Friday, April 3, 2009

CROSSing paths on the A.T.,... ATServants, Lumbermack & LabRat, ScriptureSticks!

Hello dear friends! (Old and New...)

There are times that God moves, ...and moves you! He places you here... or there, at a certain time that is to His liking. And, quite often, it is to your liking also! I would like to share a little bit with you about how He is orchestrating events in our lives lately. He NEVER ceases to surprise and amaze me!

This past week I was online and checking up on Joel "Bark" & Cortney "Berry" Leachman, who are Trail Chaplains with ATServants this hiking season. They were scheduled to be on trail April 1st, so they should be on their way! I hope you will all join me in keeping them in prayer, and for ALL of the ATServants, that their ministry is fruitful. Please get on to their site, and follow Bark & Berry as they make their way NOBO. ... ...I was checking out their guestbook, just breezin' through, and happened to notice the following post to it... Hope they don't mind my sharing... here goes...

"Name: Mack (Lumbermack) Spainhour Email Recorded
From: Holly Springs, NC.
Message: Hello Guys- my name is Mack (Lumbermack) Spainhour, 2006 AT 2000-Miler: I completed the AT in 2006. My Wife Kelly has hiked much of the AT with me and we have felt a connection to the AT for many years. We have felt impressed of God to start a Hiker Hostel in Southwest VA called the Appalachian Dreamer Hostel. It is located about 20 miles north of Partnership Shelter at Mt Rogers Headquarters, or about 20 miles south of Bland VA. We are approximately 2.5 miles from where the AT crosses highway 42( at the picnic shelter) OR at the route 610 (Nebo rd/Old Rich Valley Rd)- crossing. We are going to be open this year (2009) on an interim basis, and hope to be open full time in the spring of 2010. Please call us between Damascus and our location (northbounders) or Pearisburg/Bland and our location (southbounders) and if we are open we will come and pick you up at the 42 or 610 crossing. We will offer you a place to stay, hot shower, hot meal at night, continental type breakfast, place to wash your clothes and a ride back to the trail. Maximum two night stay. We only request a donation or may have a work for stay option. Limited re-supply and shuttles for a fee. I am aware , as a former thru hiker, of how much Trail hospitality means to the weary hiker. God has blessed me and I want to share His blessings on my life with the AT trail community. We are a Christian ministry (but not supported by or associated with any religious organization)- no profanity or alcoholic beverages permitted- no drugs. My number is 919-622-5574. Please check in with us and if we are open we would love to have the opportunity to share our hospitality with you. God bless you and be with you on your journey. My email address is We hope to have internet access.
Got Here: A Friend
Date: Feb 24 2009 3:34PM" ... ...

As I read the guestbook entry, I thought that these were truly wonderful people, deeply committed to the leading of the Lord! How wonderful to have another Christian outreach on the Appalachian Trail! I was just about to move on, then became aware of something familier... Spainhour... Mack Spainhour. A bell went off in my head! I think I met him once! Holly Springs, North Carolina! OH, MY!!! I knew I had missed something, first time around, so started to read it again... his wife is "KELLY"!...

I just sat there, staring at the computer, my mind swirling back in time...

Seven or so years ago, Cari and I had moved back to Maine, from North Carolina. We had left a wonderful home, a terrific Church, fantastic jobs, and friends and co-workers that were dear to us. We felt led by God to leave all that good stuff, and of course, to try to follow where he was leading! ...

One of the folks I had the pleasure of working with in North Carolina was a sweet Christian lady named Kelly Spainhour, whose husband's name was Mack! Our paths had crossed, after all these years! Not only had they crossed, but it surely seemed that we were also on the SAME path!

I made a call to Mack, left a message on his phone, and sure enough, I was soon rewarded with an e-mail from Kelly! It was a wonderful letter, full of information about them, their hopes for their ministry, encouragement for ours. I am so thankful to again be in touch, after all this time! I was so surprised, as I didn't know that they were hikers, loved the A.T., and that Mack had finished the trail up here in Maine in 2006, as I was planning my 2007 SOBO. I didn't know that Kelly had been to Katahdin three times... that there is a wonderful picture of Kelly "LabRat", and Mack "LumberMack" at the summit, on LumberMack's Journal! (Here it is!)

I so wish that I could have been part of their experience. Maybe I can try to do a little better in maintaining relationships over time and distance? Yeah, I'll try.

I thank God for putting us on paths that cross, and, that sometimes, the same paths become walked with friends... and at even more joyous times, He let's us realize that we are on His path, together.

I am so thankful for ATServants, for Mack "LumberMack" and Kelly "LabRat" Spainhour. I am thankful for old friends and new friends, for unknown friends, folks who I have yet to cross paths with. I would like to ask that God would Bless you all, greatly. I would ask that He Blesses you all in such a way that His walking with you cannot be denied...



Sunday, March 29, 2009

Snowshoe hike to Harrison's Pierce Pond Camps

Good afternoon to all of you!

I just got home from a terrific morning that started out with our enjoying a delicious breakfast with my family, at the "Golden Eagle" in Madison, located near the town line with Skowhegan... and followed up with a good sermon, wonderful music, and precious fellowship, at our church, Crossroads Bible Church, up at Rt 201 and Rt 148 (Clough's Corner), in Madison.

I thought I would quickly share with you all, the events of yesterday, my hiking adventure, that was to possibly take me on the A.T., up towards Bigelow Mtn. ... Plans often change, and change quickly, so when I left Madison, I headed North to Solon, up Rt 201. I was able to get an Italian sandwich for my lunch, and while I waited for it to be made, had a good chat with the polite young man making it. We talked briefly about my days plans, the A.T., White House Landing up in the 100 mile wilderness, and the like. Upon my return through Solon, after my hike, I dropped off one of our ScriptureSticks, asking that it be given to him, next time he worked. When asked who they should say left it for him, I said that he didn't know me, and they should just tell him that it was the "Stickman"....

After leaving Solon, I continued North to Bingham, crossed the Kennebec River, and struck North again, to Pleasant Ridge. From there, I veered right, again going North, through Carrying Place. (Excerpt from article by Spencer Merrill..."Colonel Arnold and his men reached the Great Carrying Place on October 11, 1775, only a few days from Caratunk. He and his men left the Kennebec River as they headed to the Chaudiere River, a boundary between Maine and Quebec." referring to the march of Col. Benedict Arnold and his army of about 1100men.) I pushed beyond, with intent to get as close to Harrison's Pierce Pond Camps as possible. I finally could go no further, with my 2 wheel drive Ford... time to walk. The road was uphill, icy, with a layer of mud, and muddy, with patches of ice and snow... which quickly became deep, as you went uphill. Off I went, having to put the snowshoes on... after trekking uphill a mile, it levelled off a bit, and at the top was a white Dodge truck. I recognized it as belonging to Tim Harrison. I was encouraged that I might be able to visit with Tim, but wasn't sure how far I would have to hike to get to Pierce Pond Camps. The hiking was downhill now, so off I went, and after three miles, I found the bottom, and the entrance to the camps. Shortly after that, I was standing at the Lodge, looking down at the porch floor. I was a little higher than the porch, and could have walked onto the roof. I gave a shout out, to announce my presence, and two little dogs came running over the ridgeline of the roof to greet me. Then Tim, and his friend, Sharon, followed. He chuckeled, as they were just wondering if anyone would brave the snow to hike in. They had decided that no one would. A snowmobiler, maybe... but no hikers. We hadn't seen each other for some time, and had a nice reunion. When Faithful and I had done our A.T. hike in 2007, Harrison's Pierce Pond Camps was one of the high points. At the time, Tim wasn't open for business, but he was very gracious in serving us up a GREAT pancake breakfast, heaped with friendly hospitality! If you are planning to be on the A.T. this year... you will not find him open for business. However, he did indicate that he will once again welcome the company of thruhikers. There may be a pancake breakfast in your future!

After visiting a bit, we all pushed through the snow, with Tim breaking trail. Destination... the falls. The falls were just as beautiful as I remembered, but this time it was surrounded by a wonderful coating of snow, and adorned with icicles. We lingered a bit, and looking back at the lodge, I could see why Tim and Sharon had been on the roof. It was clear of snow, in full sun... a perfect place to soak up the warmth of Spring, and bake away the worries of Winter.

On we went, up to the Lean-to. Yes... I was officially on the Appalachian Trail! I looked into the shelter, but did not venture in/down... it was about a four foot drop in elevation to go from snow to shelter! We looked out on Pierce Pond... beautiful! We talked about the beauty of this particular spot. Although the Lean-to is not the best on the trail, the location is unparalleled! Tim said that some of the books comment that this is one of the prettiest stopovers on the trail. I concur!

We decided that the best way to get back would be across the Pond, and back through the convienience of a snowmobile trail. The pond was fun to walk on, solid, yet getting a layer of slush in areas... and showing water in some areas. It was definitely easier walking, and a good rest for my legs. We got ourselves back to the trail entrance to the Camps, talked for a bit, then said our goodbys. Tim offered to fire up his snowsled, give me a lift back to my truck, but I declined. He reminded me that it was uphill... I still declined, figuring I could make it to my truck before dark, probably by 7 PM, or so.

Off I went, uphill... three miles later, I crested, walking by Tim's truck. Well, I almost crested. Shortly after, I did, and began a relaxing, one mile, downhill stroll.

I made it to my truck in good time, got myself turned around without somehow getting stuck, and began the ride home. I stepped into the house, weary and sore, struggling to get my boots off. Through all the pain, I had to smile... every ache was a painful and happy reminder of that first day of my Appalachian Trail thruhike attempt. Although the pain was the same, there was one big difference. TODAY I didn't have to continue hiking!

Yesterday was an encouragement for me. Although I have gotten myself a little heavier, and a little more "out of shape" since the 2007 ScriptureStick Ministry A.T. Hike, I was still able to pull off a hike of about ten miles... on snowshoes. I do believe that if the Lord chooses to put me back on the A.T. to do ministry work, He will give me strength to survive the Trail!

So... see you on the Trail, or elswhere. And... God Bless!