Currently sitting in a bed at Pine Ellis Hostel...
Well, today was everything a town stay should be. I hiked to a road, got a hitch, checked in to the hostel, did laundry, showered, ate ate ate, and hung out with new friends. Now to be a little more specific:
The hike this morning started out with a steep ascent, descent, and ascent. I was prepared for this, and I was happy to reach Hall Mountain lean-to, a sign that the worst climbing was over with. A six-mile downhill stroll to East B Hill Road was all that separated me from Andover. I was bogged down by mud as usual, but it also seemed that trail maintainers had made it exactly as far as the lean-to and then abruptly stopped. I was driven insane by constant pine overgrowth whipping at my face, making it impossible to avoid the mud pits as I deflected the bows with my hands. After this was over, I began to pick up speed until a muddy downslope completely swept up under my feet, sending me tilting backward. I caught myself with my hands but the back of my pack still went in the mud. I'll use this opportunity to explain about cursing. It is a known law that emotional outbursts of kind are encouraged on the AT. I don't just save mine for mountaintop celebrations. No, I freely unleash obscenities whenever I get a chance. First, guttural sounds come out, giving the alarm. Then, any string of profanities in any order may appear. Frick has a high probability, however. My frustrations ran high because I was anxious just to get in to town. The same thing happens when I'm ready to reach the shelter at the end of my day.
To make a long story long, I got to the road. I waited for a hitch, and only got a lost New Hampshirite looking for a trail somewhere. I started to walk towards cell phone service when I heard a motor behind me. I quickly turned, thumb at the ready, but it was a dirtbike. I grunted. The bike pulled up next to me and the driver told me he had taken many people into town. Not being one to argue, I hopped on, sure I would be thrown off on the way. Well I didn't catapult off and I rolled up to the hostel in style, shaking my chauffeur's hand and walking to the door. I was greeted by fellow sobo Manly the Pterodactyl, who was curious as to who could be SO COOL. I got a tour from the owner David, a Guatemalan who makes jewelry from moose turds (I can't make this up) and soon I was clean, laundered, and eating lunch in town with Manly. We crossed the street to Andover's only other establishment and there sat Commissary, a sobo with whom I shared a lean-to a couple nights back. He was joined by his brother, who has lived on or near Hilton Head for the past 13 years. The world got smaller. Back at the hostel, we found Sprout and Turducken, the two sobos with whom I camped last night. More time passed as David played his Native American drawn flute and drank malt liquor (again, I assure you David is real) and we found ourselves eating again, this time at the Andover General Store. One calzone, many sodas, and a milkshake later, we spotted Kyle, Sarah, and Stella the puppy from two nights ago. Andover is a town of reunions! I'm getting shuttled back to the trailhead to start my last leg of Maine tomorrow morning. After pancakes at the general store. Duh.