Cane and I hiked 17.5 miles on 23-June to get to Bland, Virginia, so we can get a zero day on my birthday day next day.  It was hot day on that day.  The water sources along the trail was dwindling, so we tried to manage our water intake as best we can.  Upon our arrival at the trail head, the trail magic was waiting for us to our delighted surprise – a few gallon-jug filled with spring water sitting on the trail.  We were overjoyed and quenched our thirst by chugging down some of water from a gallon-jug.  We then filled up the remaining water in our hydration pack from the jug.  We noticed the label affixed to the jug.  It appeared like this:

IN MEMORY OF TED “SOLEMAN”

ANDERSON 1946-2003 AT 2003

Who died suddenly in Lakeland, FL

Just days before starting his thru

W4OF@HOTMAIL.COM

We sent an email to thank whoever left the trail magic to pamper us by end of day of our hiking and introduced us to one of our AT family – Ted “Soleman” Anderson – in spirit.  I googled and found an article about him, so I wanted to share it with you to get know a bit who he was and what kind of person he was to AT community.

http://www.aldha.org/newsletr/spring03.pdf
Ted “Soleman” Anderson
Sept. 24, 1946 – February 22, 2003

By Susan Buchanan

It used to be that hikers would meet on the trail and create bonds that would last. Now, through the internet, we more and more often meet before we ever get on the trail itself. We share dreams and gear reports, jokes and joys, trip reports and trail advise. And that is how so many of us first got to know Ted “Soleman” Anderson.

Like many who get hit with the backpacking bug early, Ted knew for a long time that he wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail. His wife, Roxann, encouraged him, knowing that “if anyone could make it, he could!” Of course, she also realized that if she supported him doing it all in one year, maybe she wouldn’t lose joint vacation time to section hikes for the next decade. She had been his best friend and partner for almost 27 years, getting married just 3 weeks after first meeting each other. She knew that when Ted wanted something, he was going to go after it.

And Ted wanted the Appalachian Trail. His excitement about this trip spilled over into every email, every journal entry, every contact with other hikers (including at the Gathering this past October). More than once he described himself in his trail preparations as “like a kid at Christmas.” And he was determined to make sure that everyone around him was having as much fun playing as he was! As a Hospice nurse, Ted had the heart and the wisdom that come from dealing with end of life issues on a daily basis. He knew that life was short and uncertain, and each day precious. But at the same time, there was nothing so serious that it couldn’t be poked fun at.  And Ted was certainly the master at poking fun at everything in sight, himself included.

But there was depth in the midst of all the laughter. Like so many others, hiking for Ted was a way of getting to something else. “This is my chance to explore my inner self and really, for once in my life, understand with certainty, that the rest of the world really is crazy and that I’m cool 😉 ” This was also his chance to explore his own faith. “Who are you anyway, God” was the theme of his hike, and he planned to someday make it into a book.

But then Ted died suddenly on February 22, less than one week before his hike was to begin. The cause of death is still unknown.  Ted had been given an American flag that had flown during a hostile Afghani mission and he planned on carrying it with him as a peaceful mission – not to be any kind of a political statement, but only to be a reminder to himself of the freedom he was enjoying, and the men and women who have served our country. That flag is now being carried toward Katahdin by other hikers, started on its trek by members of “Pack 31,” a group who were planning on starting together with Ted on March 1 (3/1). Three of them in particular had developed close bonds with Ted. If you meet Hotdog, Wench or Liteshoe on the trail this year, know that Soleman is right there with them – in their hearts, in their tears and especially in their laughter. As Liteshoe wrote from the trail: “Wench had hand towels printed up with Ted’s picture screened on them, so Ted is everywhere out here, hanging from tents, packs, hip pockets. The three of us have finally gotten around to making Ted jokes, teasing him as if he was here, which is taken as a healthy sign, and feels very right. One way or another, Ted is hiking to Katahdin after all.”

Happy Trails, Soleman!

Donations in Ted’s memory can be made to:
Life Path Hospice
1037 S. Florida Ave.
Suite 106
Lakeland, Fla. 33803
1.800.464.3994

if you met Ted and would like to share those memories, his wife would love to hear from you. She can be contacted at:
Roxann Anderson
3436 Whitman Cir,
Lakeland, FL 33803-4240

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