It’s Sunday at Bookman’s in Flagstaff. Four musicians with grayish-white beards are huddled in a half circle with their guitar, mandolin and banjos creating the tinny sounding music that I associate with the mountains of Virginia. As they pick and strum I stare at the mural of Flagstaff on the far wall but soon I’m seeing the mountain towns and people we met along the Appalachian Trail.


We were standing in the hot sun for over an hour with our thumbs in the air, sweaty, exhausted, looking like a couple of hopeless hobos, but the stranger picked us up anyway. She picked us up and drove us out of her way to a small southern town for resupply and a couple icy cold drinks. Then there was the enthusiastic chain smoker that scooped us up on Virginia highway 311 and delivered us to one of the best meals of my life at “The Home Place” restaurant in little Catawba Virginia.

The Home Place, it’s all you can eat and Sue’s cutting into their profit margin

When you’re living simply and working hard even a basic meal and a cold drink is a thanksgiving celebration. Expensive dinners at Ruth Chris or Shula’s are fine but they’ve never tasted as good as the first hot meal after living on pop tarts, almonds and gummi bears for a few days.

The musicians just finished a tribute song to a faithful hound dog and I’m back in the present. The canines in the crowd seemed to have been moved by the tune. They look up from the carpet and stare at the performers as if to say, “Oh yeah, I’m all about that”.

Categories: Hiking, Travel

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