[at-l] Hopeful update

Ofahoma ofahoma at aol.com
Thu Apr 14 20:03:40 CDT 2011

Tenacious, you are one hell of a writer. I related so well to the 
"spooning' you described with your hubby. Girly Girl (my wife) and I do 
the same but, alas, our child bearing years are behind us. But, I have 
convinced her to join me for an overnighter on my section this year. 
So, who knows? Could be the start of a beautiful hiking relationship, 
33 years into a marriage.

I am starting my annual section this year at Delaware Water Gap in late 
June. I hope that I get to meet Hopeful. I have heard and read so much 
about him. I enjoyed my time with the thrus last year. Right Cody?

Peace and "There's a Fat Man in the Bath Tub with the Blues."

Fat Man Walking

-----Original Message-----
From: Sara Wilson <kyvcat at aol.com>
To: Tenacious Tanasi <tenacious_tanasi at yahoo.com>
Cc: AT-L <at-l at backcountry.net>
Sent: Thu, Apr 14, 2011 4:54 pm
Subject: Re: [at-l] Hopeful update

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.


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 
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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