Day 146 on the Appalachian Trail Miles Hiked to Date: 1580 Hiked yesterday: 16 Trail Miles, Miles left to hike: 603
First, thanks to Tom K., Leo and all the great folks of Hike for Mental Health. They've all been so supportive of Chipmunk's quest and our family's adventure. Tom K. posted an account of his hiking experience with Chipmunk, complete with video of Chipmunk on the trail, which you can find here: http://www.hikeformentalhealth.org/this-path-can-never-grow-old-toms-account-of-hiking-with-chipmunk/
Second, thanks to Amy H. for the terrific homemade blackberry jam! More about Amy H. of Vermont soon.
I didn't say anything in the moment and hugged her about 20 minutes later when she came up to me and said, "That wasn't right for me to say. I'm just really tired. I'm sorry." I smiled and hugged her and said it was alright. To tell you the truth, after living for 5 months in tight quarters, I'm surprised we haven't had more blow ups.
We moved ahead with our morning tasks and Chipmunk was back on the trail by 7:30 AM, after hugs, kisses and confirmations of our midday meet up spot. Chipmunk was only on the trail for about an hour when she texted that she'd like to change the midday meet up spot. While taking a better look at the map for downtown Cheshire, she noticed a place called, "Diane's Twist" and hoped that it was an ice cream place. The trail itself came thru town and right past the place so we texted back agreement on the change and told her we'd be there by 12 noon and wait for her.
We found Diane's Twist easily and sure enough it was an ice cream place. We parked and soon saw to Northbound hikers we'd never met, "A-O" and "River". They told us that they'd heard about the Chip Mobile and they were looking forward to signing it ... and so they did. We offered them drinks, listing what was in the cooler. When I got to "Dr. Pepper 10", they both said they'd have, explaining that they're from Texas. I didn't understand the correlation but I suppose it's a Texas thing?? We talked about the trail and were surprised to find out they knew so many of the hikers that we knew (i.e. Uke, K Bizzie, Schnitzel, Dutch, etc) and yet in the last 1500+ miles, we never met. That my friends is the wonder of the Appalachian Trail. Depending on who Zeroes when and where, hikers can be within a day of one another and never meet or meet in a tiny little Massachusetts town with a tiny little ice cream shop.
While they ate, Papa Chip ordered a twist of vanilla and chocolate soft serve for me and a chocolate shake for himself. We chatted about the morning's hike and Chipmunk said that although Massachusetts has some pretty vistas, she was looking forward to getting into Vermont and hiking with our friend, Amy H.. Amy lives in Vermont and has been wanting to hike a section of the Long Trail which runs concurrently along the Appalachian Trail for about 100 miles. We've known Amy since Chipmunk was about 5 years old. Chipmunk started BMX racing on the national circuit while she was still in kindergarten and we met Amy H. at quite a few national races. In a sport where men outnumber women participants by about 10 to 1, the female racers are an elite group who know each other well. We've seen Amy race hard and we appreciate her dedication to the sport and her support of up and coming riders. Furthermore, even though she is a world class athlete, she has not forgotten the importance of the local track programs that paved the way for her to compete in the BMX Worlds Championship in Copenhagen, Denmark and other international destinations, as well.
She hugged us and kissed Chocolate Chip goodbye, pulled her pack on and resumed the trail. I always linger longer in town and watch as long as I can whenever the trail comes through a town. It may surprise you to know that I worry more about her during in town time than I do during trail time. Although the 2013 Appalachian Trail hiking community has exceeded the A.T.'s average of 4 deaths per year by double or more already, the death and injury statistics is still way below the averages of most any other slice of society.
When we could see her no longer, we drove towards the local supermarket to pick up chicken to go with our evening meal of Caesar Salad, one of Chipmunk's favorite dishes. We found a "Big Y" supermarket, the only grocery for miles around, and were shocked to see boneless skinless chicken breast priced at $7.49 a lb. At first, I thought it must have been priced higher because it was "organic" but then saw that the "organic" poultry was $3 lb. more! Wow! We picked up one small package and decided it was still cheaper to pay more than double than usual per lb. than it was to drive 30 miles to and from the next closest grocery.
We drove up the beautiful paved roads that led to Mt. Greylock, the highest peak in Massachusetts and stopped about a mile short of the peak at the AT hiker parking area. Along the way, we saw mountain cyclists and folks on "roller skis" as we wove our way up and around the mountain. We found a cool, shaded place to park in the gravel lot. We took Chocolate Chip for a walk, tidied the camper and then we pulled books to read while we waited for Chipmunk. About 7pm, we heard Chipmunk call out from the trail behind us. We all (Chocolate Chip, too) jumped out of the truck and headed to the trailhead. She emerged soon and we took her pack and poles from her so that she could scoop up Chocolate Chip.
Papa Chip prepared the salads and we all talked while we crunched on the Caesar salad. One by one, the day hikers who'd parked alongside us, made their way back to their cars and left. By dark, we were the only ones parked in the quiet alcove. We didn't have a signal up there so we all read books until one by one, we fell asleep.
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)