I awoke on Saturday to a rare day to myself. Rhonda was working, there were no garden chores and I had no family, fishing or cycling plans. It was a gorgeous day so I decided to head down to Morgan Monroe State Forest for a day hike.
After an hour’s drive, I ended up on the Low Gap Trail. I was taking it at a leisurely pace, stopping periodically to sketch, smell the crisp air and soak in the warm, dappled sun—it was wonderful out. After a few hours, maybe 6 miles into the 10 mile loop, I crested a pretty steep hill and came into a clearing.
I had hoped to see some wildlife but instead stumbled into the following scene: a grown man wearing a Marlboro tank top (this detail’s important), squatting and taking a shit right in the middle of the path, like, on the beaten trail itself. We locked eyes and I started laughing because what are you supposed to do? I laughed even harder when he let fly an angry, “Fuck!” and waddled into some tall brush.
I wanted to get on with my hike but decided to wait a few minutes to see how this would shake out. I wasn’t expecting anything bad to happen, but I didn’t want to walk up on him again until he was more composed. Anyway, I eventually walked past where he had holed up and he was completely gone. He wasn’t in the clearing, and he wasn’t in the brush or woods. I figured he must’ve headed North through the forest to the trailhead. In his hurry, he accidentally forgot to clean up his pile. Of human shit. That he dumped on the trail. Awesome.
So I cut a wide berth around that and finished the remaining 4 miles of the loop without incident. On my drive out, I actually ended up passing him on the forest road, only now he was shirtless. And while I can’t prove this, I have a hunch that somewhere in the Morgan Monroe back country lies a tattered, shit-covered Marlboro tank top.