Let Me Tell You About Sue
I woke up giddy and exited to only be hiking 7 miles to Fontana dam where I’d be meeting my brother for a Nero. The promise of good company, lots of calories, and a hot shower was indescribable. My legs were beyond fatigued but I made it to the dam just a little short of the visitors center where Ryan would be scooping me up. A young man started walking in my direction telling me that his mom was at the top of the stairs with food and drinks aka TRAIL MAGIC!!! Considering I had about two hours to spare before Ryan should be arriving, I jumped at the opportunity. She had a whole spread… Sandwiches, drinks, chips, popcorn, candy etc. She was so happy I arrived, it was as if she couldn’t get everything set up quick enough. I expressed my gratitude and we had some great conversation. It turns out she lives 120 miles from there in Chatanooga! She does this trail magic twice a year to motivate the hikers and to hear their stories. She loves the trail and everything it represents. She follows trail blogs and has read many books about the AT. Unfortunately, her health will never allow her to hike it. She teared up talking to me and several other thru hikers as she heard stories of our adventure over the last couple of weeks. The passion she had for the trail was transparent and she lived vicariously through the hikers she met. Her husband spoke on how much she loved providing this trail magic and how she would talk about the hikers she met days after they returned home. I may have only spoke with Sue for an hour but she did what she intended to do. She motivated me and lifted my spirits. Yesterday kicked my ass and the day before even more so. Every part of my body ached and I wasn’t sure I could handle all the mountains I’d have to climb to make it Maine. Walking away from that trail magic I had an entirely different mindset. I’m so grateful for my health and the opportunity to live out my dream and that’s exactly what I intend to do. Thank you Sue…. From me and my trail family.
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