A huge thank you to all the people who help us accomplish our dream!
February 11, 2017
My sister and brother-in-law, Helen and Mark, and parents, Jack and Ruth, pose by the car with our packs. My parents generously gave us space to pack and repack our gear, and store extra gear. Helen and Mark drove us to Amicalola Falls State Park to put us on the trail. Then they drove us back to Knoxville to give Jay time to recuperate after he came down with a miserable sinus congestion on the way to Amicalola! Truly trail angels.
February 19, 2017
Sometimes a trail angel doesn’t actually do anything for you. The joie de vivre of Brittany and Jared at Long Falls brought an answering lift to my happiness today.
February 20, 2017
Two wonderful unnamed trail angels gave us water at Woody Gap. They kept us from dehydration on a hot day!
February 22, 2017
JustLeonard is a trail angel extraordinaire! He gave us bananas and apples, took our garbage, and offered many other snacks. We climbed the grade out of Hog Pen Gap fueled on fructose!
February 23, 2017
Virginia “Winkle” and her dog Tucker had just seen another thru hiker, Signage, off on the trail. She kindly gave us three incredibly delicious oranges and said she would read our blog! Thank you for the encouragement!
March 1-2, 2017
Friends make awesome trail angels! Thank you so much, Wayne and Joanna! Thank you for transportation, showers, food, laundry… But most of all thank you for the comfort of friendship, care, and love. You are so awesome!
March 5, 2017
Trail angel, “Mouse”, gave us a ride to the Fontana Village from the Fontana “Hilton” Shelter, then waited while we shopped for resupply, and gave us a ride back! What a guy!
March 8, 2017
Two hikers, Mike and Alex, took pity on us and waited at Newfound Gap in order to give us a ride down the mountain. We enjoyed eating with them at the Texas Roadhouse in Gatlinburg, then they gave us a ride all the way to Maryville, to visit Sarah’s family again! Thank you so much, guys! You are awesome! (And you have great taste in music!)
April 8, 2017
Angels come in unexpected places. I met Connie in the bath house of Merchants Millpond State Park in North Carolina, while recuperating from my broken collarbone.
To some, a public bath house might seem a strange place to strike up a conversation. But it always seems to me that it is much nicer to brush teeth beside a new-found friend rather than next to a stranger. 🙂
Anyway, Connie kindly listened to me feel sorry for myself, and encouraged me to take hope in continuing my dreams of thru-hiking the AT. She also gave very practical help by providing a list of the top foods to help heal broken bones!
When I thanked Connie for her help, she said, “Life, in general, is a hard journey. I was taught to help others along the way.”
Once again, thank you, Connie, for reminding me what is important!
May 6, 2017
Alan and Mary Ashworth, being friends of my father, kindly picked us up at VA Rt 615. They took us to dinner, then to a resupply run at Walmart. Then, we were having so much fun together, they invited us to stay the night and go to church with them the next morning! This was definitely a highlight of the hike! Alan is minister to two churches, and he sponsors the Appalachian Trail Outreach Ministry. We enjoyed learning about the ministry, and at church on Sunday, Alan’s sermon gave Jay and me food for thought for several days. We hope to help with the Appalachian Trail Outreach Ministry, and we hope to further develop our friendship with Alan and Mary. They are true trail angels, to many hikers, not just us!
May 10, 2017
Sarah was hiking uphill to Angel’s Rest as we hiked downhill towards Pearisburg, VA. We stepped to one side to let her pass, but, to our delight, Sarah stopped to talk! We learned that she is a chemistry professor, and that she and her husband love to hike. We felt an immediate bond! Sarah also joined us as we watched a fast north-bound earthworm pass us! Now we know we are slow, to be passed by a worm!
Later, as we were leaving the grocery store in Pearisburg, Sarah pulled up in her car and offered us a ride! What a treat! Thank you very much, Sarah. We hope we’ll meet you and your husband on the trail again sometime!
Sarah, trail angel, receives a hug from a grateful Jay. A north-bound earthworm passes us on the trail!
May 18, 2017
Cynthia had just finished her spring semester of college, where she is majoring in Anthropology and Biology. She decided to celebrate with a solitary hike to McAfee’s Knob. We reached the promontory after her, and exchanged cameras long enough to take pictures.
When I expressed admiration of her elected line of study, Cynthia sighed, “Yes, I’ll be in school for a long time.”
“Well, hopefully you really enjoy it, then!” I exclaimed. “After all, if one’s chosen course is long, then the only thing to do is enjoy the ride! Hmmm, I guess the same could be said of our hike. Six months is a long time for a hike, though not as long as a college degree. Now that’s a cheerful thought for the next time I start thinking this hike is taking forever!”
At this point, Jay chimed in, “You know what they say… The AT is a bachelor’s degree in long trails, the PCT is a masters degree, and the doctorate is the CDT!”
“Well, that puts me in my place!” I laughed as Cynthia giggled over the analogy.
Thank you, Cynthia, for giving us a wonderful perspective on life, and some fun chatting time as well!
May 23, 2017
Susan, the proprietor of Middle Creek Campground, qualifies as a trail angel! She provides a free shuttle between the AT and her campground. She also cooks incredibly delicious burgers and fries, and sells them at a very reasonable price. And finally, when we couldn’t find any clothesline to buy in her store, Susan sent a man to bring us some unused plastic twine, which was perfect for us! (Our food bag line was deteriorating fast. Hopefully this plastic twine will last the rest of the hike!) Susan went out of her way to help us get a short rest, resupplied, and full bellies! Thank you so very much!
June 6, 2017
Trail magic happened from a group of experienced trail angels today! A group of friends set up at Big Meadows Campground. They had everything a thru-hiker needed for a short time of rest and recharge! When Jay and I came upon the group, there was a friendly fire going, with many lawn chairs circling it. They had a feast waiting – hot dogs, burgers, chips, sodas, kale salad, and fresh fruit! What a beautiful surprise! Thank you so very much, trail angels!
June 12, 2017
Lavender and Count brought trail magic to where the AT crossed Morgan Mill Road. They provided sodas, deli meat and cheese, chips, and watermelon to tired, hot, thirsty hikers! What a surprise, and a true need on such a hot day!
The best part of Lavender and Count’s trail magic was hearing their story as we relaxed in lawn chairs and sipped sodas. They had careers with Lockheed, and spent 3 years in Puerto Rico, then 17 years in England. When they finally came back to the U.S., they decided to thru-hike the AT before making decisions about their lives. That hike led them to decide to retire early. “After all,” Count said, “all we were working for was more money. We already had enough. The hike helped us see what is important in life.”
Thank you, Lavender and Count, for giving us such inspiration, as well as food!
July 23, 2017
Chaos and Master Chef are incredible trail angels! Camped at the trail head, they fed five hikers coffee and watermelon. Master Chef also fixed McFly’s stuck trekking pole. And then they gave Jay and me a ride to the town of Stratton, where we intended to resupply and take a rest day. We were fascinated with their camper van, and enjoyed talking with them about their camping adventures. Thank you so very, very much, Chaos and Master Chef!