On trail, Clarity was known as the girl with the hats. On the A.T., even hats have a story. 🙂 After starting my hike with my all-time favorite hat (seen below), I walked it about 500 miles before losing it while walking down Mount Prospect on my way into Williamstown, Massachusetts. Discomfort from the heat of the sun bearing down on my face was coupled with despair caused by a weird sadness that sets in when losing a nostalgic inanimate object. Walking into the one town on the Appalachian Trail where my hitchhike attempts were futile, my sun-strained eyes drifted left and right searching for a store with a hat…any kind of hat at this point would do!
First stopping at a grocery store to cool off to find some healthy food, (the store had a salad bar!), I asked a couple of ladies loading groceries into their car if they knew of anywhere in town I could buy a replacement hat. One of the sweet ladies reached into the backseat of her car, brandished two unique cowgirl style hats and asked in her quaintly surprising southern accent, “Honey, I’m a flea market vendor! Which one of these would you like?” Oh my! I was taken aback by this bit of trail magic! I told her I would be happy with whichever she thought would be more difficult for her to sell, and she handed over the A.T.’s most unique hat. Baby blue, identifiable from a mile away, I wore it proudly. The hat with a story. Awesomesauce.