[at-l] trip report

hopeful_2003 at comcast.net hopeful_2003 at comcast.net
Sun Nov 14 19:41:43 CST 2010

Hey y’all, Mrs Hopeful and I just returned from doing some trail magic for the sobos at the Fontana Hilton. The first week of November Lastminute (GAME03), a mother and daughter from our church and I hiked Newfound Gap to Davenport Gap. There were 2 goals. One was to leave word in the logs about the hiker feed and the other was to help the mom and daughter get their first real taste of long distance hiking. Well, I know there are those who don’t see 32 miles as long distance but for newbess it is. They were both trooper and never complained about anything. The first day out was 11 miles which was enormous for the newbees. Among their first tastes was hiking into the shelter well after dark. They were clearly anxious when it became certain that the sun would be well down before we made camp. Anxious or not, they pushed through showing no real fear. I guess Lastminute kept them encouraged. Another first was the snow we woke up to on the second morning. Actually, it snowed lightly but none stop for 3 days. By the time we got out there was a foot down with drifts deeper. On the second day I began worrying whether I needed to form Plan B in the event the snow got bad. I knew we had no immediate option but to press on that day and then consider bailing on day 3. I told them that Plan B had merit because if we bailed to the Cosby campground, they’d get to sleep a night on the restroom floor while I hiked on to contact Ox (GAME99) to give us a ride back to my car. They missed out on that first :) As it turned out, they were heart set on hiking on to the end. Somewhere along the trail on day 3, the daughter turned to me with a smile wide as sunset and bubbled out, "I can’t believe I’m living this adventure!" From that point on I stopped worrying whether I had got them in over their heads. They learned a lot: hiking after dark is not the same as being lost, you can keep warm even while hiking in the snow with damp clothes, damp clothes can be dried in your sleeping bad, nalgenes full of hot water down in you sleeping bag keep the chills at bay, mice don’t ambush hikers. It was a wonderful trip and all the more enjoyable watching newbees get trail broke and reliving my early hikes through their questions and revelations. 

Last week we took grub to the hilton and enjoyed some time with both sobos and section hikers. The brother and sister in law of a sobo came to visit him. The sister in law could hardly believe that we were there to do a feed. She was really taken aback when she learned how many folks who were not in attendance had contributed stuff to make the feed possible. They gave everything from plates and forks, to soft drinks, to fire wood, to veggies for stir frying. A trailer was loaned so we could haul in a rick and have a big fire several nights. There was plenty of wood left for hikers to come. One of my most enjoyable moment was watching the notion sink into her that there are lots of folks in and out of the community who care about the community. I can’t speak for anybody else but I had a great time. If all that wasn’t enough, Codygirl stopped by and we got to meet face to face. I’ll let her tell about her adventures. Hopeful
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