Day 130 on the Appalachian Trail Miles Hiked to Date: 1369 Hiked yesterday: 0 Trail Miles, Miles left to hike: 814
First, to Carol whose 13 year old son, Seth, was inspired to hike 14 miles of the AT over 2 days in Shenandoah National Park ... Chipmunk smiled broadly when I told her and said, "AWESOME!!" I know what you mean when you say he was hard on himself about facing down all that the trail hands to the hikers. Chipmunk often says, "I'm sorry ... I just can't take any more of it today." I tell her that she need not apologize to me; over time, I realize that the apology is half to herself as well.
Second, to Jennifer: Welcome!... I love all the Ukesters who have started following Chipmunk's story as well. I only wish Uke and Chipmunk were closer on the trail and I hold out hope that they will end up in the same "hiking bubble" before the trail ends. Thanks for caring about us and all the hikers that are out here.
Third, to Barbara ... thanks for capturing that Karma moment and sending me the video footage. I truly believe we are all somehow connected and that some days the universe shows it to us in an eye opening way.
Chipmunk and I awoke to heavy rain pelting the camper roof (and a few spots inside, too). After hearing about the terrain Chipmunk had been hiking over in the last few days, I decided it was better to take a zero than to risk an injury that would take her off the trail for a week or more. While I waited for her to return from the trail in the 2 previous days, one by one hikers came in telling me how they slipped and fell over the school bus sized rocks. Chipmunk had a fall, too, but got lucky and landed on her pack. She told me how she realized early into scaling the large rocks that when they have 45 degree or steeper angles downward, it was best to sit back on her heels and slide down rather than risk tumbling forward.
As we sat around the table eating and talking, Theresa asked if we'd like to see the church that her friends were converting to their home. I loved the idea and told her how Papa Chip and I had almost bought a church in Vermont years ago in hopes of converting to our home, too. Unfortunately, we couldn't find a lender willing to think "outside the box"; they all wanted comps on similar project properties in a 50 mile radius and there just weren't any. In the end, we shelved the idea and moved ahead buying a campground in South Jersey that had closed. We found a lender willing to see that the 3600 s.f. recreation hall would make an excellent combination home/business property for us. Kudos to little ole Elmer Bank.
We thanked them again and then Theresa, Eliza, James, Chipmunk and I headed back out in the rain to drive back to Theresa's place. Along the way, Theresa shared local historical sites in her neighborhood and also showed me a hill, where cyclists test their fortitude. If you can make it to the top without stopping, your training has paid off! Hmm... I might have to see if Papa Chip's bike tour really challenged him with a trip back to that hill.
Back at Theresa's, Chipmunk announced that she'd like to go see a movie on her Zero day. I found a theater nearby and we left Theresa's family to the business of life and ran out to post the blog and catch a movie. The movies are such a great way to get Chipmunk off her feet and entertained while her body recovers. We enjoyed the first movie and were about to head out and meet up with Theresa's family for roller skating when I received a text letting me know that Eliza was taking a much needed nap. I can relate ... when my kids were small, if they gave into a nap, I always let them sleep and took the time to catch a little rest myself. Those days seem so long ago.
Chipmunk and I decided to go for a movie marathon. We decided to see the latest movie in the Percy Jackson series. Chipmunk liked it but it felt quite a bit like the one we saw a year ago or so. I was sleepy from having stayed up so late the night before and the dark theater proved to be the right atmosphere for me to snooze. Luckily, I didn't snore. Chipmunk nudged me awake towards the end and I apologized to her. She said, "No problem. Should we watch another movie?" I checked the time and said, "No. I'm movie'd out for today and it'll be past bedtime if we see another one." Instead, we had a bite to eat and drove back close to the trailhead for the next day's start. Theresa had offered her driveway again but I declined. She had opened her home to us and been very kind but I remember the days of having young children, juggling a business and all the other stuff of life. I just didn't want to intrude or disrupt their family routines for 2 days in a row. Thanks, Theresa, Peter, Eliza and James for a wonderful time! It felt so good to hang out with all of you!
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)