Day 128 on the Appalachian Trail Miles Hiked to Date: 1356 Hiked yesterday: 9 Trail Miles, Miles left to hike: 827
When our morning tasks were done, we stepped outside and had a nice long hug before she headed for the path. I noticed that she had put her knee wrap on again today. The other hikers have mentioned that this is a tough section. The rocks of Pennsylvania are gone; replaced by the boulders of NJ.
Once she was securely on the trail, I headed out to take care of my morning tasks. I returned a message to a lady who has been following our journey from months ago. We had been arranging to meet up when we got to her area and I can't believe we are finally here. We discussed a time and place to meet and I let her know that I really wasn't sure just how far Chipmunk would hike after the morning's start.
When Chipmunk and I met up midday, she said, "I'm done. I can't hike any more today." I understood. I told her that I, too, was tired and she looked at me and roller her eyes. I'm so used to saying whatever I'm thinking around her that I didn't even consider that saying I was tired was such a dumb thing to say to a kid that has hiked over 1300 miles in the last 4 and a half months. I quantified it by saying, "I didn't sleep well ... and, sorry. I know what you are doing is exhausting." She smiled at me and then pulled her boots off. I drove to a quiet place where we could both take a rest before we met up with our evening guest.
Just before I fell asleep, my phone dinged letting me know there was a message. I looked at it and it was one of our blog followers asking if we could meet up. Her message was so genuine and it turned out that we'd be close to her neighborhood that evening. I hit reply and let her know that I'd be at an ice cream shop near her that evening. I laid my head on my pillow and after about 3 minutes, my eyes popped open and I realized that I posted exactly where Chipmunk would be ... on the internet. Amongst other safety precautions, we never post the exact location we are, just in case. The message was posted for a total of 4 minutes before I was able to remove it. Ugh! I couldn't believe I did that. I was disappointed that I didn't have another way to reach her but I had to put Chipmunk's and my safety first.
Chipmunk and I rested for a short time, got up and brushed our teeth and hair and changed into clean clothes. I was excited to meet the wonderful lady, Barbara, who we had pre-arranged to meet for the evening. Not only has she sent wonderful messages of support for Chipmunk but she also has re-tweeted my blog posts and sent me words of wisdom.
Barbara stepped out of her car and we were met with a big smile. I felt like I knew her already. She sent me info about the local trails that she has hiked many times. The view at the Ice Cream shop was phenomenal, as she had promised. She said the sunsets on clear days are worth waiting for ... but it didn't look like the clouds were going to clear out and let us see a good one that night.
As we hung out, I got to know the lady who lived near the ice cream shop, Theresa. She introduced me to her two children who were very sweet. James let me know that he, too, had hiked with his dad.
Since posting that blog, I've received so many messages from others saying that it's time for all of us to look at mental illness as just that ... an illness. The more we talk about it, the more people will feel comfortable in seeking treatment and in being accepted just the way they are. Life is too short to live it feeling "less". After signing the camper, Theresa gave me her phone # and said to text or call her if I'd like to meet up for a cup of coffee while I'm still in the area.
When everyone was done signing, Chipmunk and I hugged Barbara, Theresa, Eliza and James and thanked all of them for supporting us. It was a wonderful ending to the day! I really like the way it all "added up".
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)