Day 62 Bland, VA Miles Hiked to Date: 586.9 Hiked Yesterday: 15 Miles to Katahdin: 1597.3
I headed into town, found the library and posted the blog. Luckily, the library was only 2.5 miles from our meet up point ... Unluckily, it's such a small town that there was no grocery store or Laundromat. So ... pasta again and smelly laundry until Pearisburg, VA!
Once I headed up to the meet up point, I saw where the trail came into Route 52. I parked in a lot nearby and set about cleaning the fridge ... stinky laundry I can tolerate ... a smelly fridge I can't! Since our fridge is not a standard RV propane fridge, just an electric "dorm" fridge, it doesn't stay cold constantly. We don't keep much in it; mostly chocolate chips, a few Gatorades, cheese and butter. When we do pull into a campground and plug in, it gets cold and stays pretty cold for a good couple days. When it starts to cool down, condensation drips down and puddles and then it starts to smell. Ewwwww.
Once the hikers were settled in, I headed back up the mountain and found Dutch and Uke waiting at the trailhead. Dutch was also going to the motel and I told him if he could wait for a bit, Chipmunk might arrive and I'd only have to do one trip into town. So, we all settled on the grass in front of the vacant Seniors' Center there at the trailhead and talked. After about an hour, I suggested that I'd run Dutch into town since his girlfriend was meeting him soon and he'd probably want to do some good personal grooming. Before we left, Uke gave me $4 and asked if I'd pick up some Cheetos and a Coke for him. No problem, there was a Kangaroo Convenience store across from the motel.
During the ride into town, Dutch and I talked about cigarettes. I told him how my husband had struggled to quit for most of our married years. When Chipmunk was only 2, he quit and hadn't smoked for over 6 months when I got a serious diagnosis when I visited the gynecologist to see about having another child. After a few tests, I was quickly scheduled for a hysterectomy. Although, Papa Chip and I were disappointed that we wouldn't be able to have any more children, we knew that the operation might well save or prolong my life. During the surgery, they biopsied several tissue samples and reported that it had not spread further and that my prognosis was excellent. While he waited for those results, he was overwhelmed with stress and fell back into his old habit. Although I was disappointed, I understood. (Luckily, Papa Chip tried to quit again about a year and a half ago and has been tremendously successful.) Dutch told me that his mom had the exact same diagnosis and surgery just a few weeks ago and that she was doing well. We drove into town and stopped at the Kangaroo for the Cheetos and Coke. Dutch bought cigarettes. He told me that he smokes about a pack a week and that he wanted to quit some day. I've never heard a smoker say that it was helpful or comforting when a non-smoker told them they should quit, so I didn't. Earlier, I did mention how much better my husband feels, especially during outside adventures, without cigarettes. I dropped him at the motel and he thanked me; then I drove back up the mountain and waited.
She didn't see any bears or snakes today; she had seen a rattlesnake a few days ago. I asked if she took a picture ... would look cool on my blog. She said, "No. Only an idiot stops to take a picture of a deadly animal." Good Point!
We ate dinner and settled into a parking spot in the Kangaroo Truckstop parking area. It was pretty quiet and we both slept well. I awoke around 6:15 and started the morning routine even though my heel is still pretty sore, especially in the mornings. I woke her around 6:30 and discussed the hiking plan for the day. She was obviously fatigued and we decided to make it a shorter hiking day in hopes that she won't risk injury by overdoing it when she's already fatigued.
Shortly after returning to my truck, I found that I got a few messages from her buddy, Spicy Jesus. He was asking where she was on the trail and wanted to see if he and Mayor could join us for a night of camping together soon. He asked if she had hiked through the Burke's Garden area, the area known as "God's Thumbprint" (see yesterday's blog). I told her she had and that it was rough. He said a lot of hikers say it wasn't like God's Thumbprint ... more like his middle finger! I'm sure she'd agree, Spicy Jesus! She was very fatigued after that hiking day.
By the way, it's June 1st and I realized that Chipmunk's birthday is only a few weeks away. She'll be 15! Holy Cow, where did the years go?? I'm planning to pick up a couple grocery store birthday cakes for her to share with her fellow hikers ... a little birthday trail magic. If anyone has any suggestions on what else you think Chipmunk might like to do, send me a comment on this website (or to my email: email@example.com) and I'll appreciate hearing your suggestions.
FYI, we are trying to build support and maybe even get some
sponsors to help in the expenses of Chipmunk’s quest to become the youngest solo
thru hiker to complete the Appalachian Trail. We could use your
help. 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 left of today’s blog post. Feel free to forward our website
link (or email updates) to your family, friends, co-workers, etc,
(www.ridethenation.org). Chipmunk maintains a twitter account: @openlymtngoat where
a common hashtag is #GoChipmunk and she can receive personal
messages directly to her email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
She or we (email@example.com) will try to answer
any questions you may have about her hike and this family
Thanks again for all your support,
Mama Chip, Papa Chip, Chipmunk and her dog, Chocolate Chip
(Tammy, Jay, Neva and Coco)