Day 114 on the Appalachian Trail Miles Hiked to Date: 1176 Hiked yesterday: 18 Trail Miles, Miles to Katahdin: 1008
After a fun day at the amusement park and a pretty good night's sleep, Chipmunk awoke and looked like she dreaded the day's hike ahead of her. She's already hiked a section of the area and knows that the bugs are relentless. To give you an idea, she said that at any given time she can clap her hands together and capture 5-6. She puts her bug net on once they start swarming. Until then, she wears either her blue or green cooling scarf. By the way, Mayor: Chipmunk loves the cooling scarves! What a great idea! She is the envy of many a hiker on a hot day once she explains that it lowers the temp on the surface of her head by about 30%.
I heard a noise outside and peeked to see Sly Fox. I climbed out the back and she said, "Oh my gosh! You're what I heard coming in last night." She had camped not far from the roadway and the roar of the PWTTC diesel engine startled her. Apparently, we weren't very quiet; our overhead cabinets have spring loaded hinges and if you don't hold the door the entire time, it snaps down making a loud slapping noise.
I apologized for scaring her and then offered her a cold drink to start her day. She gladly accepted and we chatted about which hikers we've seen and talked to. We were both glad to hear that Invictus was back on the trail after going home to Ohio for about 2 weeks' round of antibiotics. She's a good solid hiker and an excellent blogger. Welcome back, Invictus!
Wow! 25-30 mile days, and a bunch of them in a row. I'm impressed. They both signed the camper and then agreed to do a favor for me. Since Talker is a good distance ahead of us, also laying down 20+ miles a day, I asked them to take the new bite valve for his Camelbak that I picked up for him the same day I replaced some of Chipmunk's water bladder parts. I showed them a pic of him on my phone and they gladly agreed to look for him and pass it on to him.
When they turned to leave, Sly Fox and I watched as they practically bounced away. I had mentioned Chipmunk was on the trail ahead of them and they both said they were looking forward to meeting her. It's a shame that their hiking speed far exceeds Chipmunk's; it would be nice for her to have someone her own age to chat with, even if only for a short time.
While I waited for her to arrive at our meet up spot, K2 and a few other hikers stopped at the camper. They were surprised to have caught up to Chipmunk and I explained that she took two 0's close together. They, too, enjoyed cold drinks and signed the camper.
Once they left, Chocolate Chip and I settled in the cab for some reading and were surprised to hear Chipmunk's voice a good hour before I expected her. We stepped out to greet her as she dropped her pack by the truck. She took off her boots and opened a Dr. Pepper and told us that she had seen a few snakes and rabbits today, but no bears.
I thought she was done hiking for the day and as I started to put her pack in the truck, she said, "I think I'll hike 2 more miles to the second meet up spot so that I get an 18 mile day in." I was glad to hear it and reminded her that it would be getting dark soon. She grabbed her boots, pulled them on, kissed us both goodbye and said, "See you soon. Love you."
I drove about 8 miles of roadway to get to the trailhead that was only 2 miles' walk in the woods. I parked and figured I'd see her in about an hour. A van full of hikers, waving and beeping at me, passed while I waited. I suppose a trial angel gave the K2 group of hikers a ride into the neighboring town. I no sooner looked back down at my book than she emerged from the woods, only 45 minutes from the time she left me at the last road crossing.
Chocolate Chip and I both smiled and greeted her with kisses. She put her pack in the back, climbed in and we drove to our camp spot for the night. Almost immediately after dinner, she fell asleep. It wasn't even 9:00. I got all of about 30 minutes of time to talk with her before she passed out after her 18 mile hike day. I looked at Chocolate Chip, who was as awake as I was, picked up my book, laid in my bunk and snuggled with my "all day" buddy.
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 corner of today’s blog post. 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)