The Replacements

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On a very, very, sad note, my husband left me today to return to Asheville and prepare for the onslaught of 6th graders who will enter his classroom next week. Yes, I miss him. Yes, I cried. And yes, even though I can endure long miles and tough conditions… I am emotionally a BIG ninny. Granted, it will only be four days until my husband returns to the trail to offer his support again, but it is still hard to have him leave.
Brew was there for me when I started climbing up Katahdin at 4:15 AM that first morning; he was there on top of Mount Washington to help me walk down the mountain in dense fog and strong winds; he was my source of encouragement and support through the doldrums and rocks of Pennsylvania, and he hiked in with all of our gear almost nightly in Virginia so we could make up time and miles. He sings to me, he cooks for me, he drives to non-existent roads to try to meet me, he is not only the love of my life… he is quite possible the best sherpa ever!<br />
So who, you ask, is attempting to replace my beloved husband? Well, I actually have recruited a <em>team</em> to assist me during these hard times. My emotional, navigational, and nutritional needs are now being met by my awesome Dad, who has been my biggest hiking fan over the years. He has encouraged me to follow my dreams, so it’s very appropriate that he’s now on the trail helping me hike to Georgia.
Strategically, our friend and trail guru Warren Doyle is headed down to Fontana Damn on Wednesday night to make sure we hit all the right back roads between here and Springer. He has also volunteered to help me with some potential night hiking over the next few days. This is a huge asset considering Warren could practically hike the entire Appalachian Trail blindfolded. And finally, my daily motivation and hiking companion comes in the form of David Horton. I somewhat expected Horton to bring his beloved megaphone to yell encouraging words as he paced me up and down the mountains.
So yes, I probably have the best team possible to assist me over the next few days. I know the four of us will have a lot of fun together continuing down the AT, and they’ll do a super job encouraging me and pushing me to my limits every day. Still, the one who’s compelling me most is Brew because the faster I get to Springer Mountain, the sooner I’ll be able to see him!

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