Day 56 & Mt. Rogers National Forest, VA Miles Hiked To Date: 522.8
Hiked that day: 15 Miles to Katahdin: 1661.4
First, thanks to all of our readers for your patience while I deal with some of the technical issues of posting this blog. And to our not so patient, but ever supportive readers (Spicy Jesus, Mayor, Hara, Sheena ... and the rest!), here's what you've been waiting for; hope it was worth the wait.
Second, to the hikers' moms and dads who now read the blog, check back regularly. I will continue to post pictures and updates of all the great "kids" on the Appalachian Trail this year. I, too, know the stress and worry of having a kid on the trail so I hope pictures of them will help you see that not only are they healthy, but they are happy. I am so very pleased to meet every one of the wonderful hikers who left the comforts of home to take on this challenge. They are amongst the most inventive and resourceful people I've ever met. They are courteous, kind and generous. Yes, sometimes they are smelly. Whenever I see a hiker who needs a ride into town to re-supply, I'm more than happy to pull the "po' white trash truck camper" over and pick them up. To the moms and dads: you've all done a wonderful job raising them and you have equipped them well to deal with everything they meet during their journey. You should be proud.
I drove on to the Walmart and picked up a few groceries and then started heading back up the mountain. The group in the picture was on the opposite side of the road trying to get a ride into town and was obviously getting passed up. There were too many of them for a single vehicle and they look, well ... um ... "homeless." Of course, I know that they're not homeless. They have their entire homes on their backs. Although it was the opposite direction of which I was heading, I turned the truck around and picked them all up. From left to right, they are a female hiker (whose trail name I've forgotten), Teen Wolf, Bonaire, Duct Tape, Schnitzel, Jolly Rancher and a male hiker (whose name I've forgotten). They were ever so thankful and thrilled to be in the sunshine of the town of Marion, VA for a re-supply.
towards our meet up spot. About halfway through my journey, I came to a bridge that was under construction but there was no work crew there. I looked out the windshield and thought, "Can I clear this? How wide is the truck with the camper on it??" So, with no one behind me, I eased the truck forward slowly, fearing I might get wedged between the concrete barriers and have to wait there 'til the work crews showed back up. Phwew! I made it through without even one scrape! I'm becoming a pro at this!! (Actually, I'm not. I'm often amazed that the truck is still running after I put it through the ringer up on these mountain roads.)
After she rested for a while, we headed to the local laundromat and got our clothes clean (or semi-clean) again and then went to bed early. Chipmunk got up around 7 am and headed out to our next meet up spot: The Mt. Rogers Visitor Center at mm 530.7 on the AT. She would check in with me there and assess if she felt like putting in more than an 8 mile day.
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 adventure.
Thanks again for all your support,
Mama Chip, Papa Chip, Chipmunk and her dog, Chocolate Chip
(Tammy, Jay, Neva and Coco)