Day 173 on the Appalachian Trail Miles Hiked to Date: 1871 Hiked yesterday: 7 Trail Miles, Miles left to hike: 313
First, to David V., thanks for your generous donation! Yes, it does seem like the universe is conspiring to connect you to Chipmunk! You met her in Connecticut ... Wow! That seems so very long ago. Thanks for being a part of her success!
Second, I'd like to share a link to a brief video of Chipmunk hiking. Our friend, Uke, took this video while she hiked a rocky section of Wildcat in the White Mountains. Click on this link and it should take you to the video: http://youtu.be/RARiTgYYZQE (if the link doesn't work, copy and paste this address into your browser.)
Third, Hi to Suzy, Tennessee's Mom ... so glad to hear you've been following along on our adventure. Please, please send us an update on Tennessee and send him our best. We haven't seen him since Chipmunk painted his toenails! Also, please send me a summit pic when he gets to Katahdin so I can share it with our readers. Yes, the terrain is rough and the weather is pretty cold right now. We are hoping the forecast holds true and we have a little "Indian Summer" up here.
And if you are doing something dangerous or unusual ... you can count on it that there's another hiker there to capture it electronically! Ahh ... the modern hiker! Whenever we see hikers at McDonald's or the local library, they all (and we) are either plugged in or looking for a plug to recharge devices.
Once she was on the trail, we walked towards the Visitors Center. We noticed that Uke was standing near Whisper's vehicle in the parking lot so we joined them. Uke told us how he set up his tent near us overnight but then a security guard woke him at midnight and told him he couldn't tent camp there. He packed everything up and moved into the hiker lounge in the basement of the Visitor Center. It is a lounge built specifically for hikers and is open 24 hours. He told us that once he got his sleeping pad and bag situated, he quickly fell back asleep. Around 3 AM he was roused by the same security guard telling him he couldn't sleep there either. Uke was pretty sick of being woken up and just wanted to get a little rest before hitting the trail. Once he told the security guard that he'd been hiking since early April, all the way from Georgia, the security guard apologized and told him he could stay in the hiker lounge. Poor Uke! Nonetheless, he was packed up and hitting the trail around 8 AM.
After breakfast, we wandered back to the yard sale and I saw something I missed the first time around: a 12 volt electric blanket! It was new in its original package and only $5.00. I thought it might come in handy to quickly warm up Chipmunk if she comes in from a cold day of hiking. I also bought an 8 track tape of the Beatles Abbey Road album ... and I'm not sure why. I guess it's because my first real car was a '74 Dodge Dart that had an 8 track player ... and some day I hope to get it back. It was, by far, the best car I ever owned! I bought it used for $600, put over 50,000 miles on it, only replaced the alternator and then sold it for $600. It was reliable, had a cool factor and was the start of my love of Mopars. Ahh, well ... a girl can dream, right?
She made quite the convincing plea to go with us ... so we brought her along for the short 1.6 mile walk thru the woods to a hiker shelter. We brought her leash along but let her run along with us off her leash. She instinctively followed the trail and waited up when we called to her. When we had to cross a few streams via rocks, she waited to see the best way to go and then proceeded.
Jim told us that he currently lives in the Albuquerque, NM area and that during his 70th year, he's section hiking 3 major trails near to where family and friends live so he can combine visits at the same time. We shared Chipmunk's story and he said he hopes to meet her; that he admires what she's doing. For the record, Jim, we truly admire what you're doing, too!
We sat and chatted with Jim, discussing all kinds of places we've all been and plan to go. It was a terrific way to take a rest before we turned around to hike the 1.6 miles back to the Chip Mobile.
When I said, "Chocolate Chip! What are you doing??" She bolted from the pit, ran a circle around the shelter at top speed and then landed back in the ash pit for more rolling around.
We wished Jim well and called Chocolate Chip to resume the trail with us. We walked back along the beautiful trees, noting that the leaves on some have turned the crisp shades of autumn reds and golds.
When we reached the second stream crossing, I was caught completely off guard when I slipped on one of the round rocks and found myself flat on my back, with one leg squarely in the stream. It hurt for a few minutes but I got up pretty quickly. I hadn't broken anything so we walked on to the truck. All in all, we'd hiked a total of 3.2 miles and we both felt refreshed. Chocolate Chip seemed really happy to have hiked. Who knows? She may end up being a hiking dog, yet!
Does the look on Chipmunk's face say it all?? She's not very fond of doing dishes. For the record, I agreed to do all the dishes in the camper during the hike. Maybe that's why she's taking her time on this hike! Uke appears to have gotten a kick out of watching her do her least favorite task.
I shared the pics with Uke's mom, letting her know that our hiker kids had made it safely up and over one of the tougher climbs of the Whites safely. According to Chipmunk, they had soup, challah bread, turkey, and some veggies. It was a rare treat that they also got to sleep in the bunks usually reserved for the paying guests.
Papa Chip and I went to sleep comforted by the thought that she was out of the elements, in an enclosed building, for the night. Also, she'd get to hike out in the morning with two very good thru hikers: Siren and Uke.
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)