Roll the Credits!

Roll the Credits
Now that our epic adventure has ended, I would like to thank all the people who have helped us along the way and made this trip possible. 
When Mel and I started planning this journey more than a year ago, there were many logistics to consider. We expected to be gone for at least six months, so our first concern was what to do with the dogs. 

Corky and Brandy

We didn’t want to leave them in a kennel for six months, but who would take them? Ethan, our 4 year old grandson, and his mom (Kristin) and dad (Matt) agreed to take care of dear little Brandy.    

Ethan and Brandy


Matt, Kristin and Ethan

My good friend, Joni (and her husband, Jim) agreed to take our older, slightly demented dog, Corky. At least we could leave on our hike knowing that both dogs would be well loved and well cared for. What a wonderful gift! Thank you Ethan, Matt, Kristin, Joni and Jim. You rock!


Joni (of Joni and Jim)

The next road block to being gone for months at a time would be the odd bills and notices that might come in–like the property taxes I forgot about or the medical bills we accrued when Mel had his kidney stone. Most of our bills were set up to be paid automatically, but our bank didn’t have a system in place at the time we left where I could pay bills from my mobile device, so we had to find someone we could trust to pick up the slack. Mel’s twin brother seemed like a logical candidate! Not only did he take care of the bills, he mailed us equipment as we needed it AND he fielded calls from a neighbor when there were problems at home–like the time my car alarm went off in front of our house for no apparent reason at 6:00 in the morning! Thank you so much, Marty!


Marty (Backfire’s twin)

Then there was the matter of leaving our house ‘abandoned’ for six months. Well, we live in a condo, so that helped, but we still needed someone to water the plants, start the car once in awhile, flush the toilets, and make sure the water heater didn’t blow a gasket!. Our neighbor, Anita, handled all of that and more! She mailed out all the birthday and anniversary cards I had prepared ahead of time and she helped ‘capture’ our dog Corky who went AWOL from the dogsitter! Anita also made numerous offers to to pick us up no matter where we were–including Maine! Wow! Thank you, Anita!


Anita with her dogs, Bailey and Darby

Once all of our plans were in place and the dogs were settled in, my friends, Joni and Mary offered to drop us off at the airport even at the ungodly hour of 5:30 a.m.! They also offered to pick us up at the airport or the train station when we returned. Amazing! Thank you both!


Mary (of Joni and Mary)

We also have Trail Angels to thank. Early on in our adventure, I got a message from Nancy East who had been reading our blog. She wanted to host us for a night when we got near Waynesville, NC! Magic words to trail weary hikers! She not only picked us up and dropped us off at the trail, she took us to an outfitter and a grocery store, fed us a delicious dinner and breakfast, let us do laundry and sent us on our way with a mouth watering, homemade trail meal and to-die-for home baked cookies! A few days later, Nancy and her kids joined us on the trail to hike for a few hours. What a delightful respite we had with Nancy and her family.Thank you Nancy, Larry, Aiden, Paige and Wogene!


Nancy, Aiden and Paige on our hike

Another Trail Angel, Kathy Johnson, met us at the trailhead in Waynesboro, VA, gave us a tour of the town, took us to our motel, picked us up for dinner, met us for breakfast and took us back to the trail–plus kept us entertained with wonderful stories. Thank you so much, Kathy!


Our Trail Angel, Kathy, in Waynesboro, VA

Our other Trail Angels, Deb Bodner and David Lusk, who vacation near Harpers Ferry and live in Michigan, not only offered to host us when we came through Harpers Ferry, they drove us back home to Michigan after we decided to make Harpers Ferry our endpoint! Wow! What a wonderful and unexpected gift! Thank you both!


Dave and Deb who drove us back to Michigan!

Last, but not least, we have to thank all the people along the way who gave us rides or who offered us encouraging words via email, Facebook or phone, like Mel’s mom, Ginny. She was reluctant to see us leave and worried about our safety, but always sent encouraging words. Thanks, mom!


Backfire’s mom, Ginny, and our grandson, Paxton

Without all of you helping us and encouraging us, we could not have even attempted this adventure! Thank you from the very bottom of our trail weary feet!

From the Spider Diaries

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Comments 2

  • Christina Schmidlapp : Sep 24th

    Hi Spider, it’s Box Turtle! I last saw you and Backfire outside the library in Hot Springs, NC. Looks like you did a lot of hiking after that! I hoped I’d run into you after I decided to flip to Maine from Boiling Springs. Alas, I busted an ankle (fibula fracture) in NH and had to come home. Plan to finish PA-NH this spring.
    Have tried before to post greetings but was unsuccessful. I’ve thought of you guys, though, and send congratulations and best wishes.

    • Jeanne Church (aka Spider) : Jan 16th

      Hey Christina! I totally missed your comment in 2015 and only recently realized that my Trail Journal was still available online. I was reading over some of my posts and saw your comment that I had never responded to. I was sorry to hear about your broken ankle but hope you have had many happy hiking experiences since then. We haven’t been back to the trail but have done much shorter hiking excursions in the British Isles. I hope all is well with you!


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