Today Sheila is on day four of round three of chemo. She has been feeling pretty good but today slept the day away and also has felt nauseous. Mike and Graig our housemates left for the weekend to visit Mike's sister in Springtown, Texas. Graig is getting a weekend break from his chemo treatments. Did nothing today except picking up Sheila's prescription at Walmart and getting us dinner at Jack-in-the-Box. I have been thinking......hell I've had lots of time to think lately.......about writing about our Appalachian Trail hikes and all the other things that have gotten us to this point. The trouble I have had is how to put it all down in writing and where the hell to start. Do I start where we first started planning to do the trail and go from there? I can't imagine having to read all that to get up to where anything interesting happened. So today I decided to start it where we had to finish it, then go back to all the how and why stuff. Hoepfully it will be halfway intersting and maybe someone may even want to read about it all. So here is my first feeble attempt at starting our story:
“Bulletproof or Shot Full of Holes and D-o-ying”
I awoke to the beat of a hard rain’s drum roll on the roof of our tarp. It had been raining steadily all night and as we peeked out from under our tarp we could see that most of the hikers who had been sleeping in the nearby shelter were now tented out everywhere in the surrounding woods. Why would they leave the shelter in the middle of the night, in the pouring rain, to set up their tents? We had heard no commotions from visiting bears or anyone yelling, “snake!” but there they were all around us, sleeping in the rain. No one was awake and as usual Toesocks and I packed up our gear trying to be quiet and not disturb the sleeping hikers. We got on the trail before it was fully light and started out for what was to be another twenty mile day on our Appalachian Trail thru-hike. We had no way of knowing that it would be five or six hours until we learned what happened in the shelter during the night and that it would also be our last day on the trail. We had hiked 1345 miles of our 2175 mile hike. We were now making twenty mile days easily and feeling bulletproof! During our hike when one of us asked the other how they were feeling the answer had become “bulletproof” if we felt great, or “shot full of holes and doying” if we felt terrible. We had somehow picked up these sayings from movies we had watched before we left home and they comically conveyed how we were feeling. Early in the hike it was mostly “shot full of holes” but after three months and 1300 miles it was almost always “bulletproof”. On the way out of camp I caught sight of one lone hiker in the shelter still asleep? Why the hell was he the only one in there? Something was not right here. I thought about this as we hit the trail. We crossed a road after hiking a short time and the rain was now intermittent as we hiked through a boggy area, first on boardwalks then up to our ankles as our sandals sunk into the mud. (....to be continued)
Cover picture today is of Springer Mountain Georgia, the starting point of the Appalachian Trail if you are hiking north to Mount Katahdin, Maine. Maine is only five million steps, 2175 miles and four or five months of walking away!