We spent the morning at the Mountain View Hotel and RV park talking with the six other hikers who were taking a break from the trail to resupply. I did get my shoes, two pair in fact
. I want to see if I can hike with a more durable shoe than the Altras.
There were Robert and Carol who began the trail in March. They are older than I and very dedicated to hiking the trail with a few deviations as possible. Then Chips and Damian came in so we caught up and there were two other hikers as well. One did not yet have a trail name but said his name was Victor only spelled Wictor. I suggested he go by Dub-ya. He thought that was good but who knows.
Around noon, we determined that we were just killing time and needed to scout out the next location to park the truck and how far we would hike. There was an 18 mile section with parking and/or camping in both directions. The northern most end was closest to us so we followed the winding roads until we found the crossing. The map indicated there was a road from that point meeting up with the road for the other end of our day’s walk. No, not really. It had a gate sized for ATVs and looked like a rough Jeep track further down the hill so that path was not suitable for the truck. We decided to head back to the other end of the 18 mile segment where we knew there were picnic tables and a pit toilet. I would begin hiking from there and Raven would drive the 2 hours back to the end of the segment. Moving the truck around is a bit of a nightmare.
As we were 30 minutes into the trip to the southern end, Raven’s phone chirped with an incoming message from his brother. It said to call him ASAP. It was troubling to Raven as this brother and he were not on the best of terms. Needless to say, as we were able to get service, the call was made. It seems his other brother, Barney, was now in ICU in the Denver area.
It took all of two minutes after to call to turn the truck toward Denver. A critically ill person trumps all hiking. GPS stated it was almost 11 hours to drive.
Yes, Raven could have dropped me at a trail head but, as one does, the luxury of having a vehicle allowed me/us to accumulate STUFF. Town clothes, extra food, etc. It would not have been fair for him to a) go so far out of his way to drop me and b) try to find me afterwards to return my stuff or mail/ship it. Besides, I have been fortunate to be able to walk almost 1300 miles.
Raven’s brother passed away 3 days after we arrived in Denver. The choice was the right one. The flight back to Nashville where Jim picked me up was uneventful. After being on the trail for so long it was amazing to see everyone in masks. One of Barney’s neighbors gave me a suitcase she was taking to the Goodwill store and I was able to bring all my extra stuff home on the plane. Gear and food tallied almost 50 pounds.
I am in the midst of seeing just how much food I have left over. I may be existing on trail food for the next month or so as there is a LOT! There will be some short trips during the remainder of the year but certainly no long distance ones.
The day I returned home there was a call from my friend Neo. He let me know that our mutual hiking friend, Raymond Myers, was in the hospital. It was determined he was being dismissed into hospice care. Raymond passed away on Friday evening. As a fixture in the hiking community in Nashville, he will be sorely missed. He was always ready to help any hiker and enjoyed short hike and camp outs after completing the Appalachian Trail. Condolences to Jenny, Amy, Sarah, Patricia and, of course, his faithful sidekick Boon. He will be missed.
P.S. I was reading a note from Hi-Gina, whom I met on the trail. She just completed a 120 mile stretch in 3 days. Her long day was 51 miles!! I do not know how she did that but WOW! You go, girl!
Who know what the next adventure will be. We, Jim and I, will let you know. Also, thanks to Jim for processing this blog as I walked.