|Mountain Crossings in nestled in Neels Gap at mile 31.7 on the Appalachian Trail|
The days start off slow. We open the shop at 8:30. Making coffee is always a priority, shortly followed by building a fire in the wood burning stove if it is a cold morning. Hikers who have stayed the night in the hostel are often waiting at the door to get in. I am reminded of all the old men hikers on my own thru hike who would be packed up and walking by 5:30 every morning. We try to open in peace. It's mostly flipping switched and booting the computer so it only takes moments. Still they are sometimes trying to slip in before you even get the door open. It calms down after the hostel folks leave and there is a short break before they start coming off of Blood Mountain.
|Before we got 8" or so of snow, we got 2" or so of ice. It made for a lot of busting ass but it also made for great photos of encased trees once the skies cleared up.|
Life on the mountain is all I could want. I saddest part of leaving home and being somewhere else is that I feel strikingly not sad about it. My bedroom window and my front door both open up on the Appalachian Trail itself. I think Jason and I may be the only people in the world who can claim both of those things (that actually live in a solid structure). I was a couple of feet to work and some times I stand at the bay window and look out over the shop's porch and down into the valley.
|After our big snow, which was after our little snow, which was after our major ice over, the sky broke for just a moment and I snapped this photo.|
When I go into town, I pass the iconic places of my childhood that we always visited on family camping trips. We camped at Vogel State Park once or twice a year more most of my childhood. We would stop by Sunrise Grocery to buy apples and Pappy's to buy fudge. My brother and dad would spend an obnoxious amount of time in the Owltown Baseball Card Shop. All of these things I see on my way to Blairsville for groceries. Every time I am reminded of what a privileged childhood I had to experience such a place and am consequently reminded of what a privileged adulthood I've led thus far as to be able to have thru hiked the AT and then return to work and live in the childhood stomping grounds that birthed the dream.
My life feel too good to be true. I left a lot behind in coming here, but in the past, when I have done the same, such sacrifice (always of people and relationships with them it seems) has always offered up such great return. Once again, it has happened. And it may happen again very, very soon.
|This is what Mountain Crossings employees do on their day off. Unfortunately, I was working and didn't get to join in on the fun.|