Day 175 on the Appalachian Trail Miles Hiked to Date: 1885 Hiked yesterday: 8 Trail Miles, Miles left to hike: 298
First, to Dawn D, Welcome aboard! In response to your question about Chipmunk and school, she has been home schooled for quite a few years and had to double up on her curriculum before the hike and will have to do the same after the hike. In the meantime, we believe the trail is providing her a unique education that can't be duplicated in book form. As for your plantar fasciitis, I, too, have had a round or two of that and it is a long recovery process. I started stretching my feet out (via a towel wrapped around the ball of my foot and pulling toward me) prior to getting up each morning. In a few months, it subsided. I like your attitude and would like to share your quote with our readers: "Just recently, though I decided to make the most of whatever ability I DO have right now, and we took a little walk in the woods. I LOVED being out under the trees again!"
Second, Barbara ... thank you for supporting Chipmunk's desire to alleviate the stigma of mental health issues, especially amongst teens. We really appreciate the times you tweet and re-tweet on behalf of Chipmunk and us. We truly consider you a part of Chipmunk's success!
Third, to Linnell B., Angie H. and the others who have sent me some great websites for recipes and meal plans, thank you! I'm compiling the research and am looking forward to what may well be my toughest challenge yet. Keep 'em coming!
Although we bought her the best gear we could afford, her sleeping bag and tent surely is not as comfortable as her bunk and layered blanketing in the camper. As you can see from the pic at the left, it was 45 degrees around 4 AM.
If you look closely in the upper left hand corner, you'll also see "OFF NETWORK" displayed on my phone screen. I recently received an email from AT&T letting me know that I've wandered too long outside of their standard network. Although I have an unlimited data plan on my phone (the only one in the family), they've decided to restrict my data usage because I've attempted to access data in an area they have fewer towers in. So, even though I have reception bars on and off during the day, they now block me from using data and they randomly block phone calls from coming through. Luckily, Papa Chip hasn't been restricted yet so we were able to get a phone call from our deer friend, Sheena of Canada, who'd been trying to reach us for days via my phone. Ohhhhh, AT&T ... you make me very sad and very mad. I'm beyond questioning my loyalty now.
The picture at the left is from The Mount Washington Observatory’s Facebook account, which also posted: "Last night, we received our first snowflakes of the season, amounting to just under 1″! In addition, rime ice has been accruing all through the night, and continues to do so at a rate of 2-3″ per hour this morning!" According to the locals, the Mount Washington Auto Road was also closed due to 80 mph winds and the icy conditions. Brrrrrrrr!!
We finished our online work at McDonald's and when we saw on the SPOT page that she was closing in on the trailhead, we drove up Route 2 to meet her. We parked and chatted while we waited. Chocolate Chip got impatient and we all got out to walk around while we waited on Chipmunk and her fellow hikers. We didn't have to wait long; I suppose Chipmunk sensed her mom's return.
Chipmunk and her cohorts walked out of the woods around 1pm and announced that they NEEDED to go to Pizza Hut. Knowing Chipmunk's addiction to pizza, I'm sure she asked them to work together with her on this. We threw all their packs into the camper and soon we were on our way to the local Pizza Hut.
After we all plugged in electronic devices, surfed the internet and enjoyed their $10 any size/any kind pizza ... we drove Uke and Siren to the local hostel and then we headed to something we haven't done in a very, very long time ... a hotel room. The last time we had a hotel room was early July in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Wow! That seems almost like a lifetime ago.
We checked into the Royalty Inn and the manager kindly gave us a discount which brought out bill just under $100 ... and Chocolate Chip was a registered guest, too! We had a really nice room with 2 queen beds, a nice shower and a flat screen TV. As soon as we got into the room, Chipmunk
In addition to Chipmunk's treats, there were doggie treats for Chocolate Chip direct from Laura's dog, Bonnie. Thanks, Bonnie!! Two paws up! We confess that Laura gave us a heads up that there was a Dunkin Donuts gift card in the box ... we untaped the box, got it out (YES! COFFEE IS THAT IMPORTANT!) and re-taped the box closed. Laura ... thanks for remember ALL of us! You are amazing!
Again, it's so great to feel cared about out here! Thank you Spicy Jesus and Mayor!
We fell asleep before she did. There was a "Top Gear" marathon on TV and that's her favorite show, at least the BBC version is. When we said our "I love you's" and "good nights", she was still reading fan fiction online, drinking Dr. Pepper and watching TV while Chocolate Chip cuddled with her. It was so very nice to have her back with us in a safe and warm place.
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)