Day 142 on the Appalachian Trail Miles Hiked to Date: 1516 Hiked yesterday: 15 Trail Miles, Miles left to hike: 668
I'm looking forward to receiving his summit pic, too! If you talk to him before we catch up (and it doesn't look like we will), please tell him we wish him all the best (plus a cold soda) and tell him ... Pull on your boots and get hiking! That mountain isn't going to hike itself!
Third, to Rosie S., Tom K., Uke, K Biz, Lynn H. and all my other wonderful fb friends who write funny stuff that makes me laugh before I fall asleep each night... thanks so much! It's the kind of stuff a hiker mom needs at the end of a worrisome day. And especially to my sister from another life, Rosie S. ... you're naughty! and I love it!!
As he finished the project and was disconnecting the filter from the water bottle, the high pressure water inside flushed out and soaked his t-shirt ... a small price to pay for his daughter to have easy to drink, filtered water, right?
We turned the truck in the direction we were heading the day before, unable to get a GPS signal on either Evil Vengeful Rosie the GPS or my phone's Google Maps. We drove for quite some time before both of our phones started whistling and beeping, letting us know we were within signal range. We entered the address for a coffee shop in Great Barrington, MA and drove through the beautiful wooded mountains.
I understood and didn't want to intrude. I finished my blogging, thinking about the non-intrusive moth who sat beside Chipmunk. As I packed my laptop away, he looked at me and nodded a "thank you" and I smiled back. FYI, the picture to the left is a Google Images pic; I did not attempt to take a photo of him. I can however confirm that he is every bit as good looking in person as he is on the screen. I also enjoyed hearing how gently he talked with the young boy by his side, who I think might have been his son.
After she left, Papa Chip spotted this little orange lizard ... possibly a salamander. We deemed him blog worthy! He was a nice colorful addition to our day. We left him where he was; he looked pretty happy just to be amongst the dirt, twigs and rocks.
We drove to the end of day meet up spot, which didn't have official trail parking. There was a vacant warehouse nearby that had a large lot bordered by shady trees. We pulled in and noted that we could see the trailhead from there. I did dishes while Papa Chip caught up on some emails from Adventure Cycling and his friends. Apparently, Adventure Cycling would like him to map out a new route in Florida when we return after the A.T. Unfortunately, they're hoping to have that completed by the end of October.
Papa Chip likes the idea of having a paying gig waiting for our return but I reminded him that we really don't know exactly when Chipmunk will finish. Furthermore, I have some stops I want to make on the way back. We plan to visit with my mom in Jersey, see our old friends, Derrell and his family, Hara and her family, Mike & Ellie K., & Penny S. ... all in South Jersey. Plus we'd love to see our friends in Front Royal, VA & Damascus, VA, too. Not to mention that Chipmunk is dying to meet her friend, Ganina, out in Western PA and I'm dying to meet my new friend, Doreen, in South Carolina. There's also the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association gathering over Columbus Day weekend (Oct. 11-14) in Shippensburg, PA where they honor all those who completed the AT ... that would be a cool experience for Chipmunk and us, if she summits before October 11th. We also have friends who'd like to be in Maine during Chipmunk's summit, to celebrate with us. Uh oh ... head spinning! Needless to say, it's going to be a complex route plan from the summit of Katahdin to our humble house in Florida. And I thought planning for Chipmunk's hike was complex!! Oh well, like Scarlett O'hara ... "I'll think about that tomorrow."
Around 5 pm, Chipmunk arrived at the trailhead in a full blown sweat asking, "What time does the movie start?" We were shocked and impressed that she knocked out the 15 miles in one of her best times ever! She changed in the camper while Papa Chip walked Chocolate Chip. Once she was cleaned up and in her "town clothes", we drove into the town and parked behind the movie theater. I bought tickets for the 6:20 pm show while Papa Chip and Chipmunk made their way to "Baba Louie's", a nearby pizza place.
I walked thru the alley ways of town and found the pizza place easily; I took a seat just as the waitress was taking our order. We kept it simple, one large cheese pizza (Chipmunk's favorite), a couple of beers for Papa Chip and me and a Root Beer for the kid. We let the waitress know that we had tix for the 6:20 show and she promised to have us out of there in time.
Without giving the whole plot away, it gave me pause to think about the effects of divorce and the new relationships divorcees form ... from the child's point of view. It also reinforced that we all need to grab what happiness we find, where we find it and in the moment. There will always be ripples of discontent caused by things others do as they are living their lives; sometimes without any idea that they're offending or hurting us. Life can hand you a lot of crap and unless you surround yourself with the ones who make you laugh and feel good, your true friends, the day to day can wear you down. I am fortunate enough to say that my true and closest friends are my husband and kids; they are who I laugh the most with; who I'd rather be with than anyone else in the world.
After the movie, we drove the Chip Mobile to the local Rite Aid, where Chipmunk got a new shade of nail polish. Then we drove to our camp spot for the evening. We talked for a while about the movie before we retired to our bunks, telling each other we loved one another. I went to sleep knowing that I'd made some tough choices after divorcing my fist husband. Marrying Papa Chip ended up being the easiest and best choice for me. I believed then (and still believe) it was the best choice for my oldest children, Brother Chip and Editor, too. Nonetheless, the evening's movie did give me pause and reason to reflect. I hope the transition worked as well for my kids as it did for me. Since none of them have written a "Mommie Dearest" style book, I'll continue forward with that belief.
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)