Day 89 Appalachian Trail, VA Miles Hiked to Date: 870 Hiked yesterday: 14 Trail Miles, Miles to Katahdin: 1314
First, welcome to our new readers who may have found our website after reading the news article published in the Sarasota, FL Herald-Tribune, http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20130629/ARCHIVES/306291010/-1/TODAYSPAPER?p=3&tc=pg
Here's a brief overview of Chipmunk's hike adventure: Chipmunk left Springer Mountain, GA (the Southern start of the Appalachian Trail) on April 1, 2013. She has hiked over a third of the trail and is in very good condition physically, especially compared to her fellow hikers. Although she is a "solo" hiker (meaning she hikes without her parents or a constant adult companion), she is seldom completely alone on the trail. She spends most nights in a truck camper with me, her mom; I meet her at trailheads, mountain gaps, road crossings, etc. She carries a SPOT GPS Satellite tracking device both for her safety and my peace of mind. We are often asked if she carries a gun or knife; she does carry a camping multi-tool (w/knife) and like most hikers, has pepper spray ... but no gun. Although this hike is a big adventure, Chipmunk has lots of experience for her young age (see "RIDE THE NATION BLOG" tab at the top of this page). My husband, daughter and I researched and prepared for this hike which was Chipmunk's idea; we are on board to help her reach her goal safely and wisely. And for the record, if she decides to end her hike now or before reaching Katahdin, she will have our love, support and respect for every mile she has hiked so far. I hope you find inspiration in her story.
Second, Thank you to Steve G. and Ed C. who both sent wonderful messages to Chipmunk after reading the Herald Tribune news article. She reads all the messages that are sent to her and likes words of encouragement.
Third, to Amey H. in Vermont ... got your facebook message and Chipmunk is looking forward to seeing you out on the trail when she gets to your neck of the woods!
Yesterday morning, we returned to where Chipmunk left the trail the day before and she hiked away from the Blue Ridge Parkway and towards Shenandoah National Park. She and I have patiently been counting down to her Skyline Drive area hike for many reasons. Hikers who are ahead have messaged us to say that the hiking improves and that the views are terrific. Plus, Shenandoah is the last leg of the Virginia section of the Appalachian Trail. Many hikers feel like they are just never going to get past Virginia. Chipmunk entered Virginia mid-May and will have hiked over 500 miles (a quarter of the entire Appalachian Trail) in the state before she exits en route to Harpers Ferry, WV.
Cool! I did not know about "Talus" before this journey! I've also been fascinated by the number of trees I see growing out of what appears to be solid rock. It makes me think about the times in my life when I felt like "Talus" and somehow pushed through to make a tree sprout from
Before long, it was time to re-connect with Chipmunk at our pre-designated spot along Skyline Drive. I drove the truck there and parked in the shade. Since Chipmunk would have to take an access path from the A.T. to the parking area, Chocolate Chip and I decided to hike down the access path and see how far she had to come to meet us. It was only about 1/10 of a mile but Chocolate Chip enjoyed the tall grass she walked through along the way. I came to the junction of the path and the Appalachian Trail and saw the concrete markers that denote which direction key spots are via metal bands that are engraved with trailhead names, mileages, etc.
When Chipmunk came in around 6:30 pm, she said she loves the concrete markers. She said they feel "old" and "established"; she fantasizes that it's "way back in the 60's and she's on a family hiking vacation"; she said she pretended she'd emerge from the woods and climb into a 1960's station wagon, painted mint green and white ... her first choice for a car when she starts driving. She made me chuckle as I listened to her tell this.
I asked about her hiking day, as I usually do and she gave me a few details before reminding me that I, too, will have to wait for her book to be written to get all the details. She never ceases to amaze and tickle me.
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)