Day 104 Appalachian Trail, Maryland Miles Hiked to Date: 1048 Hiked yesterday: 15 Trail Miles, Miles to Katahdin: 1136
First, KUDOS! to Paramount Fit Foods for this, which was posted online:
We are so proud of our hikers for reaching the half way mark on their journeys to Katahdin. Both Chipmunk and the Thru Project guys (Still Don't, Mr. Dallas, Muffins & Rickshaw) have made it to Harpers Ferry! Follow their stories:
Chipmunk - www.ridethenation.org
The Thru-Project - www.thru-at.com
If you feel inspired by their story, please donate to their journey and help them reach their goals. Chipmunk is going to be the youngest solo thru hiker and The Thru Project is creating a book documenting this trek. You can also donate simply by buying our Wild Hunt Packs. From now until October 1 we will donate $1 to each group for every 10 pack ordered.
Co-Owner, Paramount Fit Foods, LLC
Office #: 276-698-9517
Mobile #: 276-698-9505
To Mayor (Valerie Boles) and Spicy Jesus (Darren), thanks for not only supporting Chipmunk and the Thru-Project hikers, but also for opening your home to hikers AND cyclists, for helping hikers "find their way forward", for feeding hikers, giving them encouragement and generally making all of us on Appalachian Trail Quests feel appreciated.
To our readers, I encourage you to visit ParamountFitFoods.com and check out the great products they offer; Chipmunk loves the Wild Hunt Packs Jerky and their new Granola Packs. If you are a hunter, hiker, climber, cyclist ... or NOT ... you'll find their products are not only great tasting but designed for
Second, thank you to Alicia M. for your generous donation. When I asked Chipmunk how she was going to spend her Chipmunk bucks, she replied, "Not sure. But I'm guessing it'll be some place with air conditioning!"
Chipmunk hugged and kissed me good bye; I squared away the truck camper and tooted my horn and waved good bye to Tune before heading into town.
Chipmunk and I had discussed getting up earlier and taking advantage of the cool morning weather for hiking and she's been hitting the trail around 7 each morning. I plan to move up our wake up time by 10-15 minutes each day until she adjusts in hopes that she'll get some 6 AM starts soon.
The monument honors "the father of our country", George Washington. She thought it looked pretty cool and texted the pic to me midday. I love when I get a glimpse into her hiking day. I ask her all about her hiking day but she gives me few details, reminding me that she plans to write a book and that I can read all the details then.
The other day, when Tune, Chipmunk and I were talking, he mentioned that he had fallen down while hiking through a particularly difficult and rocky section of the trail. Chipmunk said, "Yeah. I fell twice in that section, too." I was shocked to hear her casually say this. She is more "open" and talkative with the other hikers about what happens on the trail than she is with me. I think she's concerned that I'll worry too much about her or that I'll try to stop her because I think it's too dangerous. Of course, I asked her if she wanted to ice down anything and she said, "No. I'm fine."
Chocolate Chip climbed into his lap and soon found a comfy way to rest until her mom returned. I used to think the hikers benefitted more from Chocolate Chip's presence; but now I'm starting to see Chocolate Chip pawing at any hiker who sits near her, encouraging them to scratch and pet her. Having Chocolate Chip along with us is a good thing for all.
Chipmunk arrived by 6:30 pm and said she was done hiking for the day. She had done a solid 15 miles. She asked if it was possible to get a pizza with her Chipmunk bucks. I looked on the GPS and found that there was an Italian restaurant, named Carmine's in the neighboring town. It sounded like she could get pizza and I could get something "other than pizza". She asked Tune if he'd like to join us. He thought for only a second and said, "Yeah!"
We piled into the truck and found the place easily. The three of us walked in the front door and the lady at the counter gave us a "once over". I smiled and said, "Can we get a table for 3?" and she said, "Do you have a reservation?" Hmmm... I actually spoke before thinking about it and said, "But we're in a strip mall." We were in a tiny shopping center in a tiny town and the restaurant we entered was pleasantly decorated but was a bit of a glorified diner with vinyl covered booth seating and Home Interiors style pictures on the wall. It didn't quite evoke the idea that we'd need reservations.
The lady at the counter said, "No, you have to have reservations. You see, we are moving to a new location and we don't have a large supply of product in the back." OHHHHH. OK. So, the three of us walked out and as we passed through the parking lot, we stopped and asked a family if they could recommend any place. The older woman in the group said, "Carmine's". (Yes, the place we just left) "We just ate there; it's wonderful." I said, "Yes, but we don't have reservations." She looked bewildered and said, "We didn't have reservations." Hmmmmmm. Interesting. I didn't want to jump to conclusions but I couldn't help but think that maybe we didn't get seated because 2 out of the 3 of us were smelly hikers.
While we stood looking confused, she offered that Hagerstown was just down the road and they had lots of restaurants. We thanked her, loaded into the truck and drove into Hagerstown. Tune searched the GPS while Chipmunk played with Chocolate Chip. As we drove into town, Chipmunk and I both remarked at the same time, as we passed a gas station/convenience store, "WE'VE BEEN HERE BEFORE!" We had passed through this exact portion of town when we visited the Hagerstown BMX track during our 2011 family bike ride.
We were seated in a big super comfy booth and we were treated well. Tune ordered a dark beer, Chipmunk a soda and I an ice water. I wanted a beer but since I was driving, I declined. We all scanned the menu and Chipmunk and Tune went with burgers, I ordered a Mediterranean personal pizza.
When our meals arrived, the waiter apologized saying that my order got mixed up and that if I agreed to keep the pizza he brought, he'd throw in a free dessert for me. Hmmm... I do love dessert. He set the tray in front of me and it sure looked like a Mediterranean pizza but he said something about the kitchen not doing the correct cheese or something. I tasted a piece and it was fabulous and I said, "No problem." After we finished eating, he arrived table side with a big slice of cheesecake and 3 forks. Cool!
After dinner, we drove back to the trailhead where Tune pitched his tent and Chipmunk and I crawled into our bunks. It was 9:15 pm and both of us were yawning. As I fell asleep, I heard rain lightly falling and I grabbed the wool blanket I cover my bunk with when it rains lightly (it repels small amounts of drippage that comes through the vent over my bunk since I hit the dead tree up on McQueens Gap).
Chipmunk and I both fell asleep quickly and awoke to the sounds of a car and voices next to our camper around 6:15 AM the following morning. Who'd have thought that our new neighbors would be Chipsters! (more about that tomorrow)
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)