An Unexpected Celebration

It rained for three straight days. For several miles, the trail turned into cascading streams and mud so thick that it frequently tried to pull the shoes off your feet. Two streams swelled into rivers and required fording with careful steps and getting our legs soaked in cold water. Needless to say, Red and I were ready for a town visit. At the road, a man named Bob stopped to give us a ride. He was going toward a town that was 35 minutes out of our way and in the wrong direction.

"Alright, let's do it," Red said without getting my opinion and picked up his pack. He turned to me and said, "It'll work out, man."

"Oh, I know it will. It always does," I said and grabbed my pack. When we have no expectations, and are easy to please, everything always works out.

Red and I just wanted to get out of the rain, dry our clothes, and get food, so asked to be dropped off at any cheap hotel or fast food place. We talked the entire 35 minutes and learned that Bob shared our love of the trail. He's a full-time financial advisor, but also a part-time forester and has built over 200 miles of state trails, mostly by himself.

When I told Bob I just officially finished my thru-hike of the AT, he got an excitement to his voice and told us we needed to celebrate. He dropped us off at a fancy lodge and handed us enough cash to cover the room and a steak dinner. I told him he didn't have to do that and almost turned it away, but I'm getting better at letting a stranger do a nice thing for me, because I know how it makes me feel when I can do a nice thing for a stranger.

And celebrate we did. We stuffed ourselves with steak, fresh veggies, wine, and dessert at the fantastic lodge resaurant. As I said before, everything always works out when I have no expectations, but I am still surprised every time. Thank you Bob!