Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Getting to the Trail


Monday, July 12 Ramada Inn near Spokane Airport

I am both excited and anxious about the hike.  Excited about the prospects.  Anxious about the distance--it is a long way to Maine when you are walking.  Anxious about how this old body will perform.  Excited about seeing Lucinda and Brian (my niece and her husband) in Washington DC tomorrow.  Sad when Becky and Abby, our dog, drove away.  

Tuesday July 13  Travel Day, Spokane to Seattle, then Seattle to Washington DC.  Delay in Seattle due to baggage conveyer problem.  A little late getting to DC, but Lucinda is very accommodating and helpful. They have two pets--Charlie, the dog, and Blanche, the cat. 

Wednesday, July 14  Errands to run:  REI to get a fuel cannister, but their lighters cost $30.  Grocery store was sold out.  Finally got a lighter at a pharmacy.  

Amtrak was a mess.  Agents at Union Station could not tell me which gate.  Boarding was chaos.  The ride itself was relaxing.

[As the scribe for this blog, Kevin has much more faith about my historical knowledge than is warranted--"Can you put a blurb about Harper's Ferry--John Brown, first shots of the Civil War?]

The Appalachian Trail (AT) took me across the Potomac River into Maryland.  The walk along the river was a breeze.  I got in my first "bonus mile" when I blitzed through a turn.  The trail became steep and rocky.  While I was hiking mostly in the shade under forest canopy I was sweating profusely--a real sweat hog--shirt and shorts drenched. 

Made it to Ed Garvey shelter just before dark.  Cookless dinner and slept in the shelter with two other hikers.  one upstairs.  i was on the verge of leg cramps all night [Becky here, Kevin's leg cramps allow no sleep for anyone--those other hikers would not have appreciated his "silent" suffering.]

Thursday July 15 Left camp at 5:45 AM.  About four miles up the trail came to Gathland State Park with spigot by the bathroom.  No one around, so I stripped, rinsed clothes, took a sponge shower. Felt great. At mile 7, talked with Fried, a hiker who shared the shelter last night.  Mistake--got back on the trail going south.  Two older guys got me turned around--probably three bonus miles. At Rocky Run Shelter, Fried was sleeping.  After a bit the hikers that turned me around showed up.  Their names were Michael (Phaedrus) and Al (Wingnut), ages 65 and 61.  We hiked together all afternoon, talking about many things.  It was like we had known each other for many years and exchanged information. 

Friday July 16 Left camp late (6:30 am).  Arrived at highway/Wolfsville Road at 10:00 am.  Caught a ride into Smitsburg, MD.  Laundry, sponge bath--sweet!  Met some really nice people
David--young man from Georgia.  A friend (girl) got sick.  He came to help, but she passed. He was helping her family but was going back to Georgia some time. I pray for his grief and for him to find God. 

Elizabeth--heard someone ask about my hike.  She offered me $10.  I assured her I did not need money but asked if she could take me back to the trail--about 1 1/2 miles away.  When I got my pack and hiking poles out of her car, I asked her how I could pray for her.  She said she had breast cancer.  My prayer list grows. 

I had to get to Boiling Springs, PA, by Monday so I could call in for the Elders' Meeting.  To do so I needed to make about 70 miles of footprints.  Ten miles on Friday and 20 miles each Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.  

Hiked some of Friday afternoon with "Chicago."  Camped at Falls Creek campsite.  On track for my meeting. 

Saturday July 17 About 7 miles up trail I came onto a hiker at Birch Run Shelter.  He was about to start his day, so we hiked together, talking and telling stories about our lives.  His name is Willy, aged 59 going on 60.  He has a problem with church leaders.  I told him about our Elder team.  He is interested in helping others with a mission trip of some sort. 

At Rocky Run shelter--0.2 miles off trail we saw two Amish couples.  Had to go further downhill to get water.  I beat feet toward the next shelter, hoping to beat the rain. 

Made it to Quarry Gap shelter at 4:30 pm.  Other hikers included red-headed brother and sister, age 21 and 24.  At 5:30 the downpour came.  Rained hard for several hours, at least 2 inches.  Willy came in soaked. 


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