Angel Wings

Angel Wings is a unique and special creature, truly one-of-a-kind. She is probably the most soulful and sweet of all children, often putting others’ needs before her own. Pretty remarkable for a nine-year-old. She’s a cuddler and a smoocher and a general ignorer of one’s personal space, as are all my kids, but she’s pretty next level. She’s quick to pray for somebody and quick to sacrifice. And oh yeah, she’s a purebred hiker, through and through… or, in the hiking community, thru-and-thru.

Angel Wings mugging up for Mommy.

Big things, small packages

Angel Wings probably packs our biggest punch/pound. She’s undeniably slight. I mean super tiny. Like she needs to run around in the shower to get wet. But the girl can haul a pack. Don’t get me wrong, she’d rather not, but she understands the concept of team, and is willing to do her part and load up with a dozen pounds or so, occasionally pushing near twenty. She carries her own stuff, plus the kids’ quilts and a sleeping pad. Solid team player. And those skinny little chicken legs of hers… they will go forever. 

Those little legs never stop. Here Angel Wings was super proud of her second antler shed. Hiking out of the Winds, she only had to carry this one a couple days??, much less than her first shed.

Addison is also typically the first to offer to watch her baby sister, and she’s proven herself responsible and observant and engaging. She loves to make Dead Weight smile. Her attention to the infant is doubly remarkable, as Angel Wings typically has the shortest attention span of all my children. (Hey, look! A bunny!!!) But when it’s time to buckle down, the girl can get it done.

Angel Wings found NINE license plates on the CDT’s many road walks. (And we did bonus road walks to shortcut a bit in Montana.)

Angel Wings or Trash Queen ?

One of Angel Wing’s greatest motivators is trash. Like, literally, trash. Over the course of the trail, she collected:

  1. Three construction flags. 
  2. A pool noodle. 
  3. Two antler sheds, one of which she carried for four days strapped to the top of her pack. 
  4. Two American flags. Go ‘murica. 
  5. NINE license plates (what’s the deal, Montana and Wyoming???)
  6. A football, a golf ball, a racquetball, a small basketball and a tennis ball. 
  7. Two sharpies. 
  8. A flippin’ heavy wrench. 
  9. Remote-controlled car, without the remote. 
  10. Four spools of thread and a half dozen plus needles. 
  11. An oooooold Nokia cell phone. 
  12. A book on advanced tennis. (She’s never touched a tennis racket.)
  13. A parrot puppet. 
  14. Myriad tent stakes. 
  15. A dog tag. 
  16. Enough rocks to fill a quarry. 
  17. Glasses. 
  18. A tablespoon. 
  19. Several sunglasses. 
  20. A bungee cord. 
  21. A pack of utility knife blades. 
  22. And so much more but my wrists are cramping typing it all out. 

Angel Wings collected so many treasures. So. Many. Treasures. She definitely needs to carry more weight on the PCT.

We packed all the trash to wherever we could next dump it in the van, or leave it with somebody who would get it back to the van. She’s a packrat, for sure. 

Angel Wings displaying her highly capable mouth. Apparently also capable of eating small creatures.

The Mouth

Addison’s greatest claim to fame up and down the trail is her mouth. It. Never. Stops. Ever. Our family says, ‘How do you know Addison is asleep? You can’t hear her.’ If she’s awake, she’s talking. The girl would spend her entire day in the principal’s office if she attended a brick and mortar school. She simply would be incapable of shutting up in class. Of course, I don’t think she’d mind her trips to the principal, as she would have one-on-one adult attention, her favorite thing of all time. And I doubt the principal would mind it, as he’d have a most lovely partner to engage in conversation with. She really is a delight. As long as you don’t require silence. 

Angel Wings was a phenomenally-attentive motivator of her little sister, The Beast. Whenever The Beast got down, Angel Wings was always there to pick her up and distract her with fairy tales they’d invent.

Motivating Mouth

Folks bail on thru-hiking for plenty of reasons, many of which you could imagine. Injuries trying to hike so far every day for months on end. Running out of money, easy to do when you’re constantly starving and craving a hot shower, not to mention the top-end gear we all drool over isn’t cheap. Some leave the trail because they received the revelation they set out to attain and have no more on-trail purpose. However, most hikers get off trail because they are lonely. We spent three weeks in New Mexico seeing nobody outside our own family on trail. Imagine that as a solo hiker. Most all thru-hikers will admit to talking to themselves at some point during their hike. They go down the rabbit hole inside their own heads and can no longer pull themselves out. That’s when they know it’s time to get off trail. 

This duo right here gets me every time.

Our family has never had that luxury. The peace and solitude everybody talks about? You know, the reason they head out into nature? To unplug and unwind and reconnect with whatever hippie madness they’re trying to reconnect with? Yeah, we’ve never experienced that. You see, we have Angel Wings. I should clarify, she’s a lovely girl, but she’s not a real Angel. She’s a singing, humming, jabbering, story-telling, what-if-ing, blabbering, pressing, yapping, questioning set of lips with a mass of protoplasm attached to it for the sole purpose of blathering on some more. I couldn’t possibly love her more. Unless, of course, she could shut up from time to time. I swear she has a 12-hour-long run-on sentence from sunup to sundown, mostly revolving painfully around mermaids and fairies, to which I masterfully feign interest. 

The start in New Mexico.

The Payout

But the hugs and the kisses and the ‘I love you’s and those darn smiles that melt me… I suppose the prattle is a small price, one I’ll choose to gladly pay every day for the rest of my life, so long as she’ll have her old Daddy around. She is 99% heart, 1% skin and 150% mouth. (I’m a mathematician, trust me, it checks out.)

Angel Wings is a sponge of affection. She soaks it up and immediately wrings herself out onto whomever she thinks requires that love.

Angel Wings also rolled into the Canadian border as a record-breaker, breaking the record her brother has stolen from her eldest brother just moments before. She was the youngest to hike along the CDT (although not redline the entire way) from Mexico to Canada in a single year.

Angel Wings, the go-to babysitter. ?

So if you’re out on the PCT this year and you want to see some wildlife… you definitely shouldn’t hike anywhere near our family. We don’t sneak up on nuthin’. Any wildlife we have seen, wanted to be seen. I can guarantee they heard us coming like a stampede of thru-hikers at an all-you-can-eat brunch.

Thick as thieves, these two ?

Here’s to you, Angel Wings. May that beautiful mouth never stop engaging, encouraging, distracting, motivating, loving your family on up the trail. You were the kid pushing 100% every day from the beginning, ‘But we HAVE to finish the Triple Crown!’ until your siblings caved for you. So here we are. No let’s get going!

Angel Wings earned this terminus 100%. Not only did she haul her own butt across the country, she loved her family up the trail every day.

To see the bio of the next oldest in the family, click here…

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Comments 2

  • Maureen O'Bryan : Mar 6th

    I think I need to take Angel Wings with me on my next section hike to ward off all kinds of creatures lurking out there!

    • The Family : Mar 17th

      She’d be up for it! 😉


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