Day 97 Appalachian Trail, VA Miles Hiked to Date: 983 Hiked yesterday: 12 Trail Miles, Miles to Katahdin: 1200
First to Tune’s Mom and Dad, thank you for the wonderful messages you sent. Chipmunk and I both think that Tune is a really great guy and we enjoy talking with him. We admire the courage it took for him to start this hike and we hope he finds clarity and inspiration during his time on the trail. I’m sorry that we didn’t get to meet up during your time in town but I hope our paths will cross again some time down the trail.
Second, to Rick, Lynn and Eleni … thank you once again for opening your home to us and including us in your family’s festivities. We loved seeing all of you and especially seeing Eleni perform live! We can’t wait to hear Eleni’s songs on the radio some day.
Before leaving the gap, I entered a few different searches into both Google Maps on my smartphone and Evil Vengeful Rosie the GPS. They both agreed for the most part and I set off towards the meet up spot I showed Chipmunk the day before. I wasn’t crazy about her having to hike about a half mile of non-trail roads so I decided to see if I could find the road crossing just two tenths of a mile before the access trail she’d have to take to meet me.
As I rode along Route 50 and 17, I put the flashers on, slowed down and watched the road side for signs of the trail: a gap in the grass or about a foot wide swath of grass that’s been flattened. I also watched for the brown Appalachian Trail signs that occasionally pop up at road crossings. When I was just about to give up, I spotted a path in the median. I pulled to the side of the road and looked across the median and saw that sure enough there was a narrow path that led up the bank and into the woods.
I was so proud to have solved another puzzle on the trail that I hooted and hollered, much to Chocolate Chip’s surprise. I swung the truck around and found a parking space in the shade, well off the road side. I waited for hours and finally, I saw a hiker emerge from the wooded area on the reverse side of the road. It was Halflife who stopped at the camper and told me that he passed Chipmunk and figured she would be about another hour before arriving. I thanked him and wished him well when he rejoined the trail.
About 30 minutes later, Chipmunk emerged and saw the camper. She came over and said she was surprised to see me there; I explained that I didn’t want to risk not meeting up at the spot that was well off the trail. She said she didn’t care; she was just glad to see me. I told her that we had time to go into town and see a movie, from the Chipmunk Bucks her “Amiga-buela” (Sheena) and “Rocky & Bullwinkle” (Phil) had sent. As referenced earlier, we saw “The Lone Ranger” and “The Heat”. Chipmunk and I enjoyed the cool A/C and had lots of laughs. When we left the theater, it was dark the night air felt good. We hopped in the camper, drove to our camp spot and called it a night. She had hiked 12 miles in 90+ degree heat and I was proud of her. The next day’s hike would be the start of the “Roller Coaster” section of the trail, something that no hiker has ever spoken about fondly.
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)