Day 200 on the Appalachian Trail Miles Hiked to Date: 2132 Hiked yesterday: 0 Trail Miles, Miles left to hike: 52
First, from now until the end of Chipmunk's hike, she asked me to post this link to her Hike For Mental Health Fundraising page: https://www.z2systems.com/np/clients/hike/campaign.jsp?campaign=13&team=145&fundraiser=1052& She asked me to tell our readers that she (and we) have enjoyed having all of you along for this adventure. Please consider donating to HFMH if you've enjoyed being a part of her hike. She said, "It would be the best trail magic!"
Having seen the weather forecast the day before, it was no surprise to us that it was raining heavily when we awoke at 5:30 AM. It was predicted to rain on and off throughout the day and I didn't like the idea of Chipmunk hiking over steep, rocky sections of Maine, in the rain. I woke Papa Chip and Chipmunk to confer about the hike plan for the day. In short order, we voted 3 to 2 in favor of taking a ZERO. We went back to sleep until about 7:30 AM.
Once we were dressed, we drove into town, in search of wifi. We pulled into a small local restaurant and learned that they had wifi and wouldn't mind if we plugged in our devices to recharge over breakfast. Chipmunk ordered chocolate chip pancakes, I ordered 1 each of a Blueberry pancake and a Cranberry/Nut pancake. Papa Chip had the hiker's special: eggs, toast, bacon, home fries and a side of buttermilk pancakes.
While our breakfasts were being prepared, I finished writing the hike update and posted the blog. Papa Chip drank coffee and looked at weather forecasts; Chipmunk answered text messages and downloaded fan fiction. When breakfast arrived, we were all plenty happy to set our devices aside. All of us agreed: good restaurant pick!! The food was fabulous! We highly recommend the Looney Moose Cafe in Stratton, Maine!
There was only one other person in the laundromat and soon we were talking. Pam and I quickly found our common ground and I was thrilled to hear that she was moving to Florida soon. We agreed that we'd have a beer together when we met up again.
We drove into the city of Farmington for a new tire. Wal-Mart offered the quickest service, no appointment necessary. After 30 minutes we paid just under $150 and got back on the road. Chipmunk was eager to check out the downtown area ... Civilization.
She came out of the dressing room in a stunning pink dress and looked like she stepped right out of a 1950s ad for said dress. She looked so happy wearing it that I was ready to buy it on the spot. I asked how much the dress was and the store owner began explaining that it was in beautiful condition for its age, that the lining itself was as well made as the shell, that it's a piece to be treasured ... etc. With each comment, the cash register in my brain went, "Cha-ching, Cha-ching".
Don't get me wrong; the dress was everything the store owner described, and more. But, even with the 10% discount she offered, it was still more than $100 over our budget. (If only the truck tired didn't need to be replaced ... it would have made considering the dress purchase a bit easier.) Chipmunk tried to hide her disappointment and politely thanked the two ladies that were helping her. She emerged from the fitting room in her jeans and sweater, an outfit she had color coordinated to match her new Vasque Rifts, and asked if there was time to stop in the bookstore. I nodded and we followed her out the door.
While Chipmunk perused books, I took a call from Editor. I told her about the dress incident, knowing that she is a terrific thrift shopper. I suggested that she might take her little sister to some of the biggest and best thrift stores in South Jersey after the hike. Editor loved the idea, got on the phone with Chipmunk and firmed up their plan for a shopping day together.
I pulled the paper off and saw that it was a personal note. Although the offer of beer was appealing, we really needed to get back to the trailhead and let Chipmunk get the rest she needed. I would have called the fellow and thanked him but soon after we pulled away, I lost all reception yet again. Ugh! One wonders why they are called mobile phones!
The drive back to the access road, where Chipmunk would have to walk 3.8 miles in order to resume her hike, took longer than expected. It was very dark out by the time we turned onto the first of the rocky dirt roads. Earlier, we had hit "save this location" on Evil Vengeful Rosie the GPS and hoped that she would guide us correctly back through this labyrinth of logging roads.
We made the designated turns into roads that seemed familiar but neither Papa Chip more I knew which way to go when we came to a fork that Evil Vengeful Rosie the GPS did not even acknowledge existed. We decided to go to the left. We drove about a mile down a road that looked just like the roads we travelled out of there that morning.
We came upon a handmade bridge, looked at each other and said, "Nope. Wrong way." We hadn't crossed any handmade wooden bridges so we doubled back to the fork in the road and turned right. We stayed on that road for quite some time wondering if we were going the right way as Evil Vengeful Rosie said, "When possible, make a u-turn."
We trust our gut feeling and soon the GPS said, "Arriving at destination on left" and we saw the washout gulley just ahead. Sweet! We found it!
We wasted no time moving Chipmunk's pack from the camper to the cab and then climbing into the camper for the night. It was only 7:30 but we were all eager to get ready for bed. I put the leftover takeout pizza on the stove top, Papa Chip walked Chocolate Chip, while Chipmunk removed her contact lenses. Once we were all settled in, Chipmunk asked if she could read some of the fan fiction she had downloaded while we were in town. We told her she could but that we'd like her to put it away by 9 PM since we planned to get up at 5:30 AM. She said she would and then we all said "I love you" and "good night" to one another.
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)