Day 122 on the Appalachian Trail Miles Hiked to Date: 1287 Hiked yesterday: 15 Trail Miles, Miles left to hike: 896
First, thank you to "Peanut" for your generous donation. Chipmunk said one thing, "PIZZA!" FYI, I'll soon see one of your favorite bike mechanics, if he survives the spider bite. (Check his facebook page.)
Second, thank you to Melissa and Gene for your generous donation. We love hearing what you are doing and hope that yours and Chipmunk's paths do connect. Wow! What a great way to start a marriage! Please keep us posted as you hike and we'll see if we can meet up.
She asked, "How many miles to Delaware Water Gap?" I told her about 15 miles and told her there was a good midday meet up point at about 9 miles. She said that sounded good.
She took her vitamin, ate her breakfast and dressed while I made her PB&J sandwich and pulled the day's snacks. I drove her to the trailhead in the pouring rain and I worried about her falling again, on the rocks, now even more slippery with the rain. She hugged me and I kissed her goodbye and waited until I could see her no more.
I also read messages from my daughter, the Editor, letting me know that the impending date of her boyfriend, Dillon's, date to leave for Korea (where he'll teach English as a second language) was getting ever closer. My heart's breaking for her; she's grown very close to him and will feel a little "lost" for a while. I wish I was there to comfort her in person.
What she didn't say was that the socks were wet when she took them off and that she put them in a plastic bag. She also didn't mention they were in the bag for over a week. When I put the laundry into the washer, I found the plastic bag, opened it and gagged! It was the worst stench I've ever experienced! It was clear to me that no amount of washing was going to bring these back to a wearable state! It was too hard to toss a pair of Thorlos Socks so I think I'm going to hang them on the camper door at night to ward off any perpetrators!!
I finished laundry and set the GPS to the midday meet up point. I double checked her location via her SPOT device since she didn't send me text updates as per usual. On rainy days, she doesn't pull her phone out often because it's not waterproof. I arrived at the trailhead a little early and checked my messages. A photographer with a local newspaper asked if he could come out and take some pics of Chipmunk on the trail to go with an article that a reporter planned to write after interviewing her in Delaware Water Gap. He agreed to meet us at the midday trailhead and I warned him that the rain was heavy and there was a good amount of fog, wondering to myself if he'd be able to get any clear shots.
While she was eating, Papa Chip called and I told him all the latest. I could tell he wished he could be here for all of her hike but he assured us ... "only a short time longer." His bike tour ends August 8th, he'll spend a day wrapping up paper work, etc. and then fly out on the 10th overnight and we'll pick him up on the 11th. We can hardly wait until he returns.
and at the top, we stopped for a picture next to the Appalachian Trail sign (for full story about the bike ride, click on "ride the nation" blog tab above) . That's Chipmunk when she was 12 (or 13 maybe) and that's Papa Chip back when their "trail names" were "Beast" and "Frankenbutt". You can't see it in this picture, but Chocolate Chip was in the trailer behind Papa Chip's bike. I remember talking about some day hiking the Appalachian Trail ... I just never figured it would be so soon and in this way. I like the surprises this life has handed me.
Chipmunk left on the trail with the photographer in tow. I waited at the trailhead until he returned. We talked for a while and he said, "She's a really cool kid, huh?" I nodded and said, "Yeah, we like her." We talked for a while and then we both headed out in the fog on the wet mountain roads. The good old Chip Mobile held the roads well and I made it to the end of day meet up spot. I took care of some camper tasks while I waited and the time passed quickly until Chipmunk arrived. Again, she was soaking wet and added even more to the wet clothes puddle on the floor. Mid-changing she asked, "Is there a mall or something we can go to? I haven't been to a mall in a while."
We parked at Stroud Mall and as soon as we walked in, Chipmunk smelled the Auntie Anne's pretzels and made a beeline for it. She walked around the mall eating the giant pretzel and window shopping. When the pretzel was gone, she asked to look at clothes and shoes. I told her that the mall was closing soon and she said that she was getting sleepy any way.
We drove to our camp spot for the night (which happened to have wifi) and Chipmunk reconnected with friends online for about half an hour before declaring she couldn't stay awake any longer. I turned off the daily alarm on my phone, promising to let her sleep in. Mid-morning, we planned to meet up with family in Delaware Water Gap and then in the afternoon, Chipmunk had an interview scheduled with a newspaper.
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)