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Something I’ve Left Out For a Reason – My (stoogy) Siblings

As some of you probably noticed, I failed to mention anything about the going away party at Jay’s in any of my earlier posts. No, I was not being forgetful. I just wanted to give that party, and the reason behind it, it’s proper place.

When I decided to do the Trail, aside from my parents, the only people that I initially told were my siblings, Matt, Paul, and D. My plan was going to be to tell a few people, and then kind of slip away into the foggy mountain dew. I didn’t want to make a big deal about leaving, or attempting the trip – not sure why. But anyway, that was what I thought was going to happen. Much to my surprise, my siblings threw an awesome going away party for me at Jay’s. Not only did they gather friends and family from around town, they got a bunch of UD guys to make the trip (thanks a ton for coming guys, that was awesome). I walked right into their sneaky trap – I had no idea what was going on!

So what I really want to say here is that having people like them around you for your whole life is really something invaluable. It’s really amazing to see the things good brothers and sisters will do for each other. Although they foiled my plan of a sneaky exit into the mountain fog :), I greatly appreciate them getting everyone together for my sending off. It’s difficult to articulate or write what it means to me, but know that it’s truly something special. To have people gather to send me off with a few beers, although a relatively small act, is truly something powerful. And it has stuck with me through this journey, and will continue to be one of my fondest memories no matter where I go from here.

Terrible Tang out here said something to me the other day that really resonated with me. We were talking about brothers and sisters and how growing up there was always a battle about something or other (he has 2 older sisters, and and older brother). He’s now about 35 or so, and like me, his siblings have become his best friends. He said something along the lines of “It takes time to realize what we truly have in siblings. You don’t just have brothers or sisters, you have people that you have literally shared your whole life with, from the very beginning, to the very end.” That is really something that is difficult to comprehend, but it’s something very special as well. So thanks for everything you’ve done, and everything you will do – I appreciate it with all my heart.

Trail Update #8 – Hiking with The Googan

Getting back on the trail after a zero day is always tough. But it’s even tougher when you take five or so days off, as was the case with me last weekend. And then it’s even tougher when you get rained on every day. So, needless to say, it was awesome to have Matt come out for a couple of days to hike with me. Here is The Googan gearing up before the hike – he’s got a machete. I had my tomahawk. No bears would mess with us.

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Originally, I had proposed to do about 42 miles over two and a half days. Something like two 16’s and a ten or something like that. Instead, we wound up doing the 45 miles in two days, and Matt left early on the third (Sunday). So we did a 23 and a 19. Needless to say, that is a whole lot of miles in two days, but Matt gutted it out. We saw a couple of good views early on the first day, McAfee Knob and the Tinker Cliffs. Here is The Googan on McAfee Knob, and one of me:

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Then we battled through most of the day to wind up in Daleville, where we ate a really good dinner at a bbq joint. After stuffing our faces, we planned to hike a couple of miles out of town to some campsite. However, upon getting to where we planned to camp, we discovered that the trail for the next mile cut through a narrow corridor of private land – meaning we would find no campsite there. I know you’re probably thinking that’s not a big deal, just keep walking until you find a site. But when you are at 20+ miles on the day, each mile seems like five. The Googan was definitely in this phase. After leaving the private land and not finding any good camp sites for a half mile or so, he asked me “Dude, are we in trouble?!”

One of my favorite questions. The answer of course was no. But that’s the mindset you have when you pull long days – they’re hard. Luckily we found a pretty awesome camp site about a half mile later and we settled down for a nice firefly spectacle that night.

So The Googan finished out his excursion with a few blisters and some soreness, but his mind power intact. We pulled some big time long days, and he gutted through them like a champ. It was a blast having him out there, and a huge morale booster for me. Now Paul is up next!

Some other pictures from when The Googan was here:

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I caught a toad, my brethren:

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The Googan caught a newt, his brethren:

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