July 4 2015
I got up at sunrise and said goodbye to my spot. I found the ruins of a stone house and walked along historic stone walls, disintegrating in the forest. It was very American Picturesque.
I booked it for a lake to go swimming. I wanted to find a nice spot with a view to watch the fireworks, but the park was completely teeming with people and all the views were rocky and steep.
I met a trail worker at a sign near the lake who told me to go to Bill and Amy’s house for their party. I told him I wanted to help do trail maintenance and he said they were doing work in a week. I got really excited and took his number. Since Duster had told me about Bill and Amy already, I was feeling like I should go there. But I knew my problems were there too. I wondered if I could handle being at a big party surrounded by people again. Could I keep my peace?
I went on to the RPH Shelter and sat down to write in the trail log. Take It Easy had written a long letter with his contact information to Two Shoes. A few days before she just stopped walking. She wouldn’t go forward. She got off trail and went home.
I was reading the log when Sweet Pea walked into the cabin. It was such a nice place that I didn’t really want to leave, but she handed me a bag of white cheddar popcorn and said come to the party. I felt like an animal that had been fed following my owner. I got my shoes back on and we walked over the mountain to the house.
As we wandered up the drive we were greeted by a garage full of packs. I saw Gooroo’s pack sitting in there. And as we turned to see the house, the lower door opened and out crept Chezwick, same big old smile and sunglasses. He paused, as if caught in the act, then shuffled away with an even bigger smile on his face.
I cleaned up and then the festivities started. Bill offered me a beer which I happily accepted. I went up tho the porch and was reunited with Duster, Gooroo, Chezwick, Flip and Silent Force. We played games and chatted with the trail maintainers. I waved to the gentleman who had told me to come to the house.
The hikers were tittering about something so I wandered into the conversation. Sweet Pea and I were listening to them talk about sky diving. Everyone had decided to do a jump on the 5th with Bill’s skydiving club. Sweet Pea and I decided that we’d do it together.
It was such a privilege to be invited to jump; I am so thankful that we got to go together. It was all due to the kindness and efforts of Bill and Amy. I owe them my hike. They helped me so much more than any other group on trail. They are the greatest trail angels I have met and very good friends. I need to contact them more than I have. Thank you Bill and Amy! There aren’t enough thanks in the world for what you do for the trail community.
What an amazing Fourth of July! I wish I could be there this year too.
oh and Chezwick finally set off that 100-Saturn firework he’d been saving to set off next to Darwin’s tent! Oh well!
4th of July
Walked up to the RPH shelter and sat contemplating my lack of sociability when a hiker named Sweet Pea walked up. She’d hiked twenty miles that day and was headed to Bill and Amy’s house for their fourth of July party. It took a moment for her to convince me to go the last three miles for the party, but I am very grateful she pulled me along. We walked for what felt like forever blaring music until we came to the road crossing. We hung a right and walked up the road. We didn’t have the address, but the right house had a port-o-pottie out front which seemed like a dead giveaway.
Amy showed us around and we went straight in for food and a shower. They fed all the hikers a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Ice cream. We were playing games when Bill came over and set down a big pile of working gloves. We all grabbed a pair and followed him into the woods. The chainsaw was a frightening sound after being out in the woods for so long. He dropped a few dead trees and we hauled sections out into the yard. The trees were light so when I picked up an 8 foot section of tree and came walking out of the woods I was quite pleased with how ridiculous I looked being much small than the tree I was carrying. Bill arranged these into a giant bonfire. Later in the evening we lit up the massive blaze and Bill’s neighbors set off some fantastic fireworks that lit up the sky and silhouetted the surrounding forest. Chezwick set off the 100 Saturn explosions instead of waiting to light it off next to Darwin’s tent (he’d been carrying it for awhile).
There had been talk of going skydiving earlier in the day. Sweet Pea and I jumped on the bandwagon. My cynicism has turned and regained my faith in humanity.
What we find on the trail is always present but not always apparent. Don’t forget the hiker high when you are low- all you need to do is find that wall with the strength to climb it. Happy Fourth of July.