She returned to AT mile marker 238.1 and plans to hike 15 miles today. If the weather worsens or
she gets injured or ill, she’ll stop at AT mm 247.7, Groundhog Creek Shelter. It rained non-stop on
Sunday so we made it a“digital day”: Chipmunk caught up on fan fiction and blogs, Papa Chip downloaded apps to my new phone and I updated our old Ride the Nation Bicycling adventure website.
We checked back into the campground we left 2 days ago because it was pretty close to Chipmunk’s trail re-start point and because we needed to deal with all the wet bedding, due to the new roof leaks. After tossing sheets and blankets into the onsite dryers, I stood looking at the situation and decided I needed a plan. It was obvious that the mattress on Papa Chip’s and my bunk would not fit into the dryer. (Kudos to me for not trying to fit it into the dryer, eh??) It was only wet on one side, my side. The leak beneath the rooftop a/c was in the center of the camper, meaning that Chipmunk’s twin size bunk (dining table drops to make her sleep space) was dry. Hmm … when Papa Chip and I were young we actually shared a twin size bed for a short time. I wonder if we
could switch our sleep spaces: let Chipmunk sleep on the dry side of our full size bunk and we’ll take over her
twin size bunk.
It sounded so good in my head. I could even picture Papa Chip and me spooning; there was even room to spare.
If either of us needed the bathroom in the night, it was an easy roll out of bed instead of a climb down and then a jump to the camper floor. Hmm, I think I’m gonna like this. We might even make this permanent! Like most things in life, my mental perception is so much different than reality. After showering and switching pillows, blankets, etc., Chipmunk climbed up to the top big bunk and Chocolate Chip (Coco) quickly followed.
Papa Chip and I got on the lower bunk and immediately we noticed that the twin size bunk isn’t really a twin size.
It’s a bit shorter. And maybe we're a bit wider than we once were. That’s ok, I thought. We’ll just pull our legs up, bend our knees and cuddle. Then Papa Chip said, “my back side is hanging off the bunk”. Hmm. So we flipped the other way. Now my back was against the wall and my face was buried in his neck rolls. (NOTE to self: help him shave some of that hair on the back of his neck.) So, we were good, right? Well, yes, for a short time.
Then my left hip fell asleep and it felt like pins and needles. I told him I had to flip or stretch or something. As I did, I pulled a muscle in my calf. I pressed my foot hard against the wall at the foot of the bed and it worked itself out. Then Papa Chip said, “I can’t sleep with you cuddling me; I always cuddle you. Let’s flip.” Now, I was facing the window and the campground security light outside was drilling holes through my eyelids. I buried my face down towards the pillow and either I fell asleep or asphyxiated myself until I passed out. But, at least I wasn’t awake.
Not until around 4 A.M., when I awoke with an incredible urge to go to the bathroom. Of course, Papa Chip’s leg was resting on my bladder! I tried to gently nudge it off but he just wrapped his arm tighter around me and now I had the “Oh my God! I’m not going to make it there in time” feeling. I said, “Babe, Babe, I gotta go” and he awoke groggily, tried to roll over and nearly fell off the bunk. I started to giggle and as every 40 something year old woman who has had a few kids knows, DON’T GIGGLE WHEN YOU GOTTA GO! I made it to the closet sized camper bathroom in time … Halleluiah! When I returned to bed, I was wide awake. Papa Chip was back asleep in minutes and now his nose was making some kind of Kazoo noise with every exhalation. Chipmunk was grinding her teeth in her sleep, a noise I’ve learned to tolerate. But then, Chocolate Chip joined the band and sounded like a tractor trailer Jake Brake on a distant interstate. I tried to go back to sleep but ended up reading news stories on my phone. Ugh.
I was glad to hear our phone alarms go off at 7am so I could finally put the night behind us. Chipmunk said, “Wow, I slept so good. I love this bunk. Can I keep it?” Papa Chip and I simultaneously said, “No!” We got coffee brewing, I made Chipmunk her standard hiking breakfast of “goat”meal (maple and brown sugar instant oatmeal with chocolate chips) and I put fresh water and dog food out for Chocolate Chip. Both Papa Chip and I moved about slowly, trying to stretch out our newfound body aches. While Papa Chip disconnected our water and electric connections, Chipmunk got dressed. I asked her if it would be hard to get back on the trail after 2 days off. She said, “it’s always hard to get back on the trail. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Sometimes I have to trick myself into getting started. Once I’m out there, I do really enjoy all the beautiful views and the quietness.”
Speaking of views, we’ve started a page of Chipmunk’s pics on the www.ridethenation.org website; click on the “Chipmunk’s Pics” tab. We also uploaded one of her videos to her youtube.com page; her username is OpenlyMountainGoat if you want to check it out. We’ll be adding more soon.
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, forward it to friends. If they want to receive updates via email, send their address to me and I’ll add them to the list. You can also forward a link to our website, www.ridethenation.org and let them know we try to update it daily. Chipmunk also maintains a twitter account: @openlymtngoat and she can receive personal messages directly to her email: email@example.com. She or we (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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)
was once our rooftop a/c unit.
Yes, it’s a mess; but look at the cool “bike rack” he customized for the ladder on the back of our camper!