I woke up to the company of colorfully clad individuals, some still wrapped in their down filled synthetic sheets.
Etna is, I think, the first town on the trail to offer their city park for hikers to camp in, and I recalled all the towns on the AT that offered similar such hospitality to their seasonal sojourners.
I strolled through town, and met a kind old man who took it upon himself to beautify a small plot of land adjacent to Main Street.
It was a narrow strip of soil, sandwiched between concrete blocks, that gently nudged my awareness to the beauty and wonderment of the here and now.
I sipped my morning coffee at the cafe and chatted with some locals and backpackers, and then headed back to the trail with about 10 others.
We packed into a truck driven by a local news reporter who surprised us with cold beers upon our safe arrival at the trailhead.
Refreshed and rejuvenated, we hiked on at about noon and soon entered The Marble Mountain Wilderness.
The skies were favorable and the views reminiscent of my favorite sections on this journey.