Thursday, July 26, 2007

5 Miles to Killington Peak

Yesterday the hikers saw beautiful views from the Cabin Rd...met Ski Man and Ketchup on the way, and made about 12 miles. It is still incredibly hot and humid with a lot of ups and downs but a fairly smooth trail...tonight they were able to call and report more hot and humid weather....they were about 5miles from Killington Peak...staying at the Churchill Scott Shelter....visited with a pot belly pig and sheep at a stop today (that would be the latest wild life!)...met up with Mr Cowpie ( please pray for his knee, he has injured it) and daughter Jessie who are hiking with Tengu. Kel was pleased to meet up with them again, as Tengu was at the Caratunk shelter when he stayed there. They again made about 12 miles today....the humidity is slowing them down. They hope to make Wallingford Saturday to pick up the next drop box.

STICKMANS' JOURNAL...7/26/07...Thursday... Woke up this morning at Stoney Creek Shelter at 5:30 AM. Although I had little sleep, I had much rest. Before my eyes were able to open, my ears were attuned to the crackling, popping, and hissing of a friendly camp fire. "Stealth" had risen quietly before the daylight, and kindled the beginnings of another wonderfully blessed day. Thank you, Stealth, you made my day! We all moved somewhat slowly, pacing the grey area between waking and hiking. Eventually, Stealth and Megaphone were headed towards trail, amidst thank-yous and good-bys.

After they departed, I looked around the shelter a bit, as it was a little too late last night. I always look forward to the shelter log, placing an entry, and checking up on other hikers. The first thing I saw today, however, was a small book, placed up on a shelf with a few others. ... This book stood out from the others, as it was about 1/4 burned. I new immediately, without further investigation, that it would be a NEW TESTAMENT. Such a shame... For some, it is the most cherished book, for others, most hated. And, sadly, many of those who hate it so strongly have never taken time to open it. I replaced it with a new one, in which I wrote a request... I asked that the next person who would like to burn it was welcome to do so, but ONLY AFTER READING IT COMPLETELY. Hopefully, it will not be burned. Prayerfully, a hiker will come to know Christ as his Savior.

Well, again, it was a hot and humid day. We started a little later than what we wanted to, took frequent breaks, and still managed to get to the shelter a bit after 7:30 PM. ...It was, of course, not the shelter we were trying to get to... that one was 5 miles downtrail and uphill, on top of Killington Mtn.! ... We only walked on 12 miles of trail today, which means that tomorrow needs to be a big hiking day... about 24 miles big! I'll have to check my maps tomorrow, for mileages... maybe (hopefully), I'm mistaken.

We have good company again tonight, four other hikers. We have had several times today that we shared with others about our missions trip. We have met a very diverse group of people along this journey, and pray that we can be part of a positive difference in their hike and in their lives.

Hmmm... the clock has ticked off to 10:30 PM, and beyond, and everyone is fast asleep except Faithful and I. If I close my eyes, will sleep quickly pursue me? Let's see!

God Bless!


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Vermont...very hot and sticky but beautiful

Last night the hikers called us from the woods of Vermont. The weather has made this hike tough with yesterday's humidity and heat a challange. They had hiked 14 of the 20 miles that they had wanted to hike in the day. Kel called at night from the edge of a clearing...making his shelter under the low hanging boughs of a tree. No rain but the heat was lingering. It was dark and their headlamps were attracting moths galore! they are catching up to hikers that they met in Maine, and have met many that have lived in Maine at one time in their lives or another, making interesting conversation. They hope to catch up to "Tengu" again. He was one of the hikers that they shared the Caratunk Shelter with. No large wild life siting to report...please do leave a comment and list the questions that you have concerning this trip. I am mostly reporting their progress quickly as I jump from one task to another here at home. Your questions will add interest to this post! I, myself, can't imagine walking through the wilderness day after day with breathtaking views, sweating, and collecting bugbites and not showering, but that isn't all there is to thru hiking...although you hear a lot about the hiker smell...and, I can tell you it is different. or leave questions on the comments...PLEASE! Clint, our hiker friend here at home ,was hiking in the Stratton area recently and he met hikers there that had met "Stickman & Faithful" on the New Hampshire border. How Cool. Hope to hear from you all (y'all for our southern friends) soon. About 1702 miles to Georgia!!!!! They have gone about 475 miles!

STICKMANS' JOURNAL...7/25/07...Wednesday... Another hot, humid day today. We managed to get on trail at 7:30 AM, and made our way to Stony Creek Shelter by 9:40 PM, a fairly long hiking day! We also were able to cover 17.0 miles of trail in that time. Had to do a bit of night hiking to get there, but everything worked out in the end. I find that I enjoy doing a bit of night hiking, as long as the L.E.D. headlamp holds up. We initially couldn't find the shelter, as it had not been marked out properly for SOBO hikers. Oh well, it was a nice night for an evening walk! We arrived at the shelter to the warming glow of a fine fire crackling in the pit. Stealth and Megaphone were our campfire benefactors, and they had done a great job of building it and gathering extra fuel. I went about collecting a bit more wood, wanting to contribute to their efforts, and, by participation, more closely share the fellowship of hikers around the fire. We spent a nice hour socializing, while I nibbled away at a packet of salmon for my evening meal.

Now, I have found my way into my sleeping bag... Although it is late, I pleasantly replay the days events in my mind, as I attempt to jot a few notes into the trail journal. Strange how these actions oppose each other... The act of journaling requires that I remain awake to pen my thoughts... the reminiscing of the day softens the hard floor of the shelter, and pulls my mind deeper into a featherbed of sleepy dreams, where the happiness of the day would be content to remain a memory. ... I will try to go on...

The day was quite warm, so frequent waterstops were the call of the day. It was not a day to pass up opportunities for water. At each water source I would drink up, while filling my bottles, then drink a bit more, before filtering the last bottle to the top. We also moved a bit more slowly, taking advantage of any stop that would rest us enough to "go a little ways more". We made one stop that was very refreshing. It felt as though we may have walked into an oasis! There was food and fellowship! It was the ON THE EDGE farmstand, where they had a nice selection of fruits and vegetables, cheeses, meats, ice cream, and pies., all kinds of other things! I purchased a small strawberry-rhubarb pie and a coke. YUMMY! I also bought a nice chunk of cheese to help sustain me on trail. Aside from food and rest, the most refreshing aspect of our stop was the great time we had conversing with other hikers. Feeling, once again, capable of placing one foot in front of the other, we resumed hiking.

Near the end of the day, we had a great surprise! A sighting! No... not moose, deer, bear, or the like... We had just crossed a stream, and were walking quietly and respectfully through a fairly large group of hikers that had set up camp for the night. Some were by their fires, others walking about, some lying down, relaxing after a hard trail day. Suddenly, one saw me, and said, "Stickman!". It was MR. COWPIE! We had not seen Mr. Cowpie and his daughter, Jessie, since Avery Peak, in the Bigelows, in Maine! Then, here comes Jessie, (now TWISTED SISTER), along with TENGU! We hadn't seen Tengu since Pleasant Pond Shelter, in Maine! We had a wonderful reunion! It was so good to see them, and I am sure that they might pass us by, within the new day. They invited us to set camp with them, but we regretfully declined. As we parted, Tengu said, "See you down South!". ... which, of course, could be ANYWHERE South of where we were now standing! I had to chuckle!

I guess I'd better close for the night, (before the sun comes up!), but in closing I would pray, and ask for your prayers, for MR. COWPIE. He is trying to heal from an injury, and I pray for his healing, and good, safe hiking. Thank you all for your prayers!

God Bless you all, good night!


Monday, July 23, 2007

Happy Hill Shelter

Tonight at 8:15 pm. the hikers are at the Happy Hill Shelter...a "double decker" type near Norwich, Vt. they hiked 17 miles today...not bad weather...the cellphone reception was terrible! So I couldn't hear more than that! The hikers have hiked about 449 miles with about 1726 to go to Georgia! Yikes!

STICKMANS' JOURNAL...7/23/07...Monday... We got off to a fairly decent start today, getting on the trail at 6:30AM. We left Moose Mtn. Shelter, in New Hampshire, and arrived at Happy Hill Shelter, in Vermont, at 6:10PM. We hiked 16.8 miles in 11 Hours, 40 minutes... from one State to another State in half a day... WAY COOL! ... We stopped at Etna, where I walked o.3 miles (each way), to the little General Store. Faithful opted not to go, resting on the side of the roadway until I returned. I treated myself to some breakfast, then left my card with the nice young couple that own the store. I also found that she makes some pretty serious cookies, so I stocked up on them for the trail. Stomach satisfied, I returned to where Faithful waited, and we jumped back on trail. I only saw a couple of hikers all day, but gave out cards and spoke to everyone we met. I left a card with the man at the Deli, where we ate in Hanover, and also gave one to the postal worker that handled my mail. When we finally left Hanover, New Hampshire, to cross the Connecticut River into Norwich, Vermont, it was raining nicely. It was still almost 6 miles to get to Happy Hill Shelter. It did stop raining eventually, and would alternate between sun, cloud, and rain the rest of the way. We came upon some nice “trail magic” before we left the back road, to enter the trail. It was a nice cooler full of watermelon, banana bread, trail bars, and lot’s of other stuff. The givers of this wonderful gift are “Brain”, and his family. “Brain” is actually out on the trail at this time, so thanks to him and his family, and I pray he has a terrific hike. We also met two ladies on the road as we approached the trail. We had a great conversation, talking for more than a half hour. One of them lived in a beautiful old home, just a little further up the road. It was a very impressive place! It is the second oldest home in Norwich. When she and her husband, who was a Doctor, came to town, she said that someday she would like to live there... As of today, she has lived in the home for fifty years! Amazing! She extended a very generous welcome to us to stay with her for the night, getting us out of the rain, and warmed up. She said that she had never offered before, so we felt pretty special, and quite blessed. We thanked her for her kindness, but declined to take her up on her offer, as we wanted to do extra miles, to the shelter. Kind of wished we had stayed, I suspect we would have had a wonderful evening. But, on we went, and as we entered the woods, we came across a homeless man and his teenaged daughter. We offered some food, but he thanked me, and said they were ok. I slipped the man a few dollars, feeling badly that I couldn’t do more. They were very pleased, and the daughter said that she would look us up online when they could get to the library. We got to Happy Hill Shelter, and it was unique. It is laid up with mortared stone, with the upper portion constructed of logs. It’s name is on the front on a large sign done with mosaic tile. It also has the D.O.C., or Dartmouth Outing Club symbol. There are, at the moment, seven of us here, three of us... oops!, just had a very large, hairy caterpillar fall from the rafters, onto my head... he is now living outside!... let’s see... three of us are up in the loft. It is a little cramped, but cozy. There are four hikers on the main deck, which, I assume, would be cramped, and VERY cozy! Five of us are, or were, from Maine! Everyone but Faithful and I are NOBO’s. I got a chance to tell them what we were up to out here, and received mostly positive responses. They were all nice folks, and as we sat around a super fire, we heard and shared lot’s of good stories. Well, the fire has dried me out nicely, and it is time to sleep. God Bless!


STICKMANS' JOURNAL...7/24/07...Tuesday... Ah! The best laid plans!... Thought we could get a 20 mile hike under our boots today. NOT! The hiking was a series of ups and downs. Nothing too severe, just up and down,... repeatedly. Wears you out. Then, of course, we had very high temps and humidity. To sum it all up, the net result of a hike that started at 7:30 AM, and ended at about 9:15 PM, was a journey of about 13.3 miles. WHEW! Putting that all in a better light, let's look at it this way. We had all kinds of good stops, getting to talk with others about our ministry. When all is said and done, we had a great day! One of the highlights of our day was a stop at a little General Store in West Hartford, Vermont, where we had a breakfast that can only be described as terrific! They just opened up the store last Wednesday, and it is the talk of the trail! Their food is top-notch, and the folks are great too. It is a family business, Mom and Pop, daughter, and son-in-law, Josh. I got to talk with Josh a bit, nice young man. They are a Christian family, and were excited to hear about our missions trip. I gave them our card, and they said that they would mention it to their Church, maybe their youth group would like to be involved. That would be great! We spoke at length with several hikers today. With the heat, no one was in a hurry to hike. One hiker really tickled me. Wayne, "the leader of the pack". When I asked where the pack was, he said "on my back". Quite a character! He sometimes wears his wolf hat. Yes, we got his picture! We also had a break with two young couples, at a shelter. One of the guys had attended school at the University of Maine, Orono, and they had lived in Newport. We passed out cards to everyone we saw, and just had a nice day. ...

It was a wonderful day, and we hiked as far as we could... When we had gone as far as we could, we threw our pads down at the edge of a field. Sheltered from the dew, beneath some low-hanging trees, we crawled into our sleeping bags to get comfortable. That, of course, is where I am now, and my tired body is letting me know that it is surely time to sleep.... almost 11:00 PM... May God richly Bless you and I, both, even as we sleep. Have a wonderful night!


Sunday, July 22, 2007

11 Miles from Hanover,NH

The hikers are at the Moose Mountain Shelter, just 11 miles from Hanover! And, 11 1/2 miles from Vermont!They are in the company of "squirrel" tonight in the shelter...he is a northbounder. Stickman's feet are still sore...still has all the toenails..and the tops of his feet are healing. Today they were hiking in dry is still toast...more rain in the forcast tomorrow. They will get going early to get into Hanover to get Kel's mail drop and get under cover before the weather gets too bad. They feel the pressure of being 3 weeks behind their original schedule, but realize that they are on less mountainous ground now., and will be able to pick up the pace. Kel also mentioned that they missed Huck, but saw his notes in a log. He was so pleased to see that he was back on the trail (Huck is the one that took the great moose picture).

STICKMANS' JOURNAL...7/22/07...Sunday... On the trail at 7:30 AM, and at Moose Mtn. Shelter at 6:40PM, some 18 miles from Hexacuba Shelter in 11Hrs 10Minutes. We were only able to speak to a handful of hikers, but they all stopped to talk and take a card. I really feel the need to praise God for all of the hikers that he has given me opportunity to meet, if only briefly. At the end of the day, I had no more cards in my pocket, and could only find a few left in my pack. I dug them out at the shelter, giving them to three NOBO’s that showed up at the shelter late. It was a very pleasant day, hope to start early in the A.M. tomorrow, as it looks like possible rain. Good night for now, and God Bless you!