Day 88 Appalachian Trail, VA Miles Hiked to Date: 856 Hiked yesterday: 14 Trail Miles, Miles to Katahdin: 1327
First, my apologies to Jen and Pat of Chain Wheel Drive Bicycles, who sent Chipmunk a birthday present; the package just “got found” and bounced forward to me. I’m so sorry that Chipmunk didn’t have it to open on her birthday but she was thrilled to receive a gift on a random day!
Second, Kudos to Papa Chip who has been bicycling in 110+ degree weather through Kansas … and he hasn’t killed even one member of his crew! #NicestGuyEver
Third … YES, I MADE A MISTAKE IN THE LAST BLOG. CHIPMUNK DID NOT HIKE 3000 “MILES” UP BUT RATHER 3000’ UP. However, if she had hiked 3000 miles up, we’d be in Maine by now! I must mention that to her tomorrow morning!
Chipmunk and I awoke to a cool sunny morning and she left the camper in a good mood. She had planned to hike 14 miles to the entrance of Shenandoah National Park and then meet me. She hugged and kissed me good bye and I watched her walk away. I headed into town for the usual blog posting. I picked up a few groceries, filled the truck with diesel and started checking out the town of Waynesboro, VA. I saw a hiker I knew (one half of a father/son hiking team) and he told me that there was free camping at the nearby Constitution Park. He also told me that there were great showers at the YMCA and that the library had lots of computers with no time limit. Holy Smokes! This town is hiker heaven!
I received a few text messages throughout the day with updates from Chipmunk. As the afternoon wore on, storm clouds rolled in and soon there was thunder. I headed up to our meet up spot a little early, wanting to be there when she arrived so she didn’t have to spend any extra time out in the weather. I waited for about an hour when I heard her holler to me. I jumped out and looked in the direction of her voice to see her climbing over the guardrail, which is where the white blazes directed her. She struggled a little as she hurled herself up and over it and then showed me the scrape she got on her way over it.
She put her pack in the camper, climbed in the front seat and blurted out, “I SAW A BEAR!” I put the truck back in PARK and said, “Oh my God! Tell me!” She said, “There’s not much to tell. He was on the hiking path ahead of me, just walking, like he was an A.T. hiker or something. I clicked my poles together and when he saw me, he picked up his pace and scurried up the hill. I kept talking loudly, saying, ‘Mr. Bear, keep going; don’t eat me’ and he left me alone. Within a minute or two he was gone.” Her version of the bear encounter is close to the same as every other hiker’s. It still raises the hair on the back of my neck.
We showered, dressed and headed to the campground. I had planned on cooking pasta for dinner … again … when one of the hikers told us they just came from the Chinese buffet a few blocks away and that the food was very good; they had a sushi bar and dessert bar with ice cream, too; all for $9.99. Niiiiice. So, Chipmunk looked at me with those big eyes and without her asking, I said, “Chinese it is!”
After dinner, we headed to the library for their last hour of wifi before they closed at 9pm. I answered a few emails on my phone while Chipmunk caught up on fan fiction. As we were leaving, she got a phone call from her friend, Lexi, in Oregon and she laughed and talked with her until we got back to the campground. It was dark, we were tired and we both fell into bunks and slept well.
Here’s a quote I found and liked:
Pick the day. Enjoy it - to the hilt. The day as it comes. People as they come... The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present - and I don't want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future.
- Audrey Hepburn
FYI, we are trying to build support and maybe even get some sponsors to help in the expenses of Chipmunk’s quest to become the youngest solo thru hiker to complete the Appalachian Trail. We could use your help. If you enjoy reading the story of our adventure, and you’d like to send some “Trail Magic” to Chipmunk, click on the “Donate” button at the upper right (not left) of today’s blog post. Feel free to forward our website link (or email updates) to your family, friends, co-workers, etc, (www.ridethenation.org). Chipmunk maintains a twitter account: @openlymtngoat where a common hashtag is #GoChipmunk . She (or we) will try to answer any questions you may have about her hike and this family adventure.
Thanks again for all your support,
Mama Chip, Papa Chip, Chipmunk and her dog, Chocolate Chip
(Tammy, Jay, Neva and Coco)