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11) Janice N. mentioned to her colleague abt Cane and RamSham’s AT expedition via blog. Her colleague’s name is Donna “Downhill Donna”. She keeps track of our progress and shares her stories abt her AT experiences with us. We haven’t met in person, but hopefully soon! Funny thing is that her brother, Mike “Track-R” is hiking SOBO from Caledonia State Park in Fayetteville, PA to Damascus, VA since June. Downhill Donna told him to keep an eye out for us since we are NOBOs and may meet and pass each other on the trail. Cane and I had an honor of running into him at Audie Murphy Memorial on 4th of July! They all had a good chat! Cane and I hope to meet Downhill Donna soon as she plans to hike with us and invites Track-R to join as well!
12) Cane is wall flower and isn’t fan of posting stories on our blog, so I am gonna share one of his hilarious stories….it is a must! While I was away to Louisville, KY, Cane was keeping himself busy in Marion, VA. One day, he decided to walk on his own from hotel to library which was around 4 miles away without his white cane. He walked and didn’t see the “sneaky” curb. He stubbed his toe so hard and fell flat on his face on the sidewalk on a small bridge. He eventually got up and continued to walk. Later on, the policeman drove up and stopped him to talk with him. It seemed someone saw him walking “unsteady” and fell down (maybe?), so someone must have called in the police dept. on him….or the policeman might saw him how he walked. So, the policeman asked Cane if he was drinking…..as drunk. Cane explained to him that his walking unsteady is related to his Usher Syndrome – hearing and vision losses on top of balance problem. The policeman understood and asked him if he needed a ride. Cane said yes and of course, he got a ride in the cruiser, but not to the jail!¬† I hope that from this experience, it teaches Cane a lesson – use the darn white cane when he goes out on his own!!!! ūüėČ Gee…..I sometime get comments from people and hikers asking me if Cane is drunk because of his “walking unsteady”. It is a good way to educate these people, though.
13) Cane checked himself at hospital in Blacksburg, VA because of his extreme painful toe that lingered on for 2 weeks after stubbing it so hard in Marion, VA without using his white cane. Carol B. was very nice and patient with us by taking Cane to the hospital and waited with me for around 3.5 hrs in the waiting room. It turned out that Cane had an infection, not fracture, in his toe. He was given antibiotics to clear up the infection. Hopefully, Cane learns from this lesson that he should use white cane (I know I preach more than once about using the white cane).

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I have a little spare time for myself, so I am grabbing that time to provide some highlights from our AT expedition.

1) I received “gift” massage from Neville at Wood’s Hole Hostel in Pearisburg, VA. She did a magic work on transforming my tattered hiker’s body to renewed ones.
2) My birthday was celebrated at 2 location – in Bland, VA at Dairy Queen with Cane and Golden Ray and in Eddington, VA (near Pearisburg) at fabulous restaurant named The Paradise. I got flourless chocolate cake with candle on it and my fellow hikers including Cane, Golden Ray, Fields, Sculler, Idgie, Jessica, Neville, Michael…..sang Happy Birthday to me. It was beautiful moment!
3) Magic, Cane and I got to interact with around 13 wild ponies after Wise Shelter in VA. We saw 3 baby ponies. Aww!
4) The gopher jumped onto the trail before me around 2 miles prior to Partnership shelter in Marion, VA. I smiled and said, “Aww, what a cutie thing you are!” As soon as I completed said that, the gopher snarled at me!!!!! I was surprised and confused! I hesitated. The gopher ran on her left side into the bush. I shrugged my shoulders and hiked, but kept my eyes on where the gopher has gone to. All of sudden, the gopher roared back and tried to attack me! I used my mighty trekking poles to ward it off from me. The gopher kept trying for a few seconds then backed off and ran in opposite directions. I didn’t dare to wait, so I took off and never look back!
5) The bee stung my upper left part of my rib on side after I left Jenny Knob shelter. I first thought that my backpack was poking me on my side. As my hand reached the area, I saw the bee flying across my face and the tingling and pain set in so fast. I screamed¬†bloody¬†and took off fast as¬†lightning! Poor Cane – he didn’t hear nor see me, so he had no warning. The bee attacked him in turn and stung him 3 times. Ugh! Good thing that Cane and I are not allergic to bee stings.
6) Cane and I got to soak themselves at Falls of Dismal (the name didn’t certainly live up to its name – gorgeous place!) before Watipi Shelter on beautiful day.
7) Cane and I slack packed twice with Wood’s Hole Hostel in Pearisburg and once with the Huffman B & B in Newport, VA. ¬†We loved it and hope to do more of that up along the trail.
8) At Pickle Branch Shelter, I was about to get ready to hit the trail. All of sudden, I felt something in my pocket. I checked by placing my hand into my pocket and felt something moving! The pain flashed before I knew what it hit me…..I screamed and zipped my shorts down, then dropped my shorts down to my ankles. The fat bumblebee flew off upwardly from my shorts! Ahhhhh! What was happened is that the bee decided to fly upward through the opening of my shorts on my left leg. The bee explored and got angry when my hand touched her. It just stung me on my upper part of my thigh as it wanted to get away from me. Geee! Cane and Boston Bones saw my shorts around my ankle but I had black spandex shorts on. Whew! Cane thought it was hilarious of the bee to do that to me. Ugh! I was glad that Carol B. gave Cane the bee stung homeopathic medicine before we hit the trail. It helped to soothe the pain and itch!
9) Dragon’s Tooth was one of most difficult terrain for Cane to deal with. For 7 miles on that day, it took Cane 8 hours to get past the ledges, cliffs, boulders, and rocks. He worked so hard and it wiped out his energy at end of the day. Cane butt-slided on the Dragon’s Tooth, but didn’t let it bit him! ūüôā
10) On 7-July, Cane was experiencing heat exhaustion for past 2 days and continued to feel awful on that day too. We had to hike around 15 miles from Campbell Shelter in Catawba to Daleville in heat wave (in 90’s F!). The water sources were drying up on the trail, so we had to ration the water carefully. Cane didn’t move well. He hiked sluggishly. We left Campbell Shelter @ 7:00 and arrived @ Lamberts Meadow Shelter by 12:30. Between both shelters, it was 6 miles and it should take us 3 hours¬†to hike. We were lucky to get some water from stale water on the drying-up creek @ Lamberts Meadow Shelter. We had to hike 9 miles left to Daleville. @ 15:15 (3:15 pm), Cane hiked sluggishly. I had to hike ahead as the prolonging time of hiking, dwindling of water with them, and Cane’s struggle became a big concern for me. I arrived @ end of Tinker Ridge by 17:15 (5:15 pm). I waited for Cane until 19:30 (7:30 pm). I left the note advising him to take gravel road instead of AT because by road, it will help Cane get to Daleville faster. I hiked to Daleville and got a room at HoJo by 20:15 (8:15 pm). I got dinner for myself. I waited until 22:00 (10:00 pm) for Cane to show up @ Hojo, but he didn’t. I called the emergency number. The sheriff came to get some info from me. The search & rescue teams have been assembled to search for Cane. I told them to check for gravel road’s end as I left note for Cane to go that way. It turned out that Cane sat at end of gravel road waiting for anyone to get him. He was found @ around 23:15. Thanks goodness! He ran out of water around 3/4 way after leaving Lamberts Meadow Shelter. He was dehydrated, but appeared to be ok. Whew! We took a couple of zero days in Daleville.

Ok, there you go, my dear followers! Hope to share more stories later on. Hugs to y’all!

26-June

Hello folks!¬† I am totally much better now….completed the round of antibiotics for my giardiasis.¬† I am renewed hiker here at Wood’s Hole Hostel in Pearisburg.¬† Let me back up a bit with the story.¬† Last Friday (18-June) I¬†rented the car to drive from¬†Louisville, Kentucky to Tri-Cities,¬†Bloutville, Tennessee.¬† Then, Skip from AT Shuttle in Atkins, VA¬†picked me up and drove me to Marion, Virginia to get back to Cane.¬† It was well-worth it¬†without having to ride on Greyhound bus ever again.¬†¬†Next day, Cane and I hiked from Mount Rogers HQ in Marion, VA to Atkins, VA.¬† However, I felt¬†terrible and knew that it was not just regular IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) because I¬†continued to suffer awful symptoms for two weeks.¬† Despite¬†my “Rip Van Winkle” sleeping marathon in Louisville, KY, I still felt the same way as I was feeling on the first day two weeks ago while hiking.¬† Something was not right with me, so I decided to check in at the hospital.¬† As you¬†knew, I found out that I had giardiasis.¬† Just¬†pray that you will never catch it ever.¬† Trust me.¬† We decided to stay one more day in Marion, VA on Sunday¬†20-June to allow me to get some¬†prescription and more sleep/rest.¬† Next day, we¬†had a late start¬†to hike from¬† Atkins, VA.¬† We hiked to Bland, VA which we arrived on Wednesday night, just in time before the special day.¬† I got my favorite dessert, peanut buster parfait, from Dairy Queen which was close to the motel and ate it in the bathtub on that night.¬† ūüė鬆 Next day was my birthday (24-June).¬† It was zero day for us.¬† It was nice to have Golden Ray (Kevin B.) to hang out with us.¬† On 25-June, we hit the trail hiking toward Pearisburg.¬† Upon arriving, the Jenny Knob shelter, we found out that both water sources are all dried up.¬† Not good for us since we were out of water.¬† There was Dad with two kids – son (Blaze) and daughter (Pyro) at the shelter.¬† They had some water left, but barely!¬† Cane and I debated….Cane brought up an idea of calling Wood’s Hole Hostel and asking them to pick us up from the road which was only 1.2 miles down from the shelter.¬† I agreed.¬† We got the ride, so we hiked left at around 18:45 (6:45 pm) to meet our driver.¬† After only 0.3 miles down from the shelter into the rocky area of trail, I got a huge surprise of my lifetime….¬† got stung by a bee – right straight on my left rib area on my side.¬† OUCHHHHH!!!!¬† As I was going to step down from the rock ledge with my poles, the bee somehow went straight to my left rib to sting me.¬† At first, I thought something was wrong with my backpack stabbing me on my left side…as I was reaching to touch my left side with my right hand, all of the sudden, I saw the bee flew across my face.¬† I screamed bloody and ran like lightning!¬† I couldn’t warn Cane as he cannot hear and see me.¬† I stood and watched helplessly as Cane came to where bee attacked me.¬† The bee did stung him 3 times.¬† We continued hike to the road and waited for our ride.¬† We are ok….no allergic reaction to bee stung.¬† Thanks goodness.¬† We had a wonderful dinner at Wood’s Hole Hostel – rice pizza and salad for me and wheat pizza and salad for Cane.¬† We ended up staying at Wood’s Hole Hostel for 4 nights….so serene and tranquil place to be.¬† We both had a fantastic massage from Neville, one of owners of Wood’s Hole Hostel.¬† It was hard to leave the place, but our journey on AT must go on.

Starting from Mount Rogers Headquarter in Marion, VA….heading fo Bland, VA for next few days. I am not feeling 100%, so wait and see how I feel for next few days.

I am making some phone calls to find out how I can get back to Marion, VA from Louisville, KY without having to go through Greyhound bus system.  The horror stories you may heard about Greyhound are probably true!  I hope to get back on the trail by this weekend.

This past Monday morning, I arrived in Louisville, Kentucky via bus from Marion, Virginia to spend some time recuperating at my dear’s friend place.  Before that, I was ill for a few days that I didn’t enjoy hiking and difficult to continue SSPing for Cane.  I told Cane that it was time for me to take a break for myself since I was drained mentally, physically and emotionally.  Over two months on AT without a good chat/hug from my family/friends took a toll on me as well.  He supported and allowed me to take my time somewhere.  An opportunity arose in Louisville, Kentucky – a all-day spa with my dear friends – so, I went for it.  Cane remains in Marion, VA this week.  I start to feel better slowly after showering of hugs and chatting with my friends.  My willpower and desire are still there – burning….and my physical, mental and emotion state are slowly replenishing with positive and good flow of energy.  I hope to return to the trail in a few days.

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Appalachian Trail

Map of entire Appalachian Trail - 2,179 miles/3,507 km - through 14 states - Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine

Map of entire Appalachian Trail - 2,179 miles/3,507 km

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