Saturday, June 15, 2013

While I was gone ...

Can you imagine the back and forth that occurred while I was away in Canada for 10 days and Danny was backpacking in the Great smokey Mountains National Park? I wish I could. Unfortunately the cell coverage was almost nonexistent except when he got off the trail and went into town for supplies and R&R (read that to mean laundry, hot shower, and a good nights sleep in a wonderful bed!) Spot worked well and gave me much reassurance as I watched his progress, when I had internet coverage. Tethering doesn't work very well (read SLOW) when your cell service doesn't have 3G, 4G or even LTE, just extended service and only 2 bars at that.

I had a great trip to Canada to be a part of my nephews graduation from university.

What a wonderful milestone that was.
 Yes that is snow in the background

 We weren't sure if we would be able to travel when we woke to this.
We ran into snow and cold temperatures in Saskatchewan but the actual graduation day was sunny, clear skies and warm. Perfect for the day. Roads were clear for the most part all across.
 The visiting family
L to R: me, Don, Shauna, Cory, mom, dad, and G'ma Margaret

Along the way we stopped at a museum in Saskatchewan. Very interesting and I 
 found my Hummer!!!!!

I left Edmonton in the sunshine, landed in Minneapolis in very cold, rain and then landed in Charlotte in cold temperatures, the rain having stopped earlier in the evening. The next morning was cloudy, cold, windy but no rain as I drove to meet up with Danny once again on the trail.

Oh the stories I heard once we connected. My mind is filled to overload and they are hard to piece together and remember. I only hope that Danny can and does when he writes.

The Smokies - they are beautiful (Can't wait to see Danny's photos.) and the mountains make their own weather as seen yesterday when I picked him up. On top of the mountain (the Bald) the wind was hurricane gales mixed with rain/sleet and lots of fog. The cold penetrated through everything, especially if you were at all damp. Stories later came about big men being blown over by the gales as they attempted to cross over the mountain. We can only hope that all that were on the trail hunkered down and kept warm for the night and next day rather than trying to continuing on.

The People/fellow hikers - here the stories are wonderful but in fact, when repeated without knowledge, lose much of the significance and wonder. The receptionist in the hotel, last night said that the most thru-hikers ever are on the trail this year. Another hiker whom we had breakfast with this morning, indicated that so far, there are ~1800 thru-hikers on the trail NOBO. You can well imagine the stories that are here. So far Danny hasn't run into any RPCVs (returned PC  volunteers) but lots of retired military people. Hikers from all over the world but an abundance of Germans - they had a film produced and shown on TV in Germany which has led to many of them coming over to do the hike. And then of course, first thing this morning, at breakfast, I met some of the ones that I had met and gotten to know while sitting at the pick-up points.

The foliage is now out in all it's full glory. The greens are fantastic as you drive down the roads. Gone is the brown and beiges, all replaced by new green grasses and leaves.

Of course, the colors were heightened by the fact of the rain and mist. The roads are just a twisting and turning as I remember and I am once again back into 1st and 2nd gear mode.

And look at what I returned to ... can't leave him alone for a day and he goes and does something totally out of character.

 Not sure if I like it or not, but will reserve judgement as after a few days I am sure it will become second nature. We shall see.

He saw a black bear mommy with 2 cubs ... the deer are almost tame when around hikers. One hiker said it is because they can smell the salt on the dirty, smelly bodies and need it themselves. He hiked and camped in all manner of weather, excepting snow. Shelter life was rank and often raunchy. And always the people ...

more to come ... photos to be added ... but do give me a couple of days!