Day 94 Appalachian Trail, VA Miles Hiked to Date: 940 Hiked yesterday: 15 Trail Miles, Miles to Katahdin: 1243
First, Kara ... you are a scream! too funny! Thanks for supporting us and I hope your 4th of July Chicken was good!
Second, to Papa Chip, we all miss you and think you should pedal East instead! He's in Colorado now and we hope he and the cycling crew is leading are all staying safe, especially through the wildfire areas.
Chipmunk awoke to rain ... and it didn't let up much throughout her hiking day. I asked if she wanted her rain gear but she said she didn't. With the warmer weather, she feels like it makes her hotter and sweat more. She'd rather just get cooled down via the rain. I don't know if I'd have the fortitude to go out and hike in a pouring rain, all day. I waited at the trailhead for almost an hour, half-hoping she'd return.
I put my clean laundry back in the camper, washed and dried the dishes and then entered the GPS coordinates from my A.T. Guide for my midday meet up with Chipmunk. Her hiking time through the Blue Ridge Parkway area and the Skyline Drive area has made it possible for me to meet up with her midday and assess her condition. She hasn't complained much about her heel lately and recently said she thinks it's o.k..
I drove towards the meet up spot and soon discovered that Evil Vengeful Rosie (not to be mistaken with British Funny Cool Rosie!) was up to her usual shenanigans! She told me to turn left ... where there was no road, just a cliffside. When I didn't turn left, she got caught in one of her "When possible, make a u-turn" loops where she blasts that phrase repeatedly, without pause, until I either turn around or unplug her. I unplugged her and drove to the first turnout to check my A.T. Guide sheets.
I re-entered the GPS coordinates, figuring I might have transposed one or more of the 14 digits ... but I hadn't. Hmm, Chipmunk and I didn't pick a "backup" midday meeting spot, figuring that we'd both find it, especially since I had coordinates. I decided to drive to the next spot on the map, Thornton Gap. I pulled into the parking area and was delighted to see "Gma", a wonderful 72 year old woman who is thru hiking the A.T. I had seen one of her former hiking partners, Tune, the day before and wanted to update her. I parked the truck and walked over to her in the rain. I told her I'd seen Tune the day before near Skyland Stables and that he planned to hike 24 hours to get to Harpers Ferry in time to meet up with his family. She told me that she had stayed the night at Skyland Resort, near the stables, and just seems to keep missing him by an hour or so. Hearing that he was pushing for a 24 hour hike, she said, "Oh, I just feel like I'll never catch up to him."
I asked if she'd seen Chipmunk and she said she did. She pointed to the trailhead and as I entertained the thought of trying to hike south to intercept her before she headed to the original meet up spot ... Chipmunk emerged from the trailhead. I was stunned. As she walked toward us, she apologized, saying that she just couldn't find the path to the first meet up spot. I laughed and said, "Neither could I." So, in the end, it all worked out.
We retreated from the rain and I made tuna fish sandwiches for us in the camper. I asked her about the trail and which hikers she saw. She said, "You want to hear something funny? I saw Tune and he said that he decided not to hike 24 hours. Instead, he hiked 1/2 mile to Skyland Resort and spent the night." I jumped out of the camper to tell Gma but she'd already left. They must have just missed each other on the trail!
After lunch, Chipmunk put fresh dry socks on and pulled on a dry pair of her Vasque hiking boots. I'm so glad that Vasque and Darby Communications gave her the two pairs of Breeze 2.0 hiking boots. Being able to change into dry socks and boots midday on the relentlessly rainy days has kept her feet in very good condition. When she first pulled off her wet socks, the bottom of feet looked like prunes! I rubbed them and sprinkled some foot powder on them before she put on her dry socks. She left her wet socks on the dashboard of the truck and I attempted to dry them out via the defroster ... the smell of hiker feet wafting through the cab ... Ewwww!
I entered the coordinates for the end of day meet up location and proceeded to drive there. I had a cell signal, which is rare. I updated my facebook page, put some pics on Instagram and read a bunch of Twitter messages. I also placed a few phone calls to both my mom and my daughter before I was interrupted by a text message from Chipmunk. She said she was at the meet up spot but didn't see my truck. Hmm. I called her and said that I was at the meet up spot and didn't see her. She said she was in a parking lot (not an Overlook) right next to Skyline Drive. I said, "Stay put, keep on the phone, I'm going to drive onto Skyline and see if I could find you." As soon as I started the truck, she said, "I hear the truck", so I knew she was close.
I turned left and drove until our call was dropped. I didn't see her so I turned around at the first turnout and drove back past where I had waited. Soon, I saw her waving her pole in the air from an obscure entrance to a parking area. I pulled in and we were both relieved to have found each other. Twice in one day, we both had trouble finding each other and twice it worked out. Phwew. She put her pack in the truck, pulled off her boots and wet socks and put on her Crocs. We drove towards Luray as I told her that I got a phone call from Karen at Shenandoah National Park's Headquarters. I told Chipmunk that the Superintendent of the park wanted to meet her along the trail the next day. She raised her eyebrows and then smiled real big and said, "Cool."
As we headed towards town, Chipmunk spotted a billboard for Brookside Cabins and Restaurant. She said, "That sounds like a nice place to eat." I took the exit and we arrived at a quaint family run restaurant, only about 5 miles from the park entrance. We walked in and it smelled very good. Chipmunk asked to see the menu and pointed to "Chicken Parmigian" on it, saying "Let's stay." Before we were seated, I got an idea in my mind and asked to speak with the manager. I was directed to Cece and I explained that my daughter was hiking the A.T. and that we were camping in a truck camper along the way. She smiled and said she gets to know a lot of hikers and what could she do for us. I asked if we could park overnight in her lot after dinner; that it looked like a safe and quiet place for a good night's sleep. She was quite nice and readily agreed. (When in or near Luray, VA I highly recommend you check out www.brooksidecabins.com)
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)