashfire, who until that moment didn’t realize what was going on, laughed in surprise.
Eventually it began to get dark…
It was time to light the bonfire.
Once the fire got going people started to gather around it.
After a little while, Amy grew a little concerned. As the fire got bigger, it was slowly getting closer to the trees above it.
Anthony, a friend of Bill and Amy’s, heard those concerns, and decided to do something about it. He told everyone to stand back while he reached for a chainsaw.
Anthony was wearing a tank top, shorts, flip flops, and sunglasses. While smoking a cigar, he started up his chainsaw and started circling the fire like a lion circling prey. When he spotted a weakness, he pounced. Driving his running chainsaw into the fire.
It was at that point when almost everyone turned to the three Germans in the crowd and said,” This isn’t normal. This isn’t a normal 4th of July tradition.”
Sparks shot out along the chain as Anthony made a single cut into one of the larger logs. He abruptly stopped. He nodded his head like he was pleased with his work, although nothing had happened yet. Then he put down the chainsaw and picked up a sledgehammer.
He walked over to where he had made his cut and hit it with the sledgehammer. The pyre started to lean a little. Anthony calmly took one step to the side, while the entire pyre fell. Landing in the spot where he just vacated. The crowd erupted in applause.
I’m pretty sure that was the manliest thing I’ve ever seen.
The show was’t over yet.
Another of Bill and Amy’s friends was licenced to use professional grade fire works. He put on a show for us. Shooting professional fireworks out of long PVC pipes sticking out of the ground.
While the firework show was going on, Amy brought out a Smores dip. It was delicious and it went fast.
By the time the fireworks were over, I was ready for bed. As I was walking to my hammock I realized something. Everyone was either in bed or on the way to get there as well. Usually with a party that big, people would tend to stay up. Not here. Almost everyone attending the party was thru hiking. We would be back on trail tomorrow, and we still had a long way to go.