Day 115 on the Appalachian Trail Miles Hiked to Date: 1187 Hiked yesterday: 11 Trail Miles, Miles left to hike: 996
Chipmunk awoke after a pretty good night's sleep but she was definitely moving slower than usual. She ate and dressed while I re-filled her water and pulled her day's snacks. I made her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, her now daily requirement for hiking. Chocolate Chip watched both of us, with her head resting on her front paws, from her perch up on my bunk.
I asked Chipmunk how she felt and she said, "Tired. But, I'm still hiking." We went over the A.T. Guide sheets and determined that she should shoot for 20 miles, with a midday stop at the 11 mile mark, the only road crossing available.
I went into town to find wifi and post the blog and found that there was road construction everywhere! I finagled the fat PWTTC through the cones without hitting even half of them! Woo Hoo! I recently confessed to Papa Chip a few of the new "changes" I've accidentally made to the truck. He laughed and said, "You should blog about all of them ... do a 'confession' blog." I told him I'd think about it. Until then, I'll keep repeating my mantra, "I'm an excellent driver. I'm an excellent driver."
Chipmunk texted me and told me her location on the trail and I could tell that her average speed was way down. She said there were lots of rocks on the trail and that her body was really tired. I tried to comfort her and inspire her to keep going, knowing that she needed to get the first 10 miles of the day done before 3 pm.
I finished my online work and headed to our midday meet up spot. It felt like forever before I heard her voice call to me from the woods. She sounded tired and not quite right. I jumped out the back of the camper to find her walking a bit "lopsided". Her face was contorted and she said, "I fell hard ... on the rocks." I took her poles and pack from her and she leaned against the truck. She showed me her hip which took the brunt of the fall and I could see the bruising that started. I told her to come into the camper and take a break. She said, "by the way, I didn't cry." I smiled knowing that she's trying hard to be tough.
I guess I had a troubled look on my face because she said, "I didn't say I was quitting. I'm just tired." It's tough to balance letting her "hike her own hike" and being her support. It's tough to know when to push her so she meets her goal and when to just accept what she says, seeing as I don't know everything she's going through in this quest. I told her it was okay and we sat together for a while before I drove into town and found some wifi so that she could do what most other kids her age are doing: surf the web.
On a side note, she quietly passed another milestone today.
She has less than 1000 trail miles left to hike!
At the road crossings, not only do I give them cold sodas, I also have a bag to collect their trash, too. They dump their wrappers in the bag and rusted cans, bottles, other people's wrappers, etc. into my trash bag. I marvel at their commitment. Together, we are all trying to Leave No Trace, in whatever way we can. I really like this unexpected family I have found myself a part of.
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)