Day 169 on the Appalachian Trail Miles Hiked to Date: 1838 Hiked yesterday: 8 Trail Miles, Miles left to hike: 345
First .... WOW! I love you guys!! I do not feel at all alone in what may become my new quest once Chipmunk completes hers. What a terrific response I've gotten to my proposal of taking on my lifelong challenge to get my weight issues in check. I'm 49 years old and I've been over 200 lbs. for at least 16 years now. I'm looking forward to taking all of you along on this new journey. For the record, I plan to start this journey once Chipmunk is "done playing in the woods" and I've returned to our home in Florida. I've got some research and planning to do and I will be cataloging all the advice and wisdom you send to me.
I invite all of you who want to join in, to do so. I'm not sure what shape this project will take but I promise, I will be honest and supportive of everyone's effort. I'll be thinking about a structure for this and I welcome your ideas on it. I've been thinking about what my personal goals will be. I assure you that I won't be pursuing fad diets or stupid, unsafe forms of exercise.
Second ... Aunt Carol, I'm going to discard the "freeze the fat off" technique since Aunt Janice has been a living experiment in Norway and proclaims there is no success in that route.
Third, Teresa and Kara, thank you for some good common sense wisdom while I'm still in the planning stages.
Fourth, to Ann, Yes, I know firsthand the struggles of motivation and exercise when you are depressed. But, your message actually might hold the key to some of the motivation for this quest. Papa Chip and I really want to walk the Camino trail in Spain. I've found that having something to look forward to has been helpful in pulling me through bouts of depression. Getting ready for the Camino may well be the catalyst for getting this new project off the ground. If you'd like a quick comprehensive read about the trail and a movie that was made about it, check out: http://www.theway-themovie.com/camino.php If anyone has done the Camino, please share your experiences with me.
After coffee, we drove LostNFound, Smiley, their dog, Gypsey and Uke up to the trailhead. They had a beautiful day for hiking and paused for a moment for this shot before they crossed the street and resumed the trail. Just before they left, Papa Chip asked Uke if he'd like Chipmunk's last set of temporary poles now that she got her new LEKI poles. He checked 'em out and deemed them in better condition than his poles which recently took a beating on the trail. He thanked us and gave me a big hug before he left.
We were about midway between the two major towns that border the White Mountains: Lincoln and Gorham. Since we'd seen everything there was to see in Lincoln, Papa Chip and I decided to head towards Gorham, which also had a Passport America discounted campground. On certain days, the fee for a full hook up site is only $15 ... Yeah! That fits well into ye olde budget!
We drove into town and stopped at the store to pick up some of Chipmunk's favorite microwaveable food (Yes, we have a small microwave in the camper that we can only use when plugged in at a campground). While we rode in the truck, we asked Chipmunk about her stay at Zeeland Falls Hut. She said when she arrived, she requested to do the "work for stay" and was told that she wasn't old enough. When she asked if she'd have to pay to stay, they told her she definitely would have to pay $92 but that they needed to be sure they had room for her. They told her to wait and they'd let her know.
Although Chipmunk is pretty confident for her age, she said she was a bit intimidated by the adult at the hut who said she was too young for the work for stay. She knew that we had called ahead to AMC and confirmed that there was no age limit on the work for stay program. She didn't expect to be turned away from the opportunity nor did she expect to be instructed to wait for a paid bunk. She said she glanced at her watch several times over the next 45 minutes before she approached the gentleman again and asked if he'd please make a decision since if she couldn't stay, she'd have to try to make it to the next camp spot on the trail which was a 5 mile hike. He told her they had a bunk for her and she was relieved.
She said that she joined the other hikers at the picnic table style benches and tables when they were called for dinner. She was seated 3rd in from the end and she listened as the staff member took the dinner orders from each hiker. She heard the "waiter" tell them that there was a creamy potato and mushroom soup and listened as the first hiker said, "I'll have a full bowl" and the 2nd hiker said, "I'll have a half bowl". When it was her turn, she said, "I'll have a small amount, please." The next hiker said, "I'll skip on the soup." Chipmunk said her head snapped to the side and thought to herself, "WHAT?? You can say NO?" (FYI, Chipmunk does not like mushrooms!) I asked if she ate the soup and she said, "Yes. I thought I should." I told her she thought right.
She told us that after dinner, she read for a while and then took her bunk. She was glad there was a blanket and pillow; she slept well. In the morning, she said they served porridge, "you know, like the stuff they serve in fairy tales." She said it was like oatmeal but lumpier. She said she got packed up and was out of there by 8:15 am. We told her she did well and that we'd get in touch with the AMC Huts folks again to see about the work for stay situation.
We checked into the campground and watched an episode of Sherlock on DVD, looking for the clever tidbits we may have missed in the first viewing. Around 6 pm, I gathered all the dirty laundry and Papa Chip lugged the bag from the camper to the shower/laundry house. I started the wash and then headed to the shower. It was a coin operated and the vending machine was quite old. I stripped down, put my soap and shampoo in the stall and placed my first quarter in the machine. I pushed the lever down and adjusted the faucets ... to no avail. It was straight up COLD! Ugh! I pressed the lever down several times while I heard the machine ticking off time.
I gave up and pulled my clothes and shoes back on and walked quickly to the front desk. Luckily, there was no line and I explained the situation quickly to the attendant. She followed me into the shower house and I kid you not ... she did the exact same slap of the lever that I did. BAM! Hot water! I thanked her, closed the door and stripped down again. I climbed into the narrow shower stall and I instantly felt better as the warm water flowed over me. As much as I just wanted to stand there and let my worries wash down the drain, I knew that not only did I have a "timed" shower, but that I also wanted to finish my laundry by a decent hour so that Chipmunk could get a good night's sleep.
I finished my shower and dressed in my pajama pants, shirt and my fleece pullover. It was getting dark out and the air was cool on my wet hair when I stepped out. I went into the laundry area and saw that the wash was nearly done. While I waited on the cycle to finish up, Papa Chip came in. He said he was heading back to the camper to tell Chipmunk to head to the shower house.
By 8 PM, all of our showers were done, laundry was done and we were all walking back to the camper by the dim light of the moon. We laughed and talked for a while before going to sleep for the night. Chipmunk debated taking a ZERO for the next day but decided that today's NERO was good enough; she felt refreshed and ready to tackle the biggest mountain in New Hampshire; in all of New England. Before we fell asleep, we told her we loved her and she murmured the same back to us.
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)