The Stranger in the Woods


The Appalachian Trail near Damascus, VA contains some of the most beautiful and breath-taking scenery in the Eastern U.S.  So it’s no wonder I was drawn to the area for my post college hike, a kind of reward for graduating from Amherst University Summa Cum Laude.   I have always enjoyed the outdoors and the thought of hiking this area was too compelling for me to pass by before the start of law school in the fall.  An additional attraction to the area was the fact that my great grandfather, Benjamin Hefler, was a prominent politician in this area of Virginia in the early 1900’s.  The family had moved from Virginia to Ohio after Benjamin died a suspicious death at age 43.

The sun was starting to set and the day was finally coming to an end when I entered a hiking rest area south of Damascus.  Looking for an area to pitch an overnight camp, I spied a clearing not far off the main trail that appeared to have only a single tent.  An old man, possibly in his 70’s, was starting a small campfire when I entered the area.

“Hello.  How are you?  Would it be OK for me to camp next to you?”

“Hello yourself, young man.  Yes, please pitch your tent and share my fire.  No need for you to start another this late in the afternoon.”  The old man seemed polite and cordial as he motioned to the area immediately right of his tent.

“Thanks,” I replied as I dropped my backpack on the ground adjacent to his tent.  “I appreciate the hospitality.”

The old man nodded and continued his cooking over the fire.  The smell of pork and beans was in the air as he stirred the pot mounted over the fire.





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This is me: home-writer, book-reader, dog-lover and occasional poet. I make this website to share my and my friends texts with You, dear Reader. Please: read carefully, don't be scary, upgrade your mood and be king and leave your comment. :)