Early Thursday afternoon, I headed across the Blue Ridge to go shopping in Transylvania County. There were prescriptions to pick up and our refrigerator was begging me to buy some groceries. I expected to have waited until Friday, but some money came in a day early, so I went.

A few miles from our house is the Big East Fork Trailhead. I pulled into the parking area to play with my car's GPS; the location was frozen at our home address and wasn't moving. The unit needed to be reset. I couldn't figure out how to do it just then (but I did later), so I headed back to the road to continue my journey. I knew where I was going; the main reason I like the GPS for ordinary driving is, the map reminds me of tight turns and switchbacks - features that abound in our mountainous region.

There were three hikers (two women and one man), with two big dogs, hanging out near the road at the trailhead. I hadn't really been paying attention to them, being more concerned with my GPS. Now I noticed that one of the women was standing at the road holding a topographic map and holding out her thumb for a ride.

I pulled up next to them and learned that they had been hiking the 30-mile Art Loeb Trail from Pisgah Forest in Transylvania County to the Boy Scout camp in Haywood County. They made a wrong turn and ended up on the Big East Fork trail, far from their destination. The guy asked if I could take him to one of their cars (they had left one at each end of the Art Loeb trail). "Sure," I said, "I'm going all the way to Brevard."

That made them very happy. The south end of the Art Loeb trail is at the Davidson River Campground on Route 276, right on my way to town.

The guy, Dan, got in and we headed south. He said that they hike in the Shining Rock Wilderness often, coming up from Atlanta whenever they could. They are college students and had some time off this week. After they made their wrong turn and came out at the wrong trailhead, they felt that they didn't have enough food to correct their mistake and hike to the Scout camp.

It was almost a half-hour drive to their car.  When I dropped him off, he asked, "Hey, can I give you some gas money?" I responded, "I wouldn't turn it down!" He pulled out a $20 bill and handed it to me, thanking me again for giving him a lift.

It felt good to help someone in need. It also felt good to have a filling meal at McDonald's afterward, which I could afford thanks to Dan.

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