Yellow leaves drifted softly to the ground at the top of Bromley Mountain in Vermont. As Chief and I quietly hiked the Appalachian Trail, it dawned on me that autumn is nearly upon us. The fall season will mark our third of this A.T. adventure, having begun our hike last spring on April 13th.
If you have followed our journey you know that we hiked the Appalachian Trail NOBO (northbound) from Georgia to the middle of Pennsylvania, then at the end of July flipped up to Maine to hike the remainder of the trail SOBO back to PA. Currently, we have completed 1,734 miles with 455 miles yet to hike to complete the entire Appalachian Trail in one year.
Flipping has proven to be a good decision for us. We recently heard a statistic that the A.T. in Maine and New Hampshire accounts for 20 percent of the trail length but takes 80 percent of a hiker’s effort. I don’t know if that is true but it could explain why Chief and I were so utterly exhausted after our trek through those two states. We are, thankfully, reinvigorated and making good time as we continue SOBO. Other hikers tell us that the hardest part is over and “It’s all downhill from here.” We can validate that the trail is smoother, the mountains are not as high, and the temperatures are cooler.
The number of NOBO hikers that are passing us is dwindling. We did see Rocket and Timber the other day – two young ladies we knew from hiking in Virginia. They remain determined and spirited in their thru-hiking efforts. NOBOs have about 500 miles to reach Katahdin in Maine before the weather gets too brutal and their hiking season is over for this year.
Interestingly, we have met several SOBOs who began their thru-hike in Maine during June/July and are planning to finish in Georgia sometime before Christmas. McGhee and Frisbee are a young couple on such an adventure that have been hiking the same area as we are for the past several days. Their hike may include a bit of winter season where we anticipate a season with a long hibernation!
Last week, we camped at the home of Stash and Scooter who for years have allowed hikers to pitch tents in their yard. Stash and Scooter have a beautiful vegetable garden brimming with tomatoes, peppers, green beans, and herbs. The limbs of their mature apple trees are heavy with ripe fruit that Stash plans to use for cider. Chief and I were given free access to all of the seasonal vegetables and fruits. What a delicious treat! Also, a special thanks goes to Trail Angels in Vermont who gave rides to us – Super Kate and Nancy.
Chief and I ask that you please pray for John and the Gurney family. John was recently in the hospital and, although now at home, is struggling with a serious infection and new medications. Thanks to the many contributors who have already donated or who have pledged money for the “Hike For John”. It is greatly appreciated! John’s faith and trust in the Lord is a continual inspiration to us.
“He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:3
Embracing the Season, Chief and Toad