Day 109 Appalachian Trail, Pennsylvania Miles Hiked to Date: 1109 Hiked yesterday: 14 Trail Miles, Miles to Katahdin: 1075
First, Thanks to Aunt Carol who drove over 2 hours to visit us and brought some of Chipmunk's favorite drinks PLUS additional sodas to help her fellow hikers cool down in this awful heat. Chocolate Chip also scored some Aunt Carol Trail Magic and got some of her favorite "hooves" to chew!
Second, Thanks to Dee who drove over an hour to visit us on the same day ... both she and Aunt Carol "representing" our old hometown of Pittsgrove!! Thanks, Dee O., for the Trail Magic Gift Card! We both enjoyed hanging out with you and Aunt Carol and telling trail stories.
Third, Thanks to Jane K. and Marylyn K. who drove and met Chipmunk and me this morning for a lovely breakfast. Chipmunk and I loved the card and the Chipmunk bucks will go to good use! (Note: Pics soon of our fun get togethers with family and friends)
On a side note: I met Jane and her husband, Roger, on a cruise about 5 years ago; the same cruise where I met my girlfriend, Sheena and her husband, Phil. On another cruise, I met my girlfriend, Lynn, her husband, Rick and their daughter, Eleni, whom we stayed with when we were in Front Royal, VA. Jen, Britney and Drake who joined us on the 1/2 gallon challenge day are friends from our big family bicycle trip. So ... some people collect souvenirs on vacation; I tend to collect friends when I travel. I can't even count how many friends I've made during this hike adventure. Thanks to all of you for being with me and my family during luxury vacations AND when we are "po white trash truck camping"!!
After my shower, I came out to the truck to find Gilgamesh looking for me. He said that Chipmunk had accidentally grabbed one of the wrong boots (she switches between 2 pairs) and that one of her boots didn't feel right; it was missing an insole. I told Gilgamesh to jump in the truck and I'd drive him back to the general store where she was waiting. It never ceases to amaze me the lengths they will all go to help one another. It was at least a mile's walk that Gilgamesh volunteered to make from the store to the shower house. Meanwhile, Sly Fox grew concerned that Gilgamesh wouldn't be able to go into the womens' shower to find me (since he's a guy) so she dropped her pack with Uke and also started walking towards the shower house. We intercepted her and I thanked her as well.
Chipmunk said she was sorry that she lost almost an hour in not having realized her boot issue when she was putting them on. I assured her that it was okay but that once she had her boots on, she should try to hike as much as she could before the midday heat. She laced up and kissed me good bye. I told all the hikers where I'd be if they wanted a cold drink midday and then I drove into town to post the blog at the library.
After posting the blog, I drove to the meet up spot and realized that there was absolutely no where to park safely. I pulled off the road a short distance away, put some cold sodas in a bag with ice and left them just inside the trailhead and then texted Chipmunk that I would try to get into a different road crossing.
Luckily, that worked out and within 10 minutes, she arrived there and joined Chocolate Chip and me in the camper under the shade of a big tree. It was a welcome 15-20 degree cooler reprieve from the 98 degree heat outside. I made her a tuna fish sandwich and she ate it while Chocolate Chip licked at the sweat on her arm.
After lunch, she hiked out and told me she'd meet me at a road crossing about 5 miles before the next trail town. She opted to hike alone and a little slower since she wasn't feeling the best in the heat. I hugged and kissed her goodbye and then drove towards the next meet up spot. Even though I knew it would be a while before she arrived there, I wanted to give cold drinks to the other hikers. The weather has been brutal.
Before she and Gilgamesh hiked out, Uke arrived and they all began talking about hiking the "Rock Maze". I was a bit concerned because they said there were 2 and 3 story tall boulders that not only did you have to find your way around ... but also that you had to climb over a few. Sly Fox who is a few inches taller than Chipmunk said she struggled but managed to pull herself up the rockfaces and over the boulders. When i asked if they thought Chipmunk would be able to handle it, they all chimed in, "Oh, yeah. She's a really good hiker."
Chipmunk arrived at the road about 4 hours later and I was relieved to see her. She was drenched in sweat and eager to have a cold Dr. Pepper. I took her pack and put it in the camper while she pulled her boots off in the cab. As we drove into town, I asked about the rock maze and she said what she usually says when i ask about difficult parts of the trail: "It was alright; a little hard but I managed." Hmm. I hope she writes a book so I can get more details some day.
While we ate, my phone buzzed and I checked it to find a message from Chipmunk's hiking friend, Talker. Apparently, he had an injury which kept him in town for a while and he saw the truck camper go by, wanted to see all of us. In short order, he arrived at the restaurant and joined us plus a few other hikers arrived. We all ate, laughed and enjoyed getting out of the heat.
Chipmunk got ready for bed in the camper, Uke set up his tent and Talker decided he'd stay, too so he set up his very cool lightweight bug netting and tarp frame. We shared some cold sodas before everyone said good night.
I miss hugging my older kids, the Editor and Brother Chip (a.k.a. Captain Oblivious), so until we reach Jersey, my hiker sons are worthy fill ins! It really is just one big family out here.
When i got in the camper, I saw that Chipmunk had already fallen asleep and there was her signature sweaty circle around her nose and upper lip. We usually position our 12 volt fan to circulate air throughout the camper. I turned it so that it would blow more air on her because I wanted her to get a good night's sleep. I climbed up in my bunk and thought to myself, "Hmm, I miss Papa Chip but I don't miss having a warm body snuggled next to me in this weather." Before I fell asleep, Chocolate Chip jumped up into my bunk and laid down near the top of my head, in front of the tiny bunk window so she could stay cool. I thought to myself, "Yeah, a warm body next to me in this weather would be rough; a fur hat in this weather is a little rough, too!". Hmm.
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)