I decided, well, we all decided to take the next day off. My knee and thigh were sore and needed a day to rest. We ate breakfast downstairs in the deli, which was a large three room restaurant. The hand carved wood decor, trimmed in tanned leather and other natural accents reminded me of the old ways, how things used to be made. The 12 tribes made everything themselves, from the food, the crops, the furniture, everything. Each person served a purpose and was appreciated for their efforts. Sitting down you felt instantly welcomed at their place.
My day consisted of doing absolutely nothing, grabbing some ice cream and lunch, resupplying, and resting my legs. I spent the majority of the day on the couch with my legs propped up and that lasted right into the evening. That was until the urge to get up and go out hit us, Flailing and Earthling had to be motivated to go out. I was dressed in my button down loner clothes and ready while they showered and got the motivation for drinks. Eating pizza and having a few beers, we laughed and wound down. It’s not often we get a true day off from the miles we put in or from the stresses of the trail. These fleeting moments in time, ever slipping from our grasp like sand through our hands are more than loved, they are longed for and cherished.
Retiring for the night, I slept so soundly that I didn’t awake till morning. After breakfast Flailing and Earthling were off to go slack pack while I ran errands for the day. Catching the bus I headed to Killington to grab a package. To my surprise it hadn’t arrived yet and I eat as if I was back in the south. Two day shipping meant three or four day again, which meant I would have to bounce it another time. I wasn’t worried but I did notice I would deed my cold weather gear soon. The temperature put a bit of chill in the air and I was going to be in The Whites soon enough. Upon returning to the tribes I met the other two and had a late lunch of homemade vegetable soup and bread. That evening we would venture out to a locals house and spend the night dancing to the Xbox and having a great time. Sleep once again would carry my off to the land of rest so deeply, I once again awoke for nothing.
The third day for me we slack packed back to town and found ourselves famished when we returned. To our surprise we made it back in time for their gathering on Friday night. That meant hot food made by the tribes and dancing once again. Sitting at the table family style we were treated to three young girls and their mother. Each child wide eyed and wonderous, asking all sorts of questions. Thier eagerness to expierence the world was hard not to see. The youngest asked over and over for stories of my travels. I did my best to oblige her with tales of woe, happiness, and fright, to keep her on her toes throughout dinner and dessert.
With the biker rally in town we found it hard to fall asleep, the live music going till late in the evening and the lights kept the guys up in the hostel. By midnight I had tossed around quite a bit and lay restless and irritated. We had a long day of hiking and needed our sleep for the next day. After an hour of quiet, just as the bars let out we could hear some guy screaming outside. At my limit, had enough, I tossed my sheets off in one flick of my wrist and I was down the stairs before they settled on the floor. Coming outside it was obvious to me what was going on. Some drunk guys was trying to pick a fight with four others in the street.
The four guys, trying to leave, could not escape form his relentless verbal attacks and his unwillingness to calm down. Doing thier best to de-escalate the situation, the drunk guy took a swing at one of the four. Defending himself with a quick two punches the drunk man was out cold, before he hit the ground flat like a pancake. You’ve got to be kidding me I said to myself, as I ran over to render first aid. Back of his head split open, lips cut, and a huge knot on his head, it looked as if this wasn’t his first fight for the night. Telling onlookers to call an ambulance I checked his vitals.
He as breathing and that’s all I cared about as I rolled him over on his side, with the aid of another hiker. A helpful woman was on the phone with 911 for ten minutes and getting nowhere as he layer there in my friends lap. The operator, hostile, uncooperative, and belligerent was more concerned with the woman’s info, who was just passing by, than the victims state. The operators ineptitude to help us was exacerbated, by having to make a second call to 911, when she hung up on the good samaritan. Getting the pertinent info through a second time took so long that the drunk man regained consciousness and became hostile towards the hikers trying to help him. When the ambulance arrived we helped him into the back by 4 am and filled out the police reports. There would be no more good night’s sleep for Flailing and I.