Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Virginia AT 09-2009: Guessing Game

At the Punchbowl Shelter - in the picture Darth Vader, Top Dog, Thunderbird, Listener

One of the games Straight Leg and I like to play while on the trail is guessing how many people we will meet along the total hike. There are many factors that contribute to our guesses (or that is what I would like to think), where we are, what time of year it is, what direction we are heading, what is the weather forecast, how far are we hiking, and how many days are we hiking? Is this a popular weekend hike? We only count hikers with packs (not daypacks), we do not try and separate the thru-hikers from the section hikers or the weekend hikers.

I think what it probably all boils down to is; what does my gut tell me? I have found out that my gut is almost always wrong! This hike Straight Leg guessed (and I do mean guessed not estimated) that we would meet 7 hikers, I expertly guessed (and once again I do mean guessed) that we would meet 10 hikers.

When we arrived at camp on Friday I was feeling pretty good about my guess, we had met 5 hikers throughout the day and I was certain that we would meet at least 5 on Saturday. When 2 more showed up at camp bringing our total up to 7 I was not feeling so good about my guess any longer. Sure, I was certain that I would beat Straight Leg but it also meant that I had probably guessed too low like the person that guesses $1 on the price is right....just feels like cheating.

The next day we did not pass anyone for quite some time, then out of the blue groups of 2 and 3 started coming. We ended up passing 18 hikers when all was said and done, almost twice what I had expected. Most appeared to be thru-hikers heading South to Georgia, some were section hikers checking off yet another few miles of the trail. We got to chat with a few, exchanging trail names and hearing little bits of their stories....it was a good time.


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