Fourth of July in DC: A Sailor’s Memorial, Visiting Friends, and a Car Accident
Hey, everyone. @BarefootHiker here. As of this post, I am still at Mile 862. I will have rested for almost two weeks before attempting to get back to the Appalachian Trail. Currently, I am attempting to contact the Salem VA Center for insurance coverage of my emergency room visit for my toe. It can be difficult sitting on an hour-long hold to voicemail, but I can’t afford to pay the bills myself.
During my break, I rented an SUV from Charlottesville to drive around DC. It would be a good way to take a break and relax from recent injuries; or so I thought. I’d been stationed at Fort Meade, Maryland, as an intel analyst during my first years in the Navy, 2005-2007. I’d also made many friends from leading my hiking groups in Hawaii. I was able to reconnect and visit during the Fourth of July weekend and offered places to stay for the duration.
Saying Goodbye to a Friend and Sailor
I was stationed in Hawaii for eight years. During that time, I’d met incredible people. One such leader and amazing sailor was Petty Officer First Class Harden. Duane was a strong man of God, a quiet and contemplative leader as well as an all-around helpful and caring person. We’d talked at random times in my fight to lower sailor morale issues and suicide rates on Hawaii. He worked hard for his sailors and was respected by the command and community. As I headed into DC, I found out Harden had succumbed to cancer, and I was honored to share in his Life Celebration in Gambrills, MD on July 2. As my injuries creep into my thoughts over completing the trail, I remember there are those who can’t continue to enjoy life’s moments. I should be thankful and strong for those who fought and lost their battles. I will carry a momento of his service with me to Katahdin. Rest In Peace, Shipmate.
Dealing with Disaster
As I headed to stay with a friend, an ill-placed U-Turn ended in a collision, one of my firsts. A police officer didn’t have to file his report, and I was insured. The other driver and I weren’t injured. It just hits at a time when my Trail experience has been especially tough. I’m thankful for my friend who helped me through the anxiety of being in the city again, letting me vent, as well as helping me by hosting me at her studio in Arlington.
She’s actually an amazing photographer. If you would, show your support and like her Instagram page at @overtheseatoskyephotography. She posts some amazing shots from her trips abroad; most recently Iceland!
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