Thank you so much for being patient for the next blog installment. I have been so busy preparing for the trip to see Christian that I have not been able to blog for the past 5 days. But, it finally happened. I got a chance to rendezvous with my husband after nearly a month apart. Of course, as with anything we do, a comedy of errors ensued. Because, it wouldn’t be “The Torps” without an amusing story.
For more than a week I have been planning this trip. When your loved one is hiking the AT, you plan with many uncontrollable variables in mind. Weather, how many miles they can make it per day, delays due to necessary “zero days”, whether or not they have to “hitch” a ride to get to a meeting place, and so many more. Our new friend Adam offered us his cabin for free and Christian and I were both looking forward to an incredible respite about a mile from Kincora Hiking Hostel. After a long day of working both of my jobs I headed home to pack toiletries, food, dishes, supplies for Christian, and all of your messages of encouragement and love.
For those following our Facebook Page, you see how often Christian checks in. For the past few days before I left there was no check-in. Unbeknownst to me, he had been logging in on the SPOT device every night but, it was not coming through. There are a lot of spots the satellite cannot read. After my initial panic the first time this happened when I did not hear from him, I just took it as part of the waiting and decided to be sensible. It had been three days since I had heard from him when he called. He wanted to make sure I knew where to pick him up. Our conversation went something like this.
Me “Yes, my dear. Kincora Hostel, which is near Adam’s cabin. I will meet you at the hostel and drive us to the cabin.”
Christian: “No. I need you to pick me on on HWY 441”.
M: “Where on HWY 441?
C: “Just look at a map and find out where it crosses the Appalachain Trail and pick me up somewhere along the highway”.
M: “You mean, I am suppossed to drive aimlessly down a long highway until I see you”?
C: (probably hearing the edge in my voice): Yes, is there a problem with that? It should be really easy.
M: “If you don’t see a problem with wondering around a highway in unfamiliar territory looking for a dirty man with a backpack on, then yes…there IS a problem with that”.
It should be noted that I do not read maps well, and my husband is well aware of this. GPS was invented for people like me. I know it is a skill I need to work on. But, I was not aware it would be this week. Nevertheless, I love my husband, I was desperate to see him, and I agreed to take on the challenge. Now, here comes the error. I had been under the assumption this entire planning, since the moment I told him about Adam’s offer of a free cabin, that Gatlinburg, TN and Kincora Hiking Hostel were in the same vicinity. I called Adam to get the address and found out that he was indeed 5 hours away from our home in Lexington. Gatlinburg is roughly 3 and 1/2 hours away. My major assumption is that Adam was far away from his cabin and that his cabin was somehow near Highway 441.
Christian and I agreed that I would pick him up between 4PM and 5PM. So, I would head to Adam’s home and get the key and then pick Christian up. Yes, it would be a bit out of my way to go get the key and then drive to Gatlinburg, but it would be worth it when I picked him up and got a chance to cook him a meal. Not long after I left our home in Lexington, KY I received a phone call from Christian that he was ready to be picked up, It was 11:00 AM.
Wanting to see my husband, I changed course and went to pick him up, first. We would drive to Adam’s place together, get the key, and make it to the cabin before nightfall. After a lot of panic trying to figure out how I would find my husband who had no working cell phone signal along some random road I gritted my teeth and trudged on. I looked back at every turn wondering whether or not I had somehow missed him. Somehow, I finally spotted him waving his hands wildly and jumping up and down! I barely recognized this skinny man with facial hair in front of me. But, indeed, it was my love.
I will spare you the Hollywood film worthy reunion scene complete with slow motion running and tears and skip to the part where we look in the guidebook and discover that Adam’s cabin is actually not a possible destination for another month on the AT. Gatlinburg and Hampton, TN are two hours apart by car.
Despite my errors, we had a great time! We found a hotel that caters to AT Hikers called “The Grand Prix”. For $30 a night you get a clean private room and an incredibly friendly staff. It is also conveniently located near an NOC ( Nantahala Outdoor Center) which is an outfitter. They will be driving Christian back to the exact place I picked him up on HWY 441 free of charge. Incidentally, that spot is about 15 miles from Gatlinburg.
We have iced Christian’s swollen ankle and he has eaten enough to satisfy him. Just this morning he ate 7 plates of food at a buffet without blinking. He really needs the calories for the trail as he has gotten very thin in just a few weeks.
I will resume the schedule of two blogs per week next week. But, for now we just want to say thank you to all of our followers, everyone who has donated, and all of you who are praying and cheering Christian on. He has read every last one of your comments and cards and to say he is humbled and encouraged would be an understatement. Thank you all so very much.
Here is a video we made tonight, while Christian packs to head back to the trail tomorrow morning.
Today’s donation total rose to $2,465. We still need $2,535. Thank you to those who have supported us. Please mail donations to: Christian Torp, P.O. Box 861, Lexington, Ky. 40588.