Day 134 on the Appalachian Trail Miles Hiked to Date: 1412 Hiked yesterday: 12 Trail Miles, Miles left to hike: 772
First, good luck to all the Hike for Mental Health members who are climbing Mount Washington this weekend! Rumor has it that their fearless leader, Tom K., is doing the Harlem Shake at that summit ... I am going to need visual verification of that! (www.hikeformentalhealth.org)
Second, thanks to John S., Martin "the Edge" H., Donna "Land Shark" and Michaela "Mi..CHaela" for meeting up with us in our travels ... more about that soon!
I'm glad we got an early start because almost immediately we found a closed road ... without a detour. Hmm. We looked at Google maps and found another route. As we followed that, we came upon 3 emergency vehicles with lights flashing. Apparently, there had been a serious car accident and traffic was being re-routed by officers. We turned as instructed and soon lost our GPS signal so our routing was disabled. Hmm. We pulled over into a small store lot and pulled up the "still" map of the area. There were only a few ways to get to the midday meetup point and both were blocked. We looked further ahead in the A.T. Guide and saw that there was another road crossing not too far past the original spot. We decided to try to find that one instead.
We lucked out, found it and there was a small clearing to park the truck just past the trailhead. We immediately sent a text to Chipmunk, letting her know the situation and telling her to call us as soon as she turned her phone on. She normally keeps her cell phone turned off, reserving the battery life for updates and emergencies. In about 45 minutes, we heard from her and told her about the change. She said that was all good with her. She also said she was soaked from the rain and was looking forward to her midday change out of wet clothes and boots. We told her she was doing well and that we'd see her soon.
We talked for a while as they signed and drank their sodas. Initially, the rain was light but then it got heavier. Neither of them seemed fazed by it but I excused myself, noting that I get cold quickly when I get wet. They said they had to hike on and thanked us for the drinks.
Chipmunk arrived after a while and was eager to change out of her wet socks and boots. I can't imagine how hard it must be for the hikers who do not have spare dry boots and socks; how hard it must be to get their boots dried out. Chipmunk transferred her damp insoles from the wet boots to the dry ones, adding a little extra foot powder to help dry them out, too. While she did that, I fixed her a bowl of Chicken flavor Ramen Noodles. I asked how her jaw and teeth felt and she said that the cold meds are definitely helping. That was a relief.
When she finished her soup, she lounged for a short time and then said, "I better get out there. This trail isn't going to hike itself." I smiled and hugged her and told her that the weather report showed clearing up late in the day. Papa Chip hugged her, too, and then she resumed the trail.
When we arrived at the trailhead, I remembered that Teresa had given me the 12 volt boot dryers. I plugged them into the cab's 12 volt receptacle and placed the vented plastic dryers into each boot. They were silent and had just a light amount of warmth to them. At first, I thought they were defective. Papa Chip read the attached information sheet that explained that that's how they work. Hmm. I didn't believe they'd do a lot of drying but I set them aside and checked facebook, etc. while I waited. After an hour, I checked the boots and to my surprise, they were almost completely dry! Woo Hoo! Now that's effective! Thanks again, Teresa!
Papa Chip checked the time and decided to start dinner, figuring Chipmunk would arrive soon. He sauteed some onions and the last pepper from Peter and Teresa's garden. When he heard Chipmunk call to us from the trailhead, he added the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Within 10 minutes, we were sitting around the camper with hot plates of pasta, topped with jar sauce made a little sweeter with peppers and onions. We talked and laughed and learned that Chipmunk had broken a finger nail during the day's hike. It's funny to us that she actually cleans, files and paints her nails pretty regularly ... and somehow manages to keep them pretty nice. Her nails survived the big rock climbs and this one got chipped on a small rock climb. Oh, well; there are worse things she could break, eh?
After dinner, Papa Chip and I took a short walk on the trail while Chipmunk enjoyed some private time, cleaning up and getting ready for bed. We returned before sunset and we were all in our bunks by 8:30 pm. Chipmunk had journaled, as she often does, and only told us a few details about her day. I fell asleep while she and Papa Chip were still chatting. It had been a rainy but good day. Chipmunk had safely hiked 12 miles over slippery rocks in the rain ... and only broke one nail.
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)