Ok, let’s backtrack a little. Here she is on Day 1.
What an accomplishment! Lucky me, I got to witness the marvelous event.
While I drove to Greenwood Lake, about a two hour drive, every so often I would get a text; “7 miles out!” I arrived at the approach trail, just as she sent another text. “6 miles to go!”
I was just about to park and I saw an elderly woman walking to her mailbox at the end of her lane. I asked her where she thought would be a good place to take my friend for some food after I meet her up on the Trail. I told her that she was finishing the whole trail ” right up there!” “Oh my,” she said. “Let me think.”
Just then her daughter drove in and walked over. My new friend said to her daughter, ” This nice man is picking up his daughter right now. She’s finishing the Appalachian Trail just up there!” We all know SB is not my daughter, but it did make me smile.
We decided on the Murphy’s Tavern, just at the end of the street.
Now, I figure she’s about 5 miles out.
The approach, a blue blazed trail, is .9 miles long. It’s pretty much up hill, so I wasn’t sure how long it would take me. I haven’t hiked for 3 months. I parked, got my gear, and started up.
Kelly (SB) said it was, “pretty steep.”
It took me about 30 minutes. There I was, at the junction of the approach trail and the AT. Now, she’s maybe 4 miles out.
I decide to hike toward her as long as it stays pretty flat. So, I hike a bit and wait. No one coming. I check my watch 10 minutes have passed. She’s still over 3 miles away!!!
I came up here way too soon!!!
I’m thinking to myself. Hmmm, she will have hiked 17.5 miles when she finishes. She could be tired by now. It could take her another hour and a half to get here!
Now the mosquitoes are coming out of the evergreens sensing a warm blooded animal. As soon as I stand still, they land. So, I hike back to the junction. Then up the trail a bit. Then back to the junction.
I text her. “2 miles left!” she says.
When I figure she’s about a mile and a half away, I start up the Trail. I’ve decided to meet her now. No more mosquito dodging. I just walked. I’m not sure how long it was but suddenly I heard,”Doug!!!!”
There she was. Big smiles all around.
“Me: “Is it ok if I walk this last bit with you?”
“Yes!!!!! Of course! I’m so glad to have someone to talk to!”
Off we went. Me in front. We talked. And talked. And walked. She’s a good hiking partner. I was tired. I stumbled a lot. She didn’t push me, even though she had more energy after 16+ miles!
Then I looked up and saw the the junction. “There!” I said. I let her pass me and finish. “This is the signpost I’ve been looking for!!!!” She says. Finished!!!!!!
We hiked down the mountain to my car. I had decorated a little with some balloons that Yolande helped me pick out that morning.
Such an honor for me to be there. To help her a little. She has no idea how much she has helped me for the last year. It was really fun to follow her journey.
This trail is Magic.
We went to Murphy’s. She had a bacon cheeseburger. Me, meat loaf. Then we drove the 2 hours back to our flat, stopping for ice cream just when we got to town. Chocolate for Yolande. I convinced Kelly to try Bassett’s Vanila Peanut Butter, a local Philadelphia company.
It was nearly midnight! Didn’t matter. We had an ice cream party!
Landi was so welcoming and really happy to meet Kelly. She’s been following her FB posts all along the way, and had a room all ready for her. A cozy spot for our honored guest!
I hardly slept. I was up early and off to the store for orange juice and bacon, to go with the pancakes. Bacon, because I remembered that Kelly had ordered bacon on her cheeseburger.
Little did we know, pancakes and bacon was her favorite breakfast! Coincidence or more Trail Magic. I say Magic.
You can’t plan stuff like this!
Sleeping Beauty was the best overnight guest, EVER! We were so happy to have her.
Kelly and Landi hugged good bye, and I took Sleeping Beauty to Philadelphia to catch the bus South.
We drove in to the city the pretty way, on Kelly Drive. Kelly Drive? More Magic I think.
Past the Art Museum and the Rocky Balboa Statue. There was a long line of people waiting to have their picture taken with “Rocky.”
We parked and went to the Reading Terminal Market. We both got sandwiches for later and Kelly bought us cookies! Our favorites. Oatmeal Raisin for me and Double Chocolate for Yolande!
They were so good!
Then to the Greyhound Bus terminal.
One last shot:
We miss her. She’s our friend now. Not just some random hiker I gave a ride to.
Go Well Sleeping Beauty. We know you will! All the Very Best!