Monday, 10 November 2008

AT: North Carolina, elections and deadly sins

Fontana Dam
 I liked Fontana Dam best because of its visitor centre with free toilet and shower facilities - including hot water! The shelter nearby is so nice that it is called Fontana Dam Hilton, but as usually I did not stay in the shelter but hiked on. Election day was coming up and I really wanted to watch the whole event on TV. I had seen all the previous election debates and even the vice-presidential ones either on TV or had listened to them on my cell phone radio and now of course I wanted to see the real thing. I opted to stay in a hostel together with fellow hikers Silver Potato, Cracker and others which would prove to be an interesting combination as one was a hard core Republican whereas the rest of the hikers were for the Democrats. And I truly spent an exciting evening in front of the TV - and I guess you all know who won those elections.

Silver Potato and Cracker
I continued hiking around Silver Potato and Cracker who are avid mountain bikers and we found an interesting topic: The seven deadly sins. A fellow hiker had called me a "glutton for punishment" when I told him about my next hiking plans and I learnt what gluttony is - and that brought me to the question of what the other 6 deadly sins were. Surely in such a Christian country as the US we would be able to name them all? But even with combined hiker effort we could not come up with the solution and I had to promise Silver Potato and Cracker not to attack passing hikers with weird questions about deadly sins - it might cast a bad light on us. For all of you who don't know the answer either but care to know you will find the solution here.

Around the same time I had had a pretty bizarre "Christian" experience myself: I was happily hiking along the trail when I saw a sign saying "Trail magic 500 yards" and of course no hungry hiker can pass up such an opportunity. I ended up in front of a rather posh house which was quickly opened and I was invited to an opulent pancake breakfast. The trail angels, a retired couple seemed very nice and friendly. But all of a sudden and completely out of context the husband asked me: "What do you think will happen when you die?" I nearly dropped my fork and all my alarm bells started ringing. Had I fallen into the hands of serial killers? It turned out not to be quite that bad - I was only dealing with some over-zealous Christian missionaries who tried to proselytize hikers. Discussion was not possible and ended up getting a very long sermon which I had to endure defenseless as I was still eating breakfast. And in the end I was more or less forced to take a Christian book with me. I was very glad to get of there and not surprised at all to find loads of similar books in the next shelters....Apparently other hikers had had to endure similar experiences.

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