Thursday, December 21, 2006

Elizabeth City, NC

0 nm
Wind: SW 10 knots

Our fourth day in Elizabeth City. Argh. The jazz party last evening was a huge hit, but that means we overslept our deadline this morning, which means Marcel and Lise left without us. We’ve been told it’s a long haul across Albemarle Sound, and we didn’t want to do it starting at 10:30 this morning, so we’re stranded sleeping and reading all day and eating Chinese food. It’s a hard-knock life all right.

The party last night was amazing, though. The food was great, always a good point for an ex-hiker, and there was a lot of it. There were only a handful of us, but that made it even better. The only other couple were classic Southern aristocrats, genteel through and through. They were both Elizabeth City natives, and their drawl, though difficult to decipher, was from another era. The wife was a member of all the local society committees, including the museum committee and the Chamber of Commerce. Her husband is named Beans, because he spent some time in Boston, including racing sailboats on Buzzards Bay, our home sailing ground! It was funny for Karl, Massachusetts born and bred, to try to figure out what Beans’s name even was. Though he may be named after Beantown, he certainly pronounces it differently than they do up there.

They were horrified when we told them about our escapades with the “dock-master.” Evidently he holds no official title with the town, but he’s not breaking any laws, so if he wants to call himself dock-master there’s nothing the town can do. Small-town politics, especially when one doesn’t have to live in the small town, are a blast.

But the best part was the host, who, it turns out, is a trail angel on the Long Trail! If you haven’t read my trail journals, then you don’t know what that means, but basically it’s someone who helps out hikers—giving them food, cold drinks, rides, and occasionally showers. They’re godsends when you’re hiking, true saints of the trails, and I can’t believe we actually met one so far from “home.” We even have mutual acquaintances—he’s good friends with Roni from Israel, of all people. Roni, the trail legend. It sure is a small world. We were up until all hours talking trail talk, about pack weight, hammocks, snow, New England, all that old familiar stuff. He even put up with some of the local Chicago jazz I brought. At least for a little while.

So I guess it was worth sticking around. We promised Mrs. Beans we’d go to the museum today, but we may just loaf around. Loafing, after all, is a full-time occupation. If you don’t believe me, read The Razor’s Edge.


tagalee said...

Glad you had a good time.stop by again if you are in the area. Maybe whe might cross paths on the long trail. Good luck on your voyage

Melissa said...

Glad to see you checked out the site! We had a great time, and we'll be sure to stop by if we're ever in the area again. Or if we ever go back and do the whole Long Trail!