Thursday, July 17, 2014

Interesting Folk in the Woods

When Sherry suggested we hike the AT, we did not know what we were facing. I remember very well doing the numbers (that is my game, numbers).

Hey sweetie, no problem. we can easily do 16 miles a day (He said having NEVER backpacked except as a Marine). Now 2,167miles divided by16 is 135 days and change. That is 4 and a half months. Take 15days for breaks and we can do it in five months. Piece of cake.

The first thing I learned was we were lucky to do 7-8 miles in a day. The most we ever hiked in a day was 17, and that was only once.

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A lone senior lady (74) on the left, her family hiking with her for a few days.

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A nurse (solo), and ‘In Tents’ who asked, “I don’t have to get up do I?”

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Above guys on the left flew in from NC to do the Wilderness. Right, in the Wilderness08242009 03208242009 033

The first lake in the Wilderness.

Math is simple, straight forward and accurate but I did not add in the physical part nor the beauty. Sherry and I have enjoyed a lot of beauty in the world. We have enjoyed the Grand Canyon, Mt Rushmore, crossed the Tetons, were amazed at Yellowstone. Visited Lake Louise and were thrilled at the Yukon and the beauty of Alaska plus Hawaii (just to mention a few). BUT we did not ‘work’ to see those. The sights on the AT you must hike to see. And there is nothing like looking DOWN at an Eagle soaring below you.


Sir Richard from the UK

Neither were we ready for the fantastic folk you meet in the woods. Folks from all over the world. Hikers from New Zealand, Australia, England, South Africa, Scotland and Ireland.  There were kids, old folk, home schoolers, ministers, physically challenged and just plain folk.

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Bill & his wife.

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The trail was hiked by a man who had lost his sight. He had turned to alcohol and was destroying his life. In his spirit he was urged to attempt a thru hike of the AT with his dog Orient. He made it, he said:

“The first clear-eyed thing I had ever done was as a blind man, when I asked God to take charge of my life,” he wrote. “I had never spent much time in his vast outdoors, but after I quit drinking I couldn’t get enough of it. I learned wilderness skills and became the first blind person to ‘thru-hike’ the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. I made a point of telling fellow hikers about the God who guides me.”

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We were blessed to have a chance to buy him and his wife dinner in Bangor, Maine. he died at 73 in March. When I asked them out to dinner I had forgotten that he was an international motivational speaker, in demand year round, but he accepted our invitation, only if he could pick the restaurant (he had become a Vegetarian) that was fine with us.

Thanks for joining me, here on the log.

Nite Shipslog


In life you never know who you will meet to bless or be blessed.


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Of course Bill did not drive, but his car sported the ‘Orient’ name referring to his trail name, “The Orient Express”. He also moved from Burlington, NC to the back woods of Maine.


Sheila said...

I had the opportunity to meet and hear this wonderful man years ago when he gave a motivational speech at a public health meeting in Asheville, NC. I'll never forget Bill.

shirl72 said...

My walks are to and from the mail
box and in Shopping Centers. I guess I could walk Crammer Mt. instead of driving but do it quick.

Walking Blind makes us think how bless we are to have our sight and see GOD's Beautiful World. You
both have seen lot's. Please be
careful at our age CAREFUL is the name of the game.

Paula said...

You certainly have met some interesting people. I feel blessed that you, Sherry and the boys took the time to drive out to meet us.

Lucy said...

You 2 are amazing. However do be careful, I know if anyone watched me with Spunky they thought I was higher than a kite. Part of it may have been from recent surgery but I think it was more like my legs belonged to that rough alley. I admire that man so much that is blind and still has the spunk to get up and hike the trails.

Cindi said...

great story. Thx for letting us come along for the ride....

betty said...

I always enjoy reading your stories about the AT, Jack. I think it is wonderful that not only did Sherry suggest this, but that you guys followed through and did a lot of the trail! What an experience it continues to be for you both!


Rick Watson said...

One of the things I love most about traveling is the people we meet.
Your trip sounds amazing.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

You have met some wonderful people on the trail. I can't imagine hiking like that let alone doing it blind. I do believe that when we let God take charge the impossible can happen though. It was another cool night and good sleeping here. We're to warm up today though and we'll return to more normal summer time temps. Hope you both have a great day!


On the journey of life you meet some interesting people, that is for sure.