Day 78 Appalachian Trail, VA Miles Hiked to Date: 750 Hiked yesterday: 14 Trail Miles Miles to Katahdin: 1433
First, Thank you, Ellie, for the email. Chipmunk read it and I believe found insight in your words. I've watched the relationship the two of you forged, when she was only 4 years old, develop and I do believe she is lucky to have you as her "partner in crime". She told me to tell you "Hi, Ellie!"
Second, to Laura P.: Yes, I think she is o.k. I do believe that she is going through the same thing many of her fellow hikers are experiencing. As a group, only about 25% of A.T. thru hikers complete the trail so we know the "numbers" are not in her favor. However, she does have an inner strength that often belies her years in this crazy game of bumper cars, called life. Thank you for your concern.
Chipmunk truly enjoyed her birthday celebration and found that quiet resolve within. She pulled on her pack, hugged me good bye and headed back onto the trail.
Chipmunk and her fellow hikers resumed the trail; I closed up the camper, retrieved Chocolate Chip from beneath Lou's chair and set the GPS for the late afternoon meet up spot. I arrived early and took advantage of a shady spot to park and take an afternoon nap. I've had a few sleepless nights and I just needed an hour or so of good solid sleeping to "catch up".
I awoke to the sounds of laughter, pulled myself together and bounded out the back door of the camper. Across the way, I saw a couple young guys talking to the hikers I'd met earlier. Apparently, the two young guys work at a Chesapeake Bay Oyster processor and love to hike and camp. They brought cold beer, cookies and other treats to the thru hikers. It was truly a fantastic day for the hikers! Trail magic twice in one day!!
WARNING: SPICY JESUS (AND THOSE AMONGST YOU WHO DON'T LIKE PICTURES OR TALK OF FEET) SKIP THE NEXT PARAGRAPH!
I couldn't resist when Chukkles offered me Marshmallows ... I LOVE TOASTED MARSHMALLOWS! I found the right stick and carefully pushed 2 on the end. I found a hot spot in the fire that wasn't flaming and turned my marshmallow wand carefully around so that the puffy lumps of sweetness toasted evenly all around. When I pulled my stick from the fire, one of the hikers said, "Wow! That is like perfectly toasted." I nodded and assured him that I had years of experience. (Of course, the stuff I'm good at seldom ever comes with a good paycheck!)
Around 9 pm, the rain started falling more steadily and Chipmunk and I retreated to the camper. Chocolate Chip waited for Chipmunk to get her pajamas on before she arranged the covers in her sleeping spot next to her mom. I climbed into my bunk and fell asleep rather quickly to the sound of raindrops falling steadily on the roof. I hoped it wouldn't turn into one of those driving rain kind of storms that inevitably find their way "inside" the camper. I awoke around 6 AM to clear skies and a dry bed ... nice! Chipmunk changed into her zip off khaki pants for her day's hike and then we discussed our meet up spot, back up plan, etc. before she headed off into the woods.
If you enjoy reading the story of Chipmunk's hike, 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 and Papa Chip and I tweet (@ridethenation) 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. If you’d like to send some “Trail Magic” to Chipmunk, click on the “Donate” button at the upper right of today’s blog post.
Thanks again for all your support,
Mama Chip, Papa Chip, Chipmunk and her dog, Chocolate Chip
(Tammy, Jay, Neva and Coco)