Day 126 on the Appalachian Trail Miles Hiked to Date: 1330 Hiked yesterday: 14 Trail Miles, Miles left to hike: 853
First, thanks to Mike & Gloria for your generous donation. I adore your daughter, Joe Cool, and think she is one of the toughest and most competent hikers on the trail. She is currently hiking with Snacks and like most every other hiker, she occasionally says, "I can't do this any more. This is just too hard." Then Snacks laughs and says, "I've been hearing that from her for over 1,000 miles. I tell her she can say that all she wants until we get to Katahdin." She smiles, tightens up her boots, pulls on her pack, adjusts her skirt and head scarf (oh yes, she's also one of the most fashionable hikers!) and gets hiking.
Second, thanks to Doinit (Tom), Twinkle Toes (Wendy) and Bird Wing (Mona) for all the great pics from the trail that you shared with me!
Third, thanks to Barbara and Theresa ... more soon about the mathematical equation needed to figure out the possibility of all that transpired between these two terrific women and me.
After a hug and kiss goodbye, she walked into the woods and I drove off and searched out wifi. While I was posting the morning blog, I got a message from Doinit, inquiring where she was? I had just received an update from Chipmunk and filled him in. I told him I was sorry that she was moving a little slower than usual. I think this hiker cold she and I have had for the last 3-4 weeks, just wears us both out some days. Luckily, Chipmunk and Doinit met up shortly after that and she was introduced to Doug, another member of Hike for Mental Health. Note that we've added a link to Hike for Mental Health's website along the right border of this page. Chipmunk and I like what this organization does and how they do it. We've also registered Chipmunk's hike with HFMH and details about her hike should be available soon on their webpage. We sincerely hope that Chipmunk's hike helps keep the conversation about hiking for mental health going and helps alleviate the stigma of mental illness, especially amongst teens.
I enjoy hearing the hikers' stories as they come out of the woods and they are all so grateful for the simple pleasure of a cold drink. One evening, Chipmunk said to me, "Hiking the Appalachian Trail is like doing the hardest job, getting an occasional coffee break that doesn't last long enough ... and feeling like you'll never get to sleep in your own bed again." Chipmunk, this may be the hardest job you'll ever do ... and by the end, you will have grown in ways most teenagers (and adults) can not fathom.
I enjoyed a cold beer, a hot sandwich and good conversation with Doinit, Doug and Chipmunk. They cracked inside jokes about the day's hiking and I realized that they had shared an experience that could only be fully understood by having joined them for the day. I was happy that Chipmunk had hiking partners that treated her as their equal. I know I'm her mom ... but there are times that I forget that; times when I realize she is better company than some adults I meet.
I know that we are all products of our cumulative experiences. These last two days of Chipmunk's hiking with the wonderful people from Hike for Mental Health, will surely go a long way in shaping who Chipmunk will be as an adult, too.
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)