“You a vegan?” asked Bill.
“A vegetarian, yes”
“Ooo, you owe me a quarter. Why are you a vegan?”
At the former mayor’s house in Unionville, New York hikers are housed and fed by abiding to three rules. 1: Do not call any of the three guys running the place, Dick (the mayor), Butch, or Bill, ‘sir’. 2: Stay out of the damn kitchen. 3: Do not say any words over three syllables.
“I saw a chicken truck driving down the road and I thought it was messed up.”
“What, you want them to walk? You sicko. ‘Here ya go chickens, walk to the butchery.’ I mean those people are at least nice enough to give em a lift for cryin out loud,” said Bill.
Bill is your stereotypical 80 year old New York/ New Jersey grump, except hilarious. I never saw him crack the slightest bit of a smile however despite the comedy routine he surrounded himself in.
“He ya go, you schmuck,” he said to me as he dropped a veggie burger on my plate. Honestly, I don’t even know how to spell “schmuck” and I definitely have never actually had someone call me that.
Butch is just as much of a character.
“Here’s the shower. Towels are there. Soap and shampoo are in the shower. The door does not lock but you don’t have anything down their anyways”
Rule four is that every hiker must watch a twenty minute inspirational video. No one really minds because well, dinner smells good and the bunks in the basement are warm and comfortable.
He leads into the video with a monologue saying why we must all watch it but the lead in could not have summarized slightly the clip from “Britain’s Got Talent.”
Paul Potts, employee at Cell phone warehouse hides a great talent, the ability to sing opera. He did a great job, he conquered all odds (including him not fitting in with the group in middle school, being ‘a little bit different from the other boys’) and finally came out on top. How fancy and cliche. What does this have to do with hiking? Well, the last three words of the song Potts sings, “we will win” repeated.
Anyone who goes out on a 2178 miles trek through the woods needs to assure and reassure and assure again to themselves that we will win. And the wonderful thing about this adventure is that the ‘I’ only lasts mere days and tops weeks. Hikers come together to win together. We help each other, feed one another, and provide company and friendship to people that were once strangers trying to do something seemingly impossible. The odds against us are obvious. To vacate that much of our lives to anything would be nearly impossible. Going into the hike knowing that around 1700 people do not finish out of less than 2000 who attempt the hike, it is impossible to underestimate the ridiculousness of finishing.
Hikers rely on places like the outhouse. We rely on successes like the Paul Potts story to know despite the low plausibility of finishing, it is possible. And we rely on people with humor and good hearts like Dick, Butch, and Bill to help refresh us for the next few weeks of rain and struggle.
However, I don’t think I’ll meet many people like those guys again. As Twisted Hair said “they should make a t.v. Show featuring these guys.”
7 thoughts on “The Outhouse, Unionville, NY 11/9-11/10, 843.3”
I was so inspired by the song that I used it in my AT Beard Time lapse video 🙂
Do you have the mayor’s email? I’d love to email him the video link if so and thank him for introducing me to the song and the concept 🙂
Feedbag! Dude I met you in a shelter just north of Monson. Remember a guy named lonewolf was there too? Man thats crazy! That video is awesome.
But no I don’t have his email address. Butch’s phone number is 8456490403 though.
Were you heading Sobo?
And was he asking for extra food?
If so…I think I remember… 🙂
Yeah man! I set my tent up outside the shelter. Haha thats crazy.
Very small world 🙂 when did you end up finishing?
Never did man. I bailed in waynesboro. It had become dangerous with the drop in temperatures and wasn’t worth it to me anymore. It dropped to negative 16 every day for the last six days and I didn’t see a single human being the entire time. It was an amazing trip though! Four months altogether.