A big hello to everyone from Paul! I wanted everyone to be able to hear from me once and awhile, so that was today’s version is.
I first want to give my regards and pay homage to the many ‘thru-hikers’ I have met and spent time with over the last few weeks. Many of you read our blog and keep up with us, so I am sure you will read this over the next couple of days. You girls and guys are my heroes! You started in Georgia when it was snowing and cold, have endured many terrible weather days and nights, but have persevered to over 11 or 12 or even 1300 miles. I hope to aspire to that. Keep doing what you are doing and we will run into each other again.
Today is an off day for me or as they refer to it here, a ‘zero’ day. We always move the RV forward on a ‘zero’ day and today we move to East Stroudsburg, PA, very close to the NJ Border. Sunday will begin our 6th week on the AT and we continue to learn things everyday and also meet some great, great people.
From the time we started in Virginia, the trail has surprised me with 2 things: the boulder and rocks and the slowness that causes, and the rain. I cannot adequately explain the boulder portions of the trail. Even showing you pictures would not show you the depth or the length of some of the trail these take up. They slow you down and make you pick and claw your way through, like a maze. The last two days I have had to ‘boulder scramble’. Some of you know what I am talking about. I had to throw my pack and poles up to another ledge and then climb up, finding places to put my feet. This went on for quite a while. I hadn’t had to do that since my Army days. The rain is another thing altogether. I wish we would get even 1/4 of the rain they are getting here. We would not have a drought in California. Yesterday was the first day in over 3 weeks I didn’t have to wear my rain gear. The boulders and the rain are the biggest adjustments I have had to make.
Susan has been absolutely amazing through all of this. She has become a ‘trail angel’. Those are people that surprise you with food and treats along the way. She has gone to a few of the shelters I have stayed at along the way and brought in goodies. A Wendy’s burger and fries, Hershey kisses, Hostess cupcakes and on and on and on. To see a hikers face when they get something like that is priceless. They are like a child on Christmas. One of the biggest compliments you can get from a thru-hiker is for them to give you their real name and email. We all have trail names, but when you get someone’s real one, you have gone above and beyond. Susan has gotten many real names and she is becoming a legend out here already. I have always been proud to be her husband, but when I see her make someone’s day in this way, it makes me even more proud. Drive on Susan, drive on!
Well, I am going to go for now. We miss you all very much, our families and friends. We talk about you often and pray for you everyday. A common theme amongst everyone I meet is how much they miss the ones they love. We do as well. I would love to hear from you all. You can leave a comment here and believe me, that would be the same as a trail angel in my book. You can also call and I know Susan loves to hear from all of you too. Our journey is not very long yet, but it is still fun and challenging and that what life is supposed to be. WE DRIVE ON!