The way home
Alison and I took the long way home. I don’t know how many miles there are to get from Maine to South Dakota, but we definitely took the scenic route.
First up was visiting Ila Lynch in Hudson New Hampshire. Ila lives about 4 hours from Bangor where we had been hanging out. Ila was Alison and my babysitter for several years when we were little. Her two little boys were very excited to see us and told us about all the new things that they had. It was pretty cute.
Next stop was Patrick and Becky Welsh’s house in Hanover PA. Patrick (aka Reaper) and us hiked together for awhile before he got rocky mountain spotted fever and had to get off the trail near Erwin TN. Patrick is feeling much better, but is still not 100%. It has been pretty rough on him. It was good to see them again. They both showed us their re-enactment attire which was pretty cool. There is a lot that goes into doing that. We slept on this awesome couch/futon. It took a bit to figure out but it was an experience! :)
Harrisonburg VA and a stop to see Molly Boese for a quick lunch at Mr. J’s. I am Molly’s mentor from church. We have kept in contact and I really enjoy her. :) I have actually seen her in Harrisonburg every year that she has been at EMU. That is pretty incredible because I live in South Dakota! Of course we went to Kline’s ice cream before we left town!
Al and Ashley live in Greensboro NC. Alison and I met Al and Ashley in Georgia, less than a week into our hike. They were section hiking and are planning on doing the whole trail eventually. We met them when we were camping by a road when we all decided we didn’t want to walk 1.2 miles down a side trail to the Whitley Shelter. We so enjoy their sense of humor and we hit it off right away. We talked about the trail and it was really fun to see them again.
Comma-Kaze is from Clover South Carolina and she, Blue Sky, Castaway and I hiked together through some of Virginia. More reminiscing happened and Alison and I even played a little guitar. It had been a long time since I had touched a guitar. It didn’t take long for my fingers to hurt. Comma fed us a lovely chicken salad sandwich and banana bread. Yum. It was too bad that we couldn’t stay longer at places.
Sylva NC was our first home stay on the trail. Gail and Jay Gibson kept us for 2 nights and it was so wonderful! We wrote about them earlier in the blog. It was really fun to come back and remember how we had spread everything out all over their porch and dried it out. This time we were treated to grilled ribs and our own bed. :) Once again it was lovely to talk about Viborg and we just felt very much at home.
Buzz Trexler and his daughter Elizabeth joined us for lunch near Knoxville TN. Buzz and two of his friends hiked with Reaper and I in the Smokies. We really enjoyed Buzz’s love of Christ and devotions we had with the three of them. Gypsy was the one that gave me the challenge coin to carry to Katahdin. We talked about Buzz’s upcoming section hikes and enjoyed some BBQ.
Corinth MS is the home of X and N Trovert. We had supper with Susan Adams and her husband. Susan was our trail angel for part of NH and ME. We really appreciated her being there for us. The next morning Alison, myself, X and N all ran/walked a 5K race. It felt strange to race, but I ended up getting second in my age group! An 8 minute pace never felt so hard! :) X got third in her age group and N got first in his. N worked at Shiloh Battlefield and so we did some Civil War learning at the interpretive center and then went to the battlefield. There was some information overload, but it was vey interesting. We don’t have a lot of Civil War stuff in South Dakota.
Our last visit was to my college friend in Lewis KS. Amanda and her family hosted us, fed us and we caught up. Her sons Eli and Ethan entertained by flying around in their capes. It was very good to see them and tell them stories of the trail. Amanda’s parents are like my second parents and I thank Kenny and Nancy for their support and prayers over this trip.
Alison had an interview for a nursing position in Torrington WY so we headed there before going home. Seemed on the way? After 20 minutes we were on our way home finally. On our way through NE we saw Car Henge and a rest are that included a recliner and a toilet on bales. I had no idea western NE was so funny! I loved it. If we weren’t on our way home I would have stopped to take pictures, but as it was I was ready to get home.
We arrived at the Neufeld residence at 11:30pm central time. It was way past hiker midnight but it was worth it. Finally our own beds. I will be doing some more blogs about gear and some reflections about the trail.