Give people enough time and they will surprise you.
In my last post I talked about community. Today I want to talk about people. There are always people who will rub you the wrong way and then there are others who you will more naturally gravitate towards. On the AT you can always hike on your own and you can choose to camp on your own but if you camp near or in the shelters you are stuck with those people for the night. Being stuck with some people is not always a bad thing.
There are even times where people who rub you the wrong way are a nice sight when they are the only familiar face you see that day. Just because they rub you the wrong way do not write them off right away. They will surprise you and to be honest those people might eventually end up being one of your best friends.
Also you may never know when they might need your help and you need theirs. The AT is overall pretty safe but things can happen and you never know when an emergency might pop up and you will need to rely on anyone you can find at that point.
Never underestimate the power of compassion and giving. On the trail people will always give whether it is a candy bar or a 5 course meal. There was one day I shared some candy bars with some hikers that were headed as far as they could get. That was the day that the ice storm hit and I decided to stay at the shelter.
I ran into them two days later at the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC). They thanked me for giving them the Snickers bars and that they saved their lives. To me this was a very easy task if giving away some of my extra weight in food that I would not eat before I made it to the NOC and they said they were running low. They told me that they had gotten turned around and eventually made it to the NOC. They were very cold and did not want to push on but they knew that because they were wet and running low on supplies they had to make it to the NOC. The small act of me giving them the Snickers bars was to them a huge deal. It was a nice surprise to meet up with them even tough the thanks was unnecessary.
Just remember its your hike and HYOH. Happy Trails.