Day 187 on the Appalachian Trail Miles Hiked to Date: 2010 Hiked yesterday: 13 Trail Miles, Miles left to hike: 173
First to Tune's Mom, Sue M., Thanks for the update! Can't wait for the pic ... will post it here as soon as I get it! Send my very best to your awesome son!
Second, to Linda, thanks for your vote of confidence in us, especially Chipmunk! and thanks for joining us on this crazy adventure.
Third, to Ryan R. (Symba 2000 NOBO), You're right! The 100 Mile Wilderness "imp" loves glasses! She/he now has yours, Chipmunk's and a few others'. Plus, according to other hikers, there are quite a few pairs hung on trees that hikers have found and displayed in hopes of them finding their way back to their wearers.
In the morning, we honored Chipmunk's request to sleep in until 6:30 AM. (FYI, even my bladder waited!) When our alarms all went off with their own personal tunes, I crawled out of my bunk and pulled on a pair of pants and my flip flops. I grabbed my glasses and my sweater and then turned to Papa Chip. He said, "I'm coming." While the water heated on the stove top, we both walked to the privy, letting Chipmunk snooze a bit longer. (Since we don't know when we'll be near a campground with a dump station, we try to use privies and public restrooms whenever possible. Trust me, we'd prefer to use our camper bathroom but we don't want to reach ... how do they say it? ... "critical mass".)
When we returned, she was near dressed and ready to get moving. She ate her "goat"meal and took her vitamin. As she pulled her boots on, I heard some movement outside and opened the door to find Odie standing there. I asked if he'd like a cup of coffee and he said, "Yes." I handed him my coffee, which I hadn't drank from yet. He only had a few sips when Neema appeared and commandeered the cup 'o joe. I offered to make another pot but they both said that wasn't necessary.
Papa Chip drove the Chip Mobile back to the trail crossing and Chipmunk pulled on Big Red, grabbed her hiking poles and I snapped a quick pic along the road in what feels like the "middle 'o nowhere." I confirmed that she packed the "puffy jacket", (a compressible down jacket that we picked up from a clearance rack in Greenville just days before), and that she had a dry outfit, socks in a baggie, spare contact lenses, etc.
They were both gone about 10 minutes when a man with a baby in his arms appeared next to the cab door. I put the window down and asked, "What's up?" He said his name was Chris and that he and his wife and 9 month old son were in need of a ride out of the 100 Mile Wilderness. He explained that it was rougher hiking than they expected and that his son wet through most of his clothes and also "christened" his sleeping bag. The little boy was so cute and the dad was very kind. I told him I was sure we could help him out once Papa Chip returned.
We talked for about 20 minutes when Papa Chip came running up the trail. He quickly explained that Chipmunk's foot slid off one of the rocks in the river and that one of her boots got fully submerged. He asked me to pull another pair of boots and a fresh pair of socks. While I did that, Papa Chip changed into a pair of shorts and his sandals. He took the dry boots and socks and headed back down the trail. He returned a short time later, saying that Chipmunk was embarrassed that she had another fording incident but she was glad to have dry boots. She was waiting on the far shore when he arrived and he forded the river to bring her the dry boots. She was grateful for them.
We said good bye to Chief Hike a Trail and Mamacita, who also walked out of the trail. Papa Chip put Chipmunk's wet boots in the camper and then asked Chris where he'd like to go. He said that his family car was in Monson and he'd really appreciate a ride to there. Papa Chip said, "No problem." Chris left his son with his wife at their tent just inside the trailhead and then climbed into the front of the cab with us. As we rode back out of the 100 Mile Wilderness, we all shared adventure stories and had good laughs about each other's misadventures.
We stopped to drop our paperwork at the toll gate house and then continued to the Monson trailhead where Chris's car was parked. He thanked Papa Chip and me for the ride and insisted on giving us $20 for fuel. We refused but he said, "Please, buy Chipmunk some Dr. Pepper and Doritos." So, into the "trail magic kitty" went the twenty dollar bill. We made sure his car started and then we all said good bye.
We decided to park and take a walk around town. We stumbled upon the local thrift store that was also a Baptist Mission. We walked into the old building that was jam packed with clothes, trinkets, kitchen items and books. The smell from inside was intense and it had the feel of a hoarder's home. We ran into Tumbleweed, who told us that she was camping for free behind the mission and so she came into help the owner do some organizing. We chatted for a while, looked around but soon needed to get out of there. The smell was a little too intense for me.
Papa Chip asked the waitress what the story was with the kayaks stacked outside. She said that registered guests could use them for free; non-registered guests could use them for a donation that would go to local charities. He turned to me, raised an eyebrow, and I said, "Yep. Let's do it."
We put a 2 person kayak in the water and I climbed in shakily for my first kayak ride. I got my feet a bit wet but I was wearing flip flops and capris so it was no big deal. Papa Chip pushed us off the bank and climbed in, rocking the kayak side to side but not tipping it.
Eventually, we made a good circle (or trapezoid) around the inlet and then just drifted for a bit, taking in the views. It was quite relaxing and we decided that maybe we'd take a kayaking lesson at our local outfitter in our home state, Bill Jackson's Adventure Store, when we return home. We've talked about getting a canoe or kayak for atop our RV so that we can take advantage of the beautiful lakes and rivers we see along life's paths. We returned the kayak and gave our donation inside the Lake Shore House. It helped to pass the time while we waited to see when Chipmunk arrived at her intended shelter for the evening.
When we got inside the Lake Shore House, my phone dinged that there were emails. I was shocked to see 2 messages from Chipmunk giving her location and times earlier in the day. Apparently, she had a cell signal atop a few of the mountains she was climbing and took the opportunity to contact us. I emailed her back but didn't hear from her again that evening. Around 6 PM, both Papa Chip's and my phone dinged simultaneously. We received Chipmunk's "I'm OK/arrival" message, indicating that she had arrived at her camp spot for the night. We went online and could see that she made it 13 miles to the shelter where she intended to stay. We both let out a sigh of relief. With that, we retreated to the camper for a little reading before we called it a night.
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)