I have a bone to pick with North Carolina. First of all, the trail needs some serious maintenance. I can’t even keep it counted on two hands how many huge downed trees there were and how overgrown all of the plants are. Now, alone, that wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that the shelters were so disgusting. Either Georgia had me spoiled, or my standards are too high. But, when there is no broom to sweep out the dust and the dust is inches thick where you are supposed to rest your head for a night, that is a problem. don’t even get me started on the privy’s. Half of them openly face the trail and none of them are maintained. Probably the worst thing, that I must mention, with a serious note, is the road crossings. One in particular. Now, in the towns the people have been wonderful, don’t get me wrong. North Carolina is filled with good people that are kind to thru-hikers. As a matter of fact, I saw some amazing trail magic in this state (thank you to Grits and Possum in particular for that!) BUT one incident occurred which made me, as well as others very angry. A thru-hiker was approaching a road crossing in North Carolina, specifically, And a truck drove in to the crossing area. As it was dark, this hiker had his headlamp on. He shut it off when the truck rolled in. The truck then shut off its headlights and waited. Some of the hikers friends were just a mile ahead. After waiting a long time the hiker went to cross and as soon as he was closer to the road the trucks headlights turn on, blinding the hiker. Two men stepped out of the truck. You know when someone yells “hey, hiker!” that they probably aren’t going to offer any kind of trail magic. They offered the hiker whiskey, to which he declined. They then asked if he was alone or in a group. He replied he was in a group and that there were more behind him too. He tried to walk forward and cross the main road to get back on the trail. They followed asking him if he had any money. Luckily, a car drove by giving the hiker enough time to run away on up the trail. This behavior is not okay. It is amazing to me that this is taking place. Number one, hikers are broke. We don’t have money, so quit trying to mug us, or charge us jacked up prices for food (which we have to eat a ton of, considering our job is to wake up and walk more miles in a day than the average person walks in a week). Number two, If you are waiting for a hiker and harassing them, you’re a scumbag. Plain and simple. Those are the kind of people that make our loved ones scared for our survival. Ironically, most people worry we are going to get eaten by bears or someone deep in the woods is going to murder us and wear our skin, or some incarnation of that. The reality is when we hit civilization we are more likely to get robbed, attacked or harassed. The woods is by far, the safest place I have ever been and it angers me that crazies try and ruin that by waiting at road crossings for us. Not cool. Not cool at all.