Day 188 on the Appalachian Trail Miles Hiked to Date: 2026 Hiked yesterday: 16 Trail Miles, Miles left to hike: 157
First to Pat B., Thank you again for your support of Chipmunk and our entire family! We really appreciate your generous donation, your prayers and your kind words.
Second to Margaret B., thanks for your generous donation and support, too! Yep! Eyeglasses are at the top of the to do list. Please send us a summit pic (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) as soon as you have it and we'll post it here.
Third, to Mari and Janice ... rest assured; we plan to hang onto the truck camper. It has a lot of sentimental value. We've also discussed hauling it out to next year's Trail Days Festival in Damascus, VA. Might be fun to share with the "class of 2014" and to reconnect with our hiker family.
Fourth, to Clay, thanks for your support! We read every blog comment and the messages of support have kept us moving onward.
We awoke at a leisurely 6:30 AM in the little town of Monson. Papa Chip waited in the bunk area while I dressed in the 2 foot wide corridor that separates Chipmunk's bunk from the kitchen area. Once I was dressed, Papa Chip jumped down and pulled his clothes on, too. By then, Chocolate Chip jumped from our bunk to Chipmunk's bunk to the floor and was waiting patiently by the back door.
We all jumped from the back door to the ground and felt the cool morning air. Chocolate Chip was unimpressed and set out to take care of her "business" while Papa Chip and I shivered. We returned Chocolate Chip to the camper and then walked to the local convenience store for coffee and a public restroom. To my delight, the store had pumpkin spice flavored coffee!
We walked back to the camper and set the GPS on our phones and Evil Vengeful Rosie to the day's destination: the meetup spot where the AT crosses a logging road in the 100 mile wilderness. They didn't all agree on the best path to get there so we consulted our Maine Atlas and Gazeteer (a map guide we invested $20 in and desperately need for this part of the AT).
Papa Chip figured out where they differed and what would be the best route. It was at least a 2 hour drive and although our fuel tank was over 3/4ths full, we stopped at the gas station, topped off our tank and out we drove. (FYI, we've been told that there are no gas stations with diesel in the 100 Mile Wilderness). We stopped at a grocery store along the way to pick up some cough drops for me and discovered that bananas were on sale for 19 cents a pound! We picked up several bunches and decided to do a little trail magic, knowing that the hikers seldom carry fruit, especially "squishy" fruit. We also found that they had steaks on BOGO (buy one/get one free) sale. HMMMM ... although we keep a tight budget, it seemed like a well-priced dose of protein for all of us. We also picked up some Romaine lettuce and planned a dinner that Chipmunk would love: Caesar Salad, steak and potatoes (which we already had on board).
We drove on to the Jo Mary Road toll house in the 100 Mile Wilderness and parked. We walked into the office and I was glad to see that the clerk and we were the only ones there. (Asking for a discount and getting it is much more viable when the "discount giver" doesn't have to face other customers demanding the same.)
We answered the standard questions about where we were headed, our purpose, number in our party, etc. When the clerk pulled out the paperwork, I asked how much the toll would be. He said, "For 2 adults from out of state at $12 each, that would be $24." I asked if he had any "half off the 2nd person coupons" and he said he didn't. I explained that we're on a tight budget and that we hadn't heard about the gate fees prior to arriving in Monson. I told him I was embarrassed to admit that it caught us a bit off guard. And then I asked if there were any other discounts available.
He listened and then asked a few more questions about our daughter's hike. I was glad to tell him about it and he smiled a bit here and there as I talked. When I finished, he said, "Which one of you wants to be 70 years old?" Without hesitation, I pointed to Papa Çhip. He laughed and said, "Then, he's free; over 70 enter for free, but I'll need $12 for you to enter." I smiled and handed him the money and thanked him. He winked, gave me a map with the trailhead marked and wished us a good afternoon. Before we pulled away, I brought some bananas into the office and asked if he liked them. He said he did and thanked me; then he said, "Be careful out there." With that, we drove over the gravel and dirt roads, occasionally passing a big truck or SUV.
One of the men asked if we were Chipmunk's parents and we said we were. He told us that some of their co workers had met Chipmunk while hiking in New Hampshire and that they were all hoping to meet her, too. I told them that we expected to see her there late afternoon/early evening. They were disappointed because they were packing up to leave then and it was just about noon. After spending so many days out in the 100 Mile Wilderness doing trail maintenance, they were eager to get going towards home. They told us to wish her well for the rest of her journey and that they admired us for supporting her in her quest. It felt good to hear their support.
Once all of those hikers resumed the trail, Papa Chip and I did a little reading. It was very quiet now that all the L.L. Bean folks and the hikers were gone. Around 4 PM, we heard poles clicking on the dirt road which meant that hikers had arrived. We climbed out of the camper and greeted Kemosabe, Chief (not Chief Hike a Trail), Maps and Wooden Spoon, with bananas.
As we talked, Maps revealed that she's been suffering with a nasty cold and wanted to know if we could give her a ride into Millinocket, the closest town. We explained to her that we hadn't planned on leaving the 100 Mile Wilderness that night and that they charge vehicles each time you re-enter. I offered her some daytime and nighttime cold meds I had on board and some cough drops. She thanked me for them. Papa Chip pointed out that vehicles passed at about one per hour; maybe she could hitch a ride into Millinocket.
Maps tried thumbing it but only one vehicle headed in the right direction stopped. The driver said she'd squeeze her in and get her there if it was an absolute emergency; that driver had a huge freezer filling the back of her car AND was heading away from Millinocket after the check in gate. Maps thought about it, thanked her for stopping and decided to wait for another ride.
Chipmunk told us a few more things about her hiking day, noting that although it's been sunny weather, the path was quite muddy in spots. I figured it might have something to do with the fact that the trail runs right thru logging lands. She also told us that she awoke on the hard shelter floor and realized that when she rolled over in her sleep, her inflated camp pad (which she inserts into her sleeping bag) also rolled over and was then on top of her instead of between her and the hard floor. I imagined her wiggling around like she was wearing a straight jacket until she got the pad back where it belonged. We talked and laughed a bit more before saying "I love you" and "good night" to one another.
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)