Day 103 Appalachian Trail, West Virginia/Maryland Miles Hiked to Date: 1033 Hiked yesterday: 17 Trail Miles, Miles to Katahdin: 1150
First, to Pat "Peanut" B. of Chainwheel Drive in Clearwater, thank you for your generous donation. It was very well timed. (See Chipmunk's email). Thank you also for keeping all of us in your thoughts and prayers.
Second, thanks to everyone who sends us messages of support. IT DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
Third, to Rosie (Not Evil Vengeful Rosie the GPS but nice British Rosie) ... Chipmunk and I enjoy your emails and we'd love to hear what you're doing. Chipmunk reads them out loud in her British accent impersonation. Did I mention she's a BBC nut??
We were up and out of the hotel room early. It was raining as we loaded our personal stuff back into the camper, and I hoped that Chipmunk would not be discouraged by the weather (hiking in the rain, especially over rocks, is extra tiring and slows progress). Most hikers love rain on ZERO days because that means there’s a better chance of good weather on hiking days.
I headed back to where Chipmunk needed to rejoin the trail in Harpers Ferry and parked the truck. When I opened the camper door to pull snacks for the day, I noticed a foul smell. I opened a few of the closed windows and vents and then pulled her snacks. I ducked into the (closet) bathroom, unable to “hold it” any longer after the big cup of free hotel “liquid breakfast” coffee. I quickly discovered that the toilet pedal had inadvertently gotten “caught” in the down position, filling the bowl AND THE HOLDING TANK with most all of our fresh water supply! UGH!
When Chipmunk saw it, she apologized and said she forgot to turn off the water pump after she used the bathroom just before we left Harpers Ferry after her arrival there. Although I had just dumped the tank recently and figured I had about a week before I needed to do that very unpleasant chore, I chose to let it go (the issue ... not what I was holding in) and told her “no problem”. I didn’t want her to feel hassled before resuming the trail. I really hoped that she was returning to the trail refreshed and boosted.
After purchasing a family membership to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (and a few other A.T. goodies), I left there with a smile on my face and a tear in my eye. I am so very proud of my daughter. If she ends this hike early, she will still have surpassed what most anyone thought would be possible. If she makes it to Katahdin, I will forever be in awe of her strength and courage.
OK … time to focus on reality again. I drove to the Harpers Ferry KOA (isn’t that one of Ellie’s Favorite Campgrounds??) and got permission to dump my tank for $5. I tried to sing a song to take my mind off the task at hand … but, really?? I just ended up making “choking” noises as I performed the crappy task. WHEN IS PAPA CHIP COMING BACK???
As the pasta cooked in the pot and the veggies sizzled in the frying pan, I heard a familiar voice. It was Tune! He, too, had hiked 17 miles, having left from Harpers Ferry later in the morning. Since he was planning to camp there for the evening, I asked if he’d like a plate of pasta primavera, explaining that there was more than Chipmunk and I could possibly eat. He smiled and joined us in the po’ white trash truck camper for Parmesan infused Angel hair and sautéed veggies. Chipmunk, he and I told funny stories and laughed and talked. Before we knew it, it was 10 pm and Chipmunk kicked Tune out so she could get a good night’s sleep. He set up his tent on a grassy patch nearby, and about 10 minutes later, it started raining. I told him to knock at the door if he needed anything but we didn’t see him again until morning.
I closed the vent over my bed, which typically helps the airflow in the camper, and was immediately thankful that our friends, Mike and Ellie, hooked us up with a really nice 12 volt fan in the camper. Thanks again, Mike and El! You rock!
PS - Only a small section of the A.T. passes thru West Virginia. During her 17 mile hike, Chipmunk crossed into Maryland! Woo Hoo! Next state: Pennsylvania!
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)