First, thank you to James Jones for your generous donation. We appreciate your support and I'm sure Chipmunk will appreciate the Chipmunk Bucks you sent her way!
Second, to Jennifer in Brooksville ... of course, I remember you! I enjoyed many a good laugh with you while your daughter (Princess Pain) and my daughter (Neva Knievel) worked their butts off at Roller Derby Practice. FYI, if both our daughters end up at the rink together & resume derby, you and I should resume walking together at the park. I'm planning to get healthier and I'm bringing a bunch of people along for the adventure.
Third, to Katie & Crowd Control, Tracy, Mary S. & your 13 yro daughter, Haley M. and your students, Mari and Assist. Ed. Janice ... thanks for all your support and we're glad to have all of you along for this adventure. (Mari, send me a request)
Papa Chip and I awoke early and dressed quietly by the dim light of the stove hood. We climbed out the back door of the camper and drove the short distance to the local gas station/convenience store. When we arrived, Chipmunk knocked on the pass thru window, letting us know she was awake. We all walked into the store together and took turns making coffee and using the restroom. Papa Chip then went out and filled the diesel tank on the truck.
We had a bit of a drive to get to where Chipmunk had left off on the trail when she leapfrogged ahead. She wants to do the entire trail Northbound so we'll be doing a little extra driving to help her do just that. In other words, we'll drive south ... she'll hike north ... then when she finishes, we'll drive south again.
Chipmunk decided to ride in the cab with us saying she was tired but just couldn't sleep. So, we all rode together and as we got more and more awake, we began poking fun at one another, as per usual. We got into such a laughing fit that Papa Chip nearly shot coffee out his nose! Of course, that brought on a whole 'nother round of belly laughs. By the time we got to the trailhead, Chipmunk was in a good mood and looking forward to hiking.
While we were parked at the trailhead, a couple arrived, via a local campground shuttle, and recognized the Chip Mobile. They waited to meet Chipmunk and wish her well. We also met their shuttle driver, who owns a local campground, and she gave us her card. She offered to let us dump our tanks and re-fill out water supply for only $10; many places in the North charge $20. We took her card and said that we'd stop there at the day's end.
Since Chipmunk had a 10 mile day planned, we weren't terribly concerned that she didn't get as early a start as usual. She pulled on her pack, picked up her poles and hugged and kissed us goodbye. She walked a little slower than usual to the trailhead and noted that she still felt a bit tired after the Katahdin summit day. Both Papa Chip and I knew EXACTLY what she was talking about.
We snapped a quick pic, confirmed meet up spots and off she went into the woods. Papa Chip and I walked very slowly back to the truck. We climbed in and Chocolate Chip jumped down to the spot between the two of us. We set Evil Vengeful Rosie the GPS to a local restaurant and drove there. We were pleased to find out that the Little Red Hen restaurant had WIFI AND good food! We set the computer up on the table and I typed while our food cooked. It was a really cozy place in a friendly little town and we felt very at home there. The restaurant owner was the cook and the waitress was super efficient, tending to 8-12 tables and keeping everyone's coffee topped off.
We had just finished breakfast and the place had cleared out a bit when both Papa Chip's phone and my phone beeped and whistled ... at the same exact time. By now, we know what that means. It's a SPOT message, sent directly from Chipmunk. We both grabbed our phones and in that short amount of time that it takes to swipe the screen on mine, I held my breath, hoping that it was not an "I'm Hurt" message.
Thankfully, it was not. It was a "Meet me at the next road crossing" message. We looked at the SPOT tracking page and we could see that she was very close to what was termed a "woods road" in the AT Guide but that did not have a road name. Not knowing exactly what the issue was, but knowing it wasn't an emergency, Papa Chip decided to drive to the GPS coordinates that her SPOT sent us. I decided to stay at the restaurant and serve as "base" until the issue was resolved.
Well, the "woods road" turned out to be a rather rocky dirt road that was unnamed because it was a logging road. Papa Chip said that the Chip Mobile made it in but that it was tricky and slow moving. Once he got to where Chipmunk was, she emerged from the treeline, teary eyed. As soon as she reached Papa Chip she started apologizing, saying, "I'm sorry. I just don't feel good." He asked what she'd like to do and she said that she didn't want to hike any more that day.
Papa Chip took her pack from her and loaded it and her poles into the camper. He gave her a hug and said, "It's O.K. You're the boss." They got into the truck and drove a short distance before Chipmunk realized that she had left her SPOT device on a rock where she was waiting. They turned around and drove back. Chipmunk jumped out of the truck and walked back to retrieve the device While Papa Chip turned the Chip Mobile around. When she got back in the truck, he told her to send an "I'm OK" message out so that Mama Chip would know that they were together. She did and upon receiving it, I was one relieved Mama Chip.
They both returned to the restaurant and Chipmunk said she was hungry. She ordered pancakes and said they were really good. As we sat and talked, I realized that maybe she just didn't get enough rest after the Katahdin summit day. We talked and decided that instead of just dumping tanks at the campground, we'd check in, get showers and just rest.
I showered first, telling Chipmunk that she could take as long a shower as she wanted after me. Once I dressed, Chipmunk took her shower and "ooohhed" and "aaahhhed" at the awesome shower, while I blow dried my hair. After her shower, I offered to blow dry her hair, which has gotten very long. My legs were quite tired so I brought a hardy plastic chair in from the lawn and let her sit on my knees while I dried the back of her hair. She snapped a few pics and this is the only one in which we didn't both have some bizarre look on our faces.
Papa Chip dumped the tanks while we blow dried and then he, too, also took a shower AND shaved ... YEAH! I put the plastic chair back on the lawn afterwards. We all returned to the camper and spent the remainder of the afternoon and evening reading and resting. It was quiet there and we all needed the "down" time. We ate a simple dinner and before going to bed, we watched another episode of "3rd Rock from the Sun" on DVD. Around 8 PM, we turned off the camper lights, said "I love you" and "good night" to one another and set out sights on another day to resume the hike.
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)