Mother of Pearl. I’ll tell you one thing this ridiculously cold weather has done and that is it’s made me positively LONG for the summer. Not only is it painfully cold outside – which makes me daydream about the heat – but there is something else reminding me that Summer is coming.
All the people heading northbound from Georgia that will try to conquer the Appalachian Trail are gearing up and talking about it on the AT Facebook groups I’m on. Heck, one lady was supposed to start this weekend before the winter storm hit! So, my Instagram feed is soon to be taken over by people posting hopeful pictures on Springer Mountain as they set forth. Hopeful if not totally realistic – only around 20% that set out to complete it actually do. The Southbounders – those that start in Maine and work their way towards Georgia – won’t start until much later.
Not to wax too poetic…er, did I use that phrase in my last post? Oh well, it’s a free blog, you get what you pay for…Not to wax too poetic about the Appalachian Trail but I’m telling you it positively calls me. It calls me!
You know who else calls me? These characters.
So my thru hike dreams are on hold for a long long LONG time.
Right now, I’m just working on the fourteen state challenge – putting my feet on the AT in all fourteen states. So far, I’ve only gotten Tennessee, North Carolina and Maine. Going to knock out Virginia this summer hopefully.
This guy is doing it with me.
James, the eight grader. My goodness. Look at the length of his hair! This summer we – okay, for the record it was me and not Billy – told him he could grow his hair as long as he wanted. He took us up on it. This was only midway thru the summer! He still had almost at entire month of growing to go before he had to cut it for school.
While the younger kids were at Summer Camp we went to Boston and Maine with Billy. After Billy went home we headed inland to pick up the Appalachian Trail at Abol Bridge.
You should have seen me in that rental car trying to find the trail. ‘Well, you turn up there at the new road but it hasn’t been new for thirty years so it may not look new to you then you take a left at the big tree.‘ Really not sure how we ever found it.
Other things we found: the evidence of beaver activity…
…and really beautiful scenery.
Here is what we didn’t see: bears, snakes, moose, or really any kind of wildlife besides birds, fish, and black flies – which I’ll get to in a minute. Believe me – I’ll get to it.
Because of my Appalachian Trail obsession I read all the trail memoirs I can get my hands on. I even read both the tomes those whiny barefoot sisters wrote. Seriously, they hiked barefoot.
I tried it. The earth didn’t sing.
I’ll stick to my boots, thanks.
One of the things every single AT book I’ve read goes into detail about is the black flies in the north. I didn’t understand how black flies could possibly be that troublesome but GRACIOUS GOODNESS THEY ARE FROM THE DEVIL. We had the most idyllic AT experience ever until about four pm. Then, it was like a light switched on and these wee beasts descended upon us.
They were relentless. I’ve really never experienced anything like it. I tried to tell a few people about it and they were kind of like ‘uh, sorry the little flies bothered you.’ I guess you just can’t understand until you’ve experienced it. I am not exaggerating when I say I counted twenty seven on James at one point. TWENTY SEVEN. What began as a leisurely walk back to the car ended up as an all out sprint to get there.
Clearly this was before the black fly invasion. Black Fly Invasion – kinda sounds like a punk rock group, huh. Except these critters were not punk at all. They were bad, BAD I TELL YOU. Even crazier when we got back to our car they followed us – I mean they flew after us for a good mile. Now, we were on dirt roads and weren’t going too fast but still!
Even with the flies what a gift our day was. Any day I get to get on the AT is an awesome day and doing it with James – who is 99% gaming and comic books most of the time – was even better.
One of these days I’m going to do it!
“Remember that day last week when you couldn’t sleep because you didn’t have your favorite pillow?”
Shut it, kid. No one asked you. I AM going to do it.
“Will I be joining you on this venture?”
Look, it’s a long term goal. LONG term. Like, the amount of time it felt like those black flies were following us.
Until then, eleven more states to go!