Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Most folks know a few years ago Sherry decided we were going to hike the trail. And since she had followed my dreams for years to many parts of the country and world, of course I reluctantly agreed. We did our research and planning. We learned the trail was over 2000 miles. That one man who pushed it's creation was Benton McCay. The first person recorded to hike the entire trail without a break was Earl Shaffear. The continous hike became known as a thru-hike. Some called it walking with spring. The next most known name on the Appalachian Trail is
'Bill Irwin'. In 1990 fighting rain, sleet, ice and snow, this man became the first and only Blind Person to do a thru hike. Today we were privileged to have an early dinner with Debra Irwin and her famous Husband Bill. Bill was accompanied by his dog, Colby.

I have mentioned that AT Hikers pick up nicknames either their choosing or someone elses if they don't. Sherry and I are know as the 'Overland Hermits'. At the time Bill hiked the trail he was accompanied by his German Shepherd, 'Orient'. They became know as the 'Orient Express'.
By Bills own testimony he did not set out for fame. But when the media learned a 'Blind Man' was going to attempt a thru hike, he became international news.

Here we are after the meal. Bill and his beautiful wife Debra were like dear friends. The conversation was good and the company very enjoyable.
They are living now in Maine. together they are building (themselves) a log house. They are hardy folks, becoming real Mainers. They remain here over the winter and heat with only wood. No LP back up. They love fresh air and love open windows.

Bills love for his faithful dog that accompanied him from Springer Mountain Georgia to Mt. Katahdin in Maine.
The tag front and back says it all, ORIENT.

I was able to share with Bill that I had been bragging to some thru hikers that we were dining with him today and their answers were, "WOW", Whoa, NO WAY "Cool" Bill is and always will be an Icon on the trail. He is also a motivational speaker, If he cannot motivate you, you are dead! Check this site out....

Sherry has used his name so many times you cannot count. Bill's name always came up on tough and dangerous spots, "HOW WAS IT POSSIBLE FOR HIM TO DO THIS?"

Colby was a gentle man in the restaurant. It is amazing the discipline and training required of these dogs. Here you see the wind was whipping Debra's hair.
We got 'Blind Courage' and 'Orient' autographed and personalized, along with a DVD of one of Bill's presentations. This was one of the high light days of ones life.

We stopped on the way home and shot these trees. They will one day warm the hearts of folks a Christmas, as today has warmed our hearts. Thanks Bill and Debra!
And Thanks to all of you who drop by,
Nite Shipslog,
PS... Temp is droppin here in Maine.
Yesterday we received a FED-EX box from Vickie and Glenda in Florida. We got an Avacado and some mangos. We made our first guaqamole (The Chef Bill asked how many mangos did I put in the Guaq? Smart aleck educated folks!. LOL)
Oh and the prices at the Monson General Store were very reasonable for hte thru hikers. We also enjoyed a fifty cent cup of good coffee there.


shirl72 said...

That is awesome to sit and talk with Bill Erwin
and his wife and have the dog included. I know
the trip was worth that visit. What a treat.
I hope you got the name of the song that was
playing on the video that you showed on your
blog. It is beautiful I think it was about a mountain. Glad to see the pictures.


Sheila Y said...

It's amazing what people can do, so glad you and Sherry got to spend time with Bill and his wife. Take care and stay safe, Sheila

betty said...

that's good the store doesn't charge an arm and a leg being out there like that; I can't remember when the last time I got a 50 cent cup of coffee!

so glad you got to spend time with Bill Irwin. He and his wife look like wonderful people and I admire all they are doing and what he has done by hiking the AT! what an inspiration

okay, senior moment here, I can't remember how you guys got the name Overland Hermits??


Paula said...

Two nice looking couples enjoying a nice visit plus the wonderful doggie.

Helen said...

Sounds like a nice visit with Bill and his wife. A bonus meeting his dog. Helen

Lucy said...

Just great. Your story gives me a good feeling as well as the pictures

robert said...

Allow me to bow silently in respect of your writing and the people you talk about.