Thanking Our Angels
There are many things that will bring a smile to your face on the trail. The rolling hills, stunning vistas, and REAL silence all stimulate our senses and make the physical exertion we put forth more than worth it. We meet lifelong friends and share experiences that no one but our trail family would understand. We encounter more wildlife in one day than some people see in their entire lifetime. Drinking from mountain springs everyday… Does it get better than that? So many things made me smile when I hiked the first half of the Appalachian trail, but believe it or not one of the biggest smiles I remember was from a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. That’s right. I said it. A PBJ.
You know that kind of heat where your shirt sticks to your back and your stench sends rodents scurrying through the underbrush? It was one of those days. I was tired, cranky, and wanted to drink something cold. I was not looking forward to my daily lunch of tuna, crackers, and warm water at all. I decided to put off eating until I was absolutely starving.The monotony of a trail diet can really get to you. I came out of a pasture, crossed a small footbridge and was grateful for the balcony of trees I was approaching. As I entered the shade and began to climb the ascent, I saw what appeared to be a red cooler about 30 yards ahead. I knew not to let myself get excited. I had come across many coolers along the trail and they were always empty, picked clean by hikers from previous days. To my surprise it was filled with cold colas and PBJs! I was so thankful for the kind soul that left that cooler in the middle of nowhere. That act of generosity transformed my entire day. Throughout the next week, whenever I got down in spirits I’d think of that moment. I’d think about how someone I didn’t even know went out of their way to make someone like me smile, and then I’d smile again.
I have come across a LOT of amazing people along the trail from Georgia to Pennsylvania. Some of them have been people I’ve never met, like whoever left those sandwiches out, or the random metal boxes I’d stumble across filled with sodas and somewhere to empty my trash. There was even an old schoolhouse my trail family and I stumbled across that was stocked with apples, oranges, cold sodas, and toiletries. The people who go out of their way to help us have no clue how much it’s appreciated. I wish I could have met some of you nameless angels out there and thanked you in person. You brightened many of my days.
I was fortunate to get to meet some amazing angels. There was a couple I ran into right before Max Patch who had thru hiked the previous year. They had a spread of hotdogs, cookies, homemade cakes, beer, sodas, and chips. They were feeding about 12 hikers at the time. I wish I could remember their names. There was “Doc” in Lickdale, PA who not only picked me up while hitching, but gave me a place to sleep, shower, and do laundry. He even fed me breakfast the next morning! There was Mr. and Mrs. “219” in Duncannon,PA who let me sleep in their yard, cooked me dinner, and got me drunk! They were great people who had been helping AT hikers for over 10 years. I stayed at Stanimals hostel in Waynesborough,VA and he let me use his car to transport all my hiker friends around to resupply and to go see “A Walk in the Woods”. Some friends and I got picked up while hitchhiking in Buena Vista by a man named Sterling and he not only gave us a ride, but brought us warm blankets and clothes the following day because the rain had not let up and we were freezing. We ended up having to stay another day and he picked us up again and gave my friend a ride to the hospital to have her ankle looked at. There were just sooooo many amazing people. It saddens me to know that I will most likely not see any of them again. I want to thank you once more. Your willingness to help people in need enforces what I’ve always believed. We are each others angels. We all have to look out for each other. Thank you my Angels. I will try my best to give back what you’ve given.
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Clearing the path, finding the way deeds done in order to obtain their wings. Press on brother!
So many are displaced generations of descendants long to return to their native mountain top. Distracted with the daily Deepest desires forgotten
No experience on your journey is too insignificant to share for those of us who cannot be there.
Like a good book I can’t put down I’m foreshadowing you evolve…… learn to fly
“Give your more to receive your less- Marley