It is with great sadness that I must let you know that Salty Dog is getting off the trail. It’s always sad to hear that someone on the team is down for the count. Salty took a very bad tumble down a mountain. He will be okay, but he has some very nasty and painful wounds. I saw the pics! He has made the decision to get off trail and finish up another time.
Salty had planned to hike in 2017, but he was doing some repair work to the roof of his barn in Alabama, and fell through. He cracked about 4 vertebrae in his back, and cracked ‘a whole rack o’ ribs’. He worked hard to rehabilitate himself and started the trail this year.
I have a lot of acquaintances, but I choose my friends carefully. I consider Salty a friend. We met in Virginia, and then did a slackpack together. We were stuck in Waynesboro during the rain and went to eat together multiple times. Then we kept landing at the same hostels and towns for a while. A friendship was born.
I am usually drawn to the underdogs and eccentric people. They are jewels with many facets. I like people who are strong enough to be different.
I told Salty Dog that he is a unique blend of redneck and nerd, with a little bit of hippie thrown in and a heavy dose of ‘good ol’ boy. I meant it affectionately. I hope he took it as I intended. If someone called me a Crazy Chicken Lady, I’d wear it like a badge! …because I am, and I like it. If you called me a band nerd, I’d wholeheartedly agree! To my way of thinking, a redneck is a hard-working country person who has a heart of gold, and would always lend a hand if you needed it. I love nerds. They are usually very zealous about what they love and know. You can’t help but get excited when someone is excited about something. Salty Dog is a Soil Scientist and his eyes really light up when he talks about Soil, or anything related to Geology.
He was in the service during the Vietnam War. He helped evacuate Cambodian refuges. If we had been kids together, I probably would have played G.I. Joes with him. (I had the one with the brown beard.)
Thank you, for your friendship, Salty Dog. You will be missed! Best wishes for 2020!