Welcome to my Ultimate Hike Page
April 19, 2018
We are just nine days away from the Ultimate Hike on the Foothills Trail. My training partners, Eva and Krishna from Team CHOA, and I had our last big hike before THE big hike. We met in Alpharetta and then drove to Amicalola Falls State Park. From there, we took the Appalachian Approach Trail to the top of Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Along the way, we met at least a dozen trekkers from other states, including New York, Massachusetts, Arizona, and North Carolina who were planning to tackle the AT. Until we ran into a couple of volunteers who keep the trail clean and assist other hikes, we were the only Georgia residents. Some were going part of the way with a definite idea of where they were stopping, some planned to hike as far as they could go, and one young man planned to go go all the way to the northern terminus in Maine. We met him and two other men at the top of the mountain where we were finishing lunch.
I have come to believe that in general, hikers are a helpful friendly bunch. We chatted with several of the folks we met to swap stories. We shared our snacks of cheese, fruit, and Kind Bars with the hiker from New York who had taken a shuttle from the Amtrak station to the trailhead that morning. He planned to go all the way. The men from Boston were planning to camp on the AT at a site two miles or so from the top of Springer Mountain, but when they started walking in the direction they thought was north, Eva knew she had to say something because they were definitely heading south, away from the AT. They were very grateful that she caught them before they went too far astray.
The brief conversations we had with each hiker or groups of hikers always included where are you going an why are hiking. They shared their reasons and we shared ours. I have told Julia's story so many times that I want to roll my eyes at myself, but it never fails to elicit an emotional response, and I think for our fellow hikers were inspired by Julia's insight as a five-year-old that no matter how daunting the adventure may seem, it will be WAY easier than cancer.
Eva told us about a book she read by a man who had completed the Appalachian Trail. He wrote how he and many others who have made journey experienced "trail magic". Perhaps the adventurers we met on the path felt that spark through us.
I thank you on behalf of the Grateful Tread for helping us spark hope in children and families with cancer. Let's make cancer take a hike!
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