Day 80 Appalachian Trail, VA Miles Hiked to Date: 779 Hiked yesterday: 15 Trail Miles Miles to Katahdin: 1404
We decided to head into the neighboring town of Buchanan on our way back to the trail. Mama Goose wanted coffee and Chipmunk wanted pancakes. We stopped at the Fountain Grill which had a charming old sign and store front.
We asked the fellow behind the counter if we could plug in phone chargers and he said, "No problem" and showed us where there were outlets. Once the phones were situated and coffee was in hand, we checked out the menu. Chipmunk was disappointed that pancakes weren't listed on the menu. I asked the gentleman taking our order if there was any chance pancakes were available. He told us they were and that if there's anything we didn't see listed, just ask; he'd be glad to whip up something just for us. Chipmunk jumped on the opportunity and asked if he could make Chocolate Chip pancakes and he said, "Sure." She smiled and said, "I'll have three". He said, "How about just one?" She looked confused and then he explained that he makes really big pancakes. In fact, it's a family tradition. When his grandmother was getting older, her doctor told her to cut back on certain things, including the pancakes she loved and ate a bunch of. So, she cut back from 3 to only 1 pancake a day ... ONE VERY BIG PANCAKE! I could see that Chipmunk doubted him but he said, "I'll gladly make you more if you finish the one."
I opted to try one of their specialties, Creamed Corn Beef on Wheat Toast (or biscuits, if you so choose) with a side of breakfast potatoes. Mama Goose ordered one pancake and a side of the Creamed Corn Beef. While we waited, we walked around the store and checked out the old fashioned restaurant wares that were on display. When our food was served, we were all amazed by the giant pancakes that measured about an inch thick, too! Needless to say, neither Chipmunk nor Mama Goose ordered a second! I enjoyed my creamed corned beef and the hot coffee. When we all finished, we thanked him and headed out into the now steadily falling rain.
While admiring the Ural, the rain picked up steam and I found myself quickly getting drenched. I retreated to the cab of the truck until the hikers were ready and then I drove them to the trailhead, which again was tough to find. I dropped them and skipped taking pics since I thought my camera might drown. I re-confirmed our meet up spot for the end of the day and drove off as they entered the woods one at a time.
I drove on towards the town close to where I'd meet Chipmunk at the end of the day. I came across two hikers who looked frustrated and lost. I put my window down and asked if I could be of any help. They said that they couldn't find the trailhead; that they'd been wandering up and down the road but just couldn't find it. I asked if they'd like me to drive them to it since it was less than a half mile away and they were happy for the offer. They climbed in, I looped around and dropped them at the very well hidden and unmarked trailhead. During the ride, I mentioned that I had a "kid" on the trail by the name of Chipmunk and they said they'd say hi if their paths crossed.
As usual, I headed into town to post the blog. At the library, I saw Rambles and Cinderella who told me where the hiker "shelter" was. I headed there afterwards and let them know I was heading to the trailhead 6 miles away if anyone needed a lift back to the trail. Cinderella said that she wasn't returning to the trail until tomorrow but would ride with me and wait for Chipmunk if I'd like. What a nice offer and I took her up on it.
Soon Chipmunk emerged with a smile on her face, saying she had made a friend today. Since there was no one with her, I asked where her friend was. She reached into the pouch of her hoodie and pulled out a full grown box turtle. She found him along the last stretch of the trail and liked the markings on his shell; reminded her of a bear claw so she called him "Bear". The turtle seemed perfectly content in her hands but withdrew to safety when Chocolate Chip decided to check him out. Although Chipmunk liked her new friend, she set him down in the grass at the trailhead after she posed for a pic in front of the Georgia/Maine miles sign.
It was a fun little evening activity that Chipmunk later thanked me for taking her to. When we returned to town, we both stripped off our shoes and headed to the shelter where a good group of hikers had already built a campfire. Cinderella bought marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate and we introduced the Austrian hikers to "S'mores". It was a hit! I told them it was one of the few things still "made in America".
We returned to the camper around 9PM and watched a Redbox movie on the laptop called "Pitch Perfect", a fun comedy about "a cappella" singing competitions. I drifted in and out of sleep until it ended around 11 PM. Chipmunk was awake until the end and laughed quite a few times. Then we said good night and fell asleep.
If you enjoy reading the story of Chipmunk's hike, 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 and Papa Chip and I tweet (@ridethenation) 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. If you’d like to send some “Trail Magic” to Chipmunk, click on the “Donate” button at the upper right of today’s blog post.
Thanks again for all your support,
Mama Chip, Papa Chip, Chipmunk and her dog, Chocolate Chip
(Tammy, Jay, Neva and Coco)