Happy Hikin’ Housewife
Hellooook-lahoma where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain;
Oh I sure would like to take a hike,
So its north to the mountains in Maine!
Howdy hikers! My name is April Lohmann, alias; The Walking Loon, but you can just call me Loon for short. The Good Badger (Zach Davis) has added me to the bullpen of bloggers for 2013.
Got to say that I feel downright honored to be given the privilege to share my two cents about the trail with ya’ll and am lookin’ forward to meetin’ all you happy hikers! It’s only fittin’ that I tell ya a little about myself so we can start the process of becomin’ good neighbors.
So, let me start by droppin’ the phony country cowhand accent as I am NOT a native Oklahoman but AM an Appalachian mountain girl from south-central Pennsylvania. My childhood home was about a mile west of the Appalachian Trail just past the Quarry Gap Shelter. The Long Pine Run Reservoir just to the east of that area of trail is where I saw my one and only Common Loon in the wild. It was a wonderful sight and I love listening to the call of this strange but fascinating bird. A lot of people think I’m loony for wantin’ to hike 2,000 miles, so I decided to adopt that name for myself. (Besides, Loons aren’t very good at walkin’ and I’m a bit clumsy myself, so I thought it fit me well.)
Anyhoo…one summer when I was about 8 or so years old, I just happened to be heading up into the mountains with my dad and a hiker carrying his pack crossed the road in front of our truck. I asked my dad, “What’s that guy doing here?” and my father proceeded to tell me about the Appalachian Trail and how it ran all the way from Maine to Georgia. In my remaining time living there, I don’t honestly recall ever seeing another hiker cross the road, but I never again passed that white-lettered, brown sign reading Appalachian Trail and an arrow pointing north into the forest without looking for hikers and dreaming of one day making the trip myself. But, just as the trail’s switchbacks and turns often have a hiker walking every direction but north (or south for you SoBos); life took me in many directions that didn’t seem to be leading to the accomplishment of this dream.
To make a long story short, I spent 5 years in the navy after high school, got married and instantly became a stepmother of three children to which we added three more of our own. Between school, scouts, sports, band, military moves and job changes, the dream of hiking the A.T. vanished like the morning mists. That is, until some good friends in Colorado moved into their new home on Katahdin Street this past year. As my friend is giving me her new address and spelling out Katahdin, she mentions that the street is named after some mountain in Maine. My natural curiosity leads me to search for more information about this mountain and I quickly discovered that this is the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.
Suddenly, it was like I had stumbled upon a box of old photos in the attic of my mind. At first it was just remembering that long ago I had dreamed of hiking the trail but the more I read and looked at the pictures of that mountain in Maine, the more the old emotions and desire to hike the trail grew inside me and that is how a childhood dream came to be re-born.
So, here I am, a middle-aged housewife with 9 grandchildren, no previous hiking experience, a bunch of new gear and some new friends stepping out with faith and determination to fulfill an old dream and hopefully to inspire others to never give up on accomplishing their dreams and desires. I know the day that I reach that spot on the trail where my dream was first born will be an emotional one for me and definitely a picture that I will want for my scrapbook.
So, that’s my story. I’m gonna mosey on along now. Thanks for takin’ the time to listen to my tale. Hope we’ll share many more stories around the campfires along the way. Happy Trails to you…until we meet again….
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