A lot can happen in 9 days. This past June, two American students from the University of Wisconsin studying abroad in New Zealand were rescued after surviving 9 days trapped in the wilderness by a snow storm. They survived on … Continue reading
I received the following voicemail from from my husband on Friday October 12, 2012: I had not heard from him for several days and his SPOT GPS device continued to register in the same location. However, I was not worried … Continue reading
“…and remember, the truth that once was spoken, “To love another person is to see the face of God”.
Today, marks our two year anniversary. We celebrated with a 30 minute phone call.
Most of our conversations of late, have lasted an average of 2 minutes and 58 seconds. He is usually in some impossible place where the signal dies or he has not had a chance to charge the phone in days.
In the background a waitress with heavy heels took the order of a truck driver with a Boston accent. I could hear her as she walked away at high speed to put the order in. Customers shuffled in and out of the door in steady succession punctuated by the steady cadence of the bell that must have been hanging above the door. I heard all of this, as my husband and I reminisced about our wedding day.
In a voice teeming with what I have learned over the years is a simultaneous mixture of pride and awe he normally reserves for court cases he has won, I listen as my husband calls each memory forth, word after delicious word. “Remember how special our foot washing ceremony was? I was afraid I would fall off the stage as I washed your feet”? Or, “That Worship band had atheists singing about Jesus. Man, that was awesome!”.
I only stop him when he says we should do it again soon. Has he lost his mind? Doesn’t he remember how much work that was? We laugh as I only half jokingly ask him admonish the thought of it. Now that I think about it, I would really love to do it again.
These are the moments I miss. The moments where we just share life with one another. Where I get to share my heart with my husband and he with me. No agenda. No deadlines. No interruptions. This is something I believe we will never take for granted again. He began walking at 6AM at a fast pace just to be able to talk to me!
He has been hiking the Appalachian Trail since April 14, 2012 and although I have visited him a few times during the over 1, 500 miles he has already walked, it is never enough. He has hiked through the deaths of both my 26-year-old sister, and my Aunt. He has missed births and birthdays, weddings and graduations. He will not get that time back nor will we have the opportunity to replace these moments. But, he walks with determination, purpose, and my 100% support. He has survived and pressed on where most have given up and gone home. Always in the forefront of his mind are the Miners who cannot drink their tap water at home. And, the people who’s families have owned their land for centuries who are suddenly dying of cancer from the coal dust they breathe. His goal is to raise awareness about the evils of Mountain Top Removal Coal Mining and to gain support for the people of Appalachia.
There have been times he has wanted to give up and come home. Fatigue. Pain. Hunger. Weariness. Loneliness. Broken equipment. Crazy people. All worthy opponents. But, he continues on with a purpose and quickly talks himself into pushing forward.
I have not written on his behalf in a while, and I must apologize to you faithful readers.. Recovering from the shock of my sister’s death has been more difficult then I could ever have imagined. I thank you all for your patience and continued interest. And, thank you for following his adventures on Facebook in the absence of my updates.
Christian has flip-flopped. He made it to New York and decided that he did not want to take chances on unpredictable weather in Maine. Baxter State Park is not a year round park and he was afraid that he would miss the deadline and never make it to Mt. Katahdin. So, with the help of our friends Ian and Liz, he caught a bus from New York to Maine. He is now in the process of walking back to New York where he left off which will complete his 2,200 hike of the Appalachian Trail. He plans to finish sometime at the end of October or early November.
He journals daily and I will share one of his latest entries with you now:
8/8/2012 11:05 PM
What a day, but to say that implies that there’s any other kind of day in my life right now. I didn’t get as far as I wanted to. As I was following the trail I didn’t see any signs of blazes, which isn’t unusual but, it looked and felt like the trail. When I got to the top of the mountain it just stopped.
Now, I feel fine and I’m doing well but the lack of sleep last night is having an effect on me, my coordination’s not there and I’m in my head more. Not ideal things for climbing. I am starting to really know what my limits on and what is healthy for me. I decide to set up camp because going any further could be dangerous and foolish. I really want to make it to see Ian and Liz but, this may set me back.
I just found out that my pack is in need of a serious repair. If it blows I am stuck. I cannot hike without a working pack. It is my survival. A couple of weeks ago as I was putting it on, it seemed like the waist-belt was looser. I tried to figure it out, but couldn’t. I checked on a replacement at an outfitter but they were no help. It has gotten bad enough that I can clearly see the problem and my pack is not long for this world without a major repair.
I am so tired right now, I need to stop writing. My sleep deprivation is catching up with me. Tomorrow, I will cross the New York line.
Oh, before I forget again, I saw three more bears which brings my total up to 19. I was hiking and up ahead some day hikers were making noise and I asked them why. When I got to where, a mother and two cubs were the answer. It has become so common that most thru-hikers don’t react. As long as I don’t have to fight them over my food again, live and let live.
I spoke with Christian (Muzungu) tonight. He has reached a milestone! Today, he officially passed the 1,000 mile mark of his journey. He will make it to Harper’s Ferry tomorrow. He was thrilled to be at a hiker hostel that … Continue reading
I have been reading my husband’s letters and growing increasingly awed by him. He has endured climate changes (like going from sleeping where there is snow on the ground to wearing shorts due to the heat), hunger, pain, loneliness, and exhaustion … Continue reading
“When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests … Continue reading