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!
July 23, 2017
Chaos and Master Chef enjoyed a weekend of camping in their camper van, but were happy to give comfort and help to many hikers as well! This Sunday morning Master Chef helped another hiker fix a stuck trekking pole. He also made coffee for several cold hikers. Chaos fed us with fresh fruit. Oh, that watermelon was incredible! And finally, the two of them gave Jay and me a ride to town. We knew we were blessed, as we talked with this fascinating couple, and enjoyed the luxury of whizzing down a road! Thank you, thank you, Chaos and Master Chef!
August 27, 2017
Randy and Linda serve as trail angels in the town of West Hartford, VT. They let hikers sleep in their barn, then serve hot coffee and breakfast all morning on their porch. Though we spent the night in the woods north of West Hartford, we were hailed by hikers as we walked past Randy and Linda’s house this morning. Almost before we quite knew what was happening, we were ensconced on their porch, sipping hot coffee on a frosty morning, trading information and stories with other hikers, and partaking of a second breakfast.
When I went to thank Randy for their hospitality, I was able to listen to a bit of his family’s history. What a fascinating couple! I felt honored to get to know them a tiny bit. I also appreciated the caring, giving atmosphere of their home. Thank you, Randy and Linda, for making your corner of the world a beautiful place!
September 10, 2017
Though I don’t have a picture of Mary and her son, Kevin, they are true trail angels! When Jay lost his hat on top of Mt. Greylock, Mary and Kevin gave him an extra hat they had packed. Thank you, thank you! Your kindness (and preparedness!) saved Jay from many cold nights and mornings.
September 17, 2017
Saturday afternoon, Joe stopped us in the grocery store as we were resupplying, preparing to return to the AT.
“Are you hikers? Do you need a ride?” he asked.
We were surprised, but delighted at his friendly manner and offers of help. The next morning, Joe graciously drove us back to Blue Hill Rd, giving some history of the road itself, and the surrounding town of Great Barrington. Joe not only gave us a much needed lift, he educated us as well!
Thank you so very much!
September 23, 2017
Daniele offered us a ride to a deli for a meal, then back to the trail, saving us a mile of walking on a very busy road in debilitating heat!
Daniele was taking a day hike in memory of her dog who was a champion hiker, and had passed away the week before. We enjoyed talking with her as we approached the trail head beside the Appalachian Trail Metro North Railroad stop. When she offered us a ride to a meal, we were delighted. Her presence at the meal made it a very special occasion.
Thank you, Daniele! I hope we see you in Nevada this winter or sometime next year!
October 12, 2017
On top of a ridge Jay and I met a group of Road Scholars. They were hiking a portion of the AT, and seemed delighted to meet two scuzzy thru-hikers. One man gave me an apple from his lunch, remarking, “You look like you need it more than me.” (It was delicious!)
The apple was a bit of trail magic, but even more important was the good will and engaging friendliness of the group of hikers. They brightened our day!
October 15, 2017
Arthur Del Bianco came to our rescue today, offering a warm, dry car ride to the doctor’s office! Jay had contracted a bad case of poison ivy, so we were slogging along the road, headed to the clinic. We stopped at a convenience store for a rest, and Arthur began talking to us about our hike, then offered us a ride. He told us that he had been in the World Trade Center during 9-11! I felt that I was in the presence of a true hero!
October 23, 2017
It’s the simple things that make a difference! Marsha was picking up her hiker husband at a busy road crossing on a warm, dry day. She offered us water, remarking that the next spring was kind of hard to find. Thanks to her kindness, we were able to continue hiking and stay hydrated with ease! Thank you from the bottom of my heart (and water bottle), Marsha!
October 23, 2017
We met Dillon (trail name ‘Dad’) one foggy morning while crossing a road. Dillon had completed a thru-hike a few weeks earlier. He now was working in the “real world”, but still living on the trail. He said he enjoyed sleeping in his tent each night after a long day at work.
Dillon gave us some leftover trail food from his hike, then took us to a grocery store to finish off our resupply. This serendipitous meeting saved us a long road walk to the next town, as we had been planning a resupply today. Thank you so very much, Dillon!
October 29-November 1, 2017
Dave and Edna gave us so very much! We can never repay their kindnesses!
Thank you for all the rides in your van, and all the side trips which enriched our understanding of this corner of Pennsylvania.
Thank you for making it possible to meet with our friend Amanda and her friends on a rainy Sunday.
Thank you for the surprise of hot coffee on our last day of hiking!
I truly hope we stay in touch and meet again!