Day 83 Appalachian Trail, VA Miles Hiked to Date: 817 Hiked yesterday: 16 Trail Miles Miles to Katahdin: 1366
First, to the Zerpheys in Pennsylvania … belated thanks for the wonderful birthday message you sent Chipmunk AND me. Yes, we, too hope to connect with you and your family when we get to your neck of the woods. Again, please send me a reminder when you see us approaching the Pennsylvania border.
For the record, the A.T., like many segments of society, has its own lingo. “Yellow Blazing” is walking or riding on roadways instead of trails. There’s also “Blue Blazing” which is taking non-A.T. trails that are marked with Blue Blazes and often provide shortcuts into towns or around the A.T. Don’t confuse Blue Blazing with “Aqua Blazing”, which is actually canoeing or kayaking down a river or stream that borders the A.T. … And then there’s “Pink Blazing”, a hotly discussed topic that you can get more info about on the Pox and Puss Podcast website: www.
(You can also listen to the “radio” interview that Chipmunk did during Damascus trail days on that same site; look for #TrailDays). Recently, one of the hikers suggested I write a book about my experience and call it, “I Yellow Blazed the entire Appalachian Trail” … funny idea, huh?
While I sat blogging and drinking coffee, I was joined by various staff who wanted to know more about Chipmunk’s adventure. Soon, Brother Bear arrived at my table and asked if we could stop on the way to Waynesboro to pick up a package he had waiting at Dutch Haus B&B, near one of the trailheads. I told him that I planned to meet Chipmunk near there for the evening meet up and that if he’d like, I’d pick up the package and bring it back in the morning when I picked him up for the Waynesboro run.
She invited me to come in and have a drink and a tour of the Bed & Breakfast. It was fabulous! There were private rooms in the main house and there were also several twin and full size beds (ACTUAL BEDS!) in the bunkhouse. The grounds were shaded, quiet and just plain pretty. We returned to the main house where we sat and talked about all kinds of things, including her section hikes of the A.T. over the last 15 years. It was all so pleasant that I almost lost track of time. I asked her if she knew how to get to the parking area at the trailhead and she said, “You can follow me. I’m heading there to pickup a couple hikers.” So, the one trailhead I feared I wouldn’t find because there was no address or GPS coordinates (nor did Google maps recognize the roads listed in the A.T. Guide), turned out to be one of the simpler rides. Of course, the short unnamed road turned out to be pretty rocky … but it was only about a half mile to a mile of jostling until I got to the parking area.
The hikers were waiting and we all introduced ourselves. “Klaus” told me that he had seen Chipmunk a few days ago and was glad to meet me. His wife, Gabby, recently joined him on the trail and he introduced her to us. He spoke so lovingly of her; he told us they’ve been married for 14 years and really enjoy each other’s company. Before they left, I asked if they’d all like to sign the camper and they did. Then they loaded their packs into the B&B truck. Marcia asked if Chipmunk and I would join them all for breakfast at the house the next morning. Before I could answer, she told me there would be vegetable quiche and blueberry pancakes … mmmm. I’m sure my eyes got glazed over and there was drool at the corners of my mouth when I said, “That sounds great. I’m sure Chipmunk would like that.”
Earlier in the day, when Six asked for a ride to Waynesboro and Brother Bear asked me to pick up his mail drop, I was less than thrilled to commit to it. In hindsight, I realized that had I not needed to stop at the B&B for his mail, I might have had a lot of difficulty finding the obscure parking lot to meet Chipmunk. And worse yet, I might not have gotten to see Marcia again. I so enjoyed talking with someone my own age who has lived through similar trials that I have. It made me feel good to see that not only had both of us survived, we’d both found wonderful friendships and lessons in the Appalachian Trail experience. Although I haven’t hiked it, the stories I’ve heard and the people I’ve met have shaped my outlook not only for my future, but for how I see our society, as a whole.
FYI, we are trying to build support and maybe even get some sponsors to help in the expenses of Chipmunk’s quest to become the youngest solo thru hiker to complete the Appalachian Trail. We could use your help. 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 (not left) of today’s blog post. Feel free to forward our website link (or email updates) to your family, friends, co-workers, etc, (www.ridethenation.org). 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)