That Time OneFoot Bought a Washer/Dryer While on the Trail
“Duct tape on his shoes, sleeping on the ground, and eating out of pouches. This is my son living his dream.” That is a quote from OneFoot’s mom. She gets it. She knows how happy and fulfilled he is out there, duct tape and all.
That’s the advice from Sam Ducharme, aka Sam I Am, AT thru-hiker class of 2015. Coming from the same vocational background, OneFoot and Sam I Am know the value of a long walk in the woods. Sam also knows how quickly this time on the trail will go for OneFoot. He’s been encouraging OneFoot to take it slow on the trail since before this adventure even started. In Ray’s mind, he has been taking it slow. It seemed that way. Although, after a recent conversation with Sam, he got to thinking. At his current pace, if he makes it all the way to Katahdin, he’ll finish up in August. That’s just too early. Mind you, we aren’t taking the trail ahead for granted and don’t want to jinx anything. We all want to see OneFoot get as much as he can out of this experience. So thank you, Sam. Hearing from those who’ve walked ahead of you on the trail is a gift and the advice can be priceless. Learn from them.
OneFoot’s two feet.
Well, he’s gotten just about all he can out of his current pair of shoes. It’s the last of Leadville. As we mentioned before, New Balance discontinued the style of shoe OneFoot hikes in. In this particular pair, he did about 200 training miles prior to his March start and 400 AT trail miles. Now with duct tape holding the sole on, it’s time to retire them. Actually, it was time awhile ago but we miscalculated when he would need them. Lesson learned. He pulled into Hampton, Tenn., with some pretty tender tootsies. His new shoes are waiting for him in Damascus about 30 miles away. Hiker box to the rescue. Hiker boxes are physical boxes found along the trail in hostels, outfitters, motels, and other public places where hikers can leave or take items. Ray has frequently left food in the box for others to enjoy. Clothing and gear are often left as well. Now, just when he needed it, he found a pair of size 13 hiking shoes left by another hiker. That’ll do for the next 30-plus miles until he can retrieve his new pair. We hope.
There are no strangers on the trail. Just legends you haven’t yet met.
OneFoot and I have long followed stories from the trail. Be it in books, blogs, or social media, we have become familiar with some great people through their trail stories. Last year we met Jim Murray, AT class of 1989 and owner of property in New Jersey that he opened to hikers. We were out celebrating our anniversary by doing some hiking along the AT in New York and New Jersey. We stopped to overnight on the Murray property when we caught up with Mr. Murray himself. What a gift to spend some time chatting with him. Even more so as we learned that may have been the last year the property would be open. On his current AT adventure, OneFoot has some folks he’s keeping an eye out for. Among them is trail legend Bob Peoples, owner of the Kincora Hiking Hostel. On day 40 of this hike, OneFoot pulled into Kincora and got to shake Mr. Peoples’ hand. The man is a wealth of knowledge, Ray reports, and such a pleasure to listen to. While on the topic of trail legends, we have to mention OneFoot’s chance meeting with Matthew Odie Norman. Hard to not recognize Odie. OneFoot was very happy to spend a few minutes with him on the trail. Odie is known for his work on “The Hiker Yearbook,” a photographic record of individual Appalachian Trail hikers. A book, I might add, that OneFoot will be in this year. Thanks, Odie, for all your work.
Is Ibuprofen a blood thinner?
Not exactly the kind of text I want to get from OneFoot. A bit concerning to hear that he hit his head so hard on a branch that he ended up bleeding from the gash it left. But, no worries, another hiker looked at it, didn’t think it needed stitches, and offered that maybe OneFoot should duck before the next low-hanging branch. Good advice.
What did OneFoot buy at Home Depot?
I had spoken with OneFoot earlier in the day so I knew he wasn’t shopping at Home Depot in New Jersey. So why is there a charge of $931.90 on his credit card? Ugh. Yup, his account had been hacked. I went through the process of reporting the fraud and I let Ray know I’d get him a new card as soon as possible. I don’t write this lightly as this has been a very unsettling and stressful experience. The story doesn’t end there but for the purposes of this blog, I won’t go into further details. What have we learned? 1) Check your accounts frequently, daily even. Take advantage of the transaction notification system offered by your bank or card issuer. 2) In our case, it worked well to have the support person (me!) have access and authorization on all accounts. I’ve also identified some areas where we can tighten security on our accounts. Let’s hope we’ve seen the last of this type of activity. Damn hackers, get a real job. Oh, and if anyone sees OneFoot on the trail with a washer/dryer combo from Home Depot on his back, do let me know.
But who supports the support person?
I knew being apart from Ray for five to six months would be difficult. We met when we were barely 18 years old and have been together ever since. Watching him have this opportunity to live out his dream brings me more joy than I ever thought possible. I wouldn’t change a thing. That doesn’t mean I don’t have some low and lonely times. It is in those times when I discovered that I have the most amazing support team in my awesome family. They seem to know when I’m slipping and they throw out some love to stand me up straight again. An out of the blue call from my daughter, an impromptu hug from son, breakfast on a Sunday morning with my sisters, dinner invites from my folks… the love and support is endless and deeply felt. One of the greatest and most unexpected gifts the trail has given me personally is a renewed relationship with my cousin Suzanne who, for no apparent reason, I hadn’t seen in years. I text my family nightly with updates on Ray’s progress on the trail, and Sue is always quick to send a response that is sure to make me smile. I love that OneFoot’s time on the AT has brought so many together in our common goal to cheer him on and witness this great adventure. And I love that I’m surrounded by so many remarkable people who have my back. Always. Six months? We got this.
Until the Next White Blaze,
OneFoot and Should be Good
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