[at-l] Hopeful update

Sara Wilson kyvcat at aol.com
Thu Apr 14 16:53:59 CDT 2011


Thanks for that great report. I'm so glad Hopeful is doing so well and having such a good time. All this just sounds like a typical Hopeful story. I can't wait to see him when he gets up into our neck of the woods. Sounds like he's making good time too.

Vcat


On Apr 14, 2011, at 11:56 AM, Tenacious Tanasi wrote:

> Yesterday after getting off from work, I arrived home and began cooking dinner.  Michael arrived shortly thereafter, and we chatted about our day as our meal was finishing up.  Then we went out on the front porch to eat.  Michael stated that he was glad to have a relaxing evening at home (keep this comment in mind ...  :).
>  
> After dinner we relaxed in the swing while he had called his step mom, Connie, who is in the hospital for having her foot and lower leg amputated.  While he spoke to her I pulled out my cell and was browsing through fb... when what to my wondering eyes did appear?!  A post that a couple of Trail Angels (Ox and Squirrel Friend) were headed up to Mt Collins Shelter to surprise Hopeful with some birthday cupcakes.
>  
> Now this whole story actually began way back in 1999 when Ox and Hopeful met at Stecoah Gap.  They had both arrived there to do Trail Magic for hikers... and a fast friendship was formed.  Both have a deep revere of the mountains and devout love for keeping trails maintained so that folks could get out there and enjoy the trails meandering through nature providing soul rejuvenating experiences.
>  
> And, thus began joint treks to do trail maintenance and magic for hikers in celebration of not only hikers but also of their deep friendship.  They began doing trail magic annually at Browns Gap together.  At some point along the way Ox learned that Hopeful's birthday was April 15 which was typically around the time that they did the Browns Gap magic. 
>  
> In 2003 Hopeful began his own trek up the Appalachian Trail fulfilling a long time dream....only he forgot to tell Ox that he wasn't going to be there at Browns Gap to do their annual trail magic... he'd be there to receive it this time as a thru hiker!  However, that year it came a horrible snow storm and the going was slow and rough through the Smokies.  Hopeful had had one issue or another and it was taking him longer than what he would have wanted.  After not seeing Hopeful at Browns Gap, Ox had learned that Hopeful was on the trail and was somewhere in the Smokies.  So, he had a huge cake baked up and headed up to Newfound Gap to try to catch Hopeful to surprise him for his birthday.
>  
> Ox shoveled out a spot at Newfound Gap parking lot and set up his canopy to await Hopeful.... for 2 days he went back and he waited... as other hikers came through they partook of Hopeful's wonderful birthday cake and Ox's trail magic in honor of him.  But, Ox never saw Hopeful who was socked in at Derrick Knob shelter.  For the next month as Hopeful went up the trail he met more and more people that thanked him for his birthday cake and told him how wonderful his birthday celebration had been. Poor Hopeful... he had missed it all. 
>  
> So, yesterday after Ox had gotten home from work as he and Squirrel Friend were enjoying their supper, they discussed Hopeful's birthday... and Connie made the comment that it was a shame that they couldn't surprise him for his birthday....and Ox said... well why not?!  So off they went!  When Connie made the post on fb I asked Michael if he'd like to do some trail magic... he said sure what weekend... wish you could have seen his face when I told him right then!  It was around 7:30 pm!  LOL
>  
> We grabbed coats, headlamps, a pack, stuffed some of my home made chocolate chip cookies into a freezer bag, and out the door we went.  We stopped to pick up some milk and cups (cuz what is birthday cupcakes without milk?  lol), and zipped over to the Sugarlands Visitor Center.  There we jumped into Ox's GMC and off we went up the mountain.  And, anyone that has ever ridden with Ox knows... just close your eyes and pray til it is over.  I think Michael was OK until we slid around that one curve.  LOL!!! 
>  
> We pulled in at the roadside parking along Clingman's Dome access road, and up the trail we went.  This is the first time I have been out hiking in several months due to the pregnancy, but it was only 0.6 of a mile.  Ox said that it really wasn't that bad, and so I wasn't worried about it.  But, Lawdy have mercy!  I was quickly out of breath and my 4th month of pregnancy suddenly felt like the 9th!  The baby weighed a ton and was pulling me forward.  A little ways on up the trail I settled into the walk, but I had to shed my fleece jacket and got down to my t-shirt because I was so hot.  I threatened to get down to my bra, but Michael wouldn't hear of it.  LOL 
>  
> The 45ish degree cold air was absolutely wonderful against my skin, and even in the dark the trail was gorgeous!  The smell of the rich, loamy earth drifted on the breeze with a hint of pine.  And water trickled along the trail, sparkling in the light of our headlamps.  Overheard the clouds glowed like opals against the star studded backdrop of the night sky.  Oh, how I have missed this so! 
>  
> Ox and Squirrel Friend had gone on ahead, but waited at trail junctions to show us the way to the Mt Collins Shelter.  They arrived before we did, and Ox came hiking back up toward us.  He told me that the shelter was vacant and no one was there... then promptly burst out laughing at the looks on our faces.  lol
>  
> We walked over to the shelter where as you could very well guess all of the hikers were very much asleep...including Hopeful.  Ox ventured into the shelter and after waking a few found Hopeful in the very back.  lol  Very quickly we were joined outside by some of them and then a very joyful Hopeful hiker ran out with a wonderful look of awe on his bearded face.  It was hugs and handshakes all around, and then everyone dug into the cupcakes and milk. 
>  
> We hung out for a little while with them, and then headed back out so they could get some rest.  The walk back out was OK for me except for a couple of big step downs that jarred my belly a little.  I could tell that I was tired though because my feet were dragging all the way back out.  This certainly wasn't our evening walk down at the school track which is level and we typically do 2-3 miles at a time.  And, Michael fussed over me making me take his headlamp because mine was a little dimmer...while I joked he needed a stronger light because he was farther from the ground than I was.  LOL
>  
> As we settled down in bed together after 11:00 pm, Michael wrapped his long body around mine hugging me back into his broad chest with one hand laying on my belly.  With his breath gently blowing in my ear, he chuckled softly to himself.  "And, here I thought we were going to have a relaxing evening at home tonight," he said.  "You know, Love, since you have come into my life, there has not been a single dull moment."
>  
> I smiled to myself so deliriously happy...and promptly fell asleep exhausted.  :)
>  
> Hopeful was hiking the short distance over to Newfound Gap to meet Mrs. Hopeful where she was picking him up this morning for some time together.  As there is a huge Rod Run in Pigeon Forge this weekend, we advised them to go to the North Carolina side of the mountain. 
>  
> Hopeful looks really, really good.  He seems to be hiking stronger this year than he did in 2003, and he seems to be enjoying himself much, more I think.  On his trail journal the first entry is entitled "Some People Never Change".  I think that Hopeful has changed though... his love of the trail and people is deeper... he is hiking stronger... and from talking to those on the trail he spreads joy, cheer, and hope to those hiking around him.
>  
> You can follow along with Hopeful's AT journey on his Trail Journal.  I have always enjoyed reading Hopeful's writings.  http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=11473
>  
>  
> Tenacious Tanasi
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