[at-l] Six Years Ago Today

EHamilton imagainst_the_wind at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 4 17:41:55 CDT 2010


From: Art Cloutman <Art at crystalacresnh.com>
To: at-l at backcountry.net
Sent: Sun, April 4, 2010 8:47:09 AM
Subject: [at-l] Six Years Ago Today

It was not Easter Sunday.  I started my hike from the Springer 
Mountain after spending the night at Black Gap Shelter with April 
Showers, Ladybug, Trainman, and Hoover.  I met April Showers and 
Ladybug on the internet, probably through AT-L.  Trainman is April 
Showers' husband.  He brought her to the trail and hiked with her for 
a few days.  Hoover is the father of three of my former students.  He 
drove me all the way from Connecticut to the trail and hiked with us 
for 6 days.  Hoover left the trail at Tray Gap where Pittsburgh had 
organized a thru hiker bash which he claimed was in my honor.  That 
honor served me well for the next 7 months.  Hikers remember that 
great party with the free food and drinks, live entertainment, a nice 
bonfire and wonderful encouragement for the rest of their hikes.  Two 
days before I finished my hike I ran into people flipping that 
recognized me from that party.  I, also, met Bone Spur on Springer 
Mountain that day.  He was in the FS 42 parking lot saying good bye 
to his wife.  He didn't have a trail name but was feeling 
apprehensive because of recent surgery for bone spurs.  I offered 
that as his trail name and he liked it.  Bone Spur was very upset to 
see his wife leave.  He was sitting on a log with his head in his 
hands when I approached him and invited him to hike with us for a few 
days.  We were going to meet Pittsburgh at the logging road to 
Hickory Flats Church Pavilion.  Pittsburgh brought water and some of 
our supplies.  There was a family camping at the pavilion that 
offered us food.  We spent the night with them then headed out the 
next day.  As I recall,  all of the people that I had started with 
headed out at a faster pace from Tray Gap.  I ran across Ladybug a 
couple of times after that but never saw April Showers or Bone Spur 
again.  All of us finished our hikes.  I understand that April 
Showers injured her leg/ankle in the Whites and came back the next 
year to complete a thru hike.  The further north Bone Spur hiked the 
faster he moved so he could get back home with his lovely wife. 
Ladybug completed her hike about a month before I finished.  She was 
doing her hike as a fund raiser in honor of her sister who died of 
breast cancer.  I met some wonderful people on the trail that help 
push me to the finish line.  Julie and Bill Clark woke up on Tray 
Mountain Shelter after Bill hid M&M's around the campsite so Julie 
could  celebrate Easter Sunday with an Easter Egg Hunt.  We 
leapfrogged and hiked together all the way to Dennis Cove where Pokey 
and I left the trail for a few days to hit Trail Days and to visit 
with my wife who drove all the way from New Hampshire to spend a few 
days with me.  The hardest separation occured when I had to watch her 
drive away from Dennis Cove heading back to NH.  But that very day I 
met Burnie.  Pokey, Burnie and I hiked together to Damscus.  We 
continued to hike together through Virginia where we met Katie and 
Rainbow.  I Pokey and I actually met Rainbow at Elmer's where she was 
trying to hook up with the Bandana Ladies.  They separated eventually 
and Rainbow asked to hike with us at Chestnut Nob Shelter.  I many 
many more people on the trail, so many that I cannot mention them. 
Katie and Burnie finished at Baxter Peak 10 days before Pokey and I 
reached the summit.

Life is Good!!!
Art Cloutman
at-l mailing list
at-l at backcountry.net

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