Monday, May 21, 2012

The Kids Are Here!!!

When we woke up, we discovered that Sean did not get in until 4 in the morning, so instead of hiking 5 miles, and meeting them at noon, we decided to hike 15, and meet them at 5, in order to let them get more sleep before they drove to meet us.  Needless to say, we were VERY excited to see them!
The hike that day ended up being a much more pleasant hike, as we were rewarded with all of the downhill that we had earned the day before.  We also hiked through a lot more mountain laurels and rhododendrons in full bloom.  The start of the day was foggy, and when we arrived at one overlook, I had to laugh, because the sign there said, "Seeing is Believing," but you could not see anything but clouds.  The fog eventually lifted though, and it turned out to be a beautiful day, and before long we arrived at a shelter, Matts Creek Shelter, which sat on a beautiful creek.  We met a young hiker there named Flop, who was taking a day's rest there, because his back was hurting him.  He had been injured four years before when he was hit by a drunk driver, and sometimes had back pain that would flare up.  He was also getting eaten alive by these tiny biting gnats at that shelter, so we gave him our extra DEET before we left.  I think he was pretty happy to get that.  Those gnats were relentless.
We followed that creek for about a mile, and then arrived at the James River, and followed that another mile, before crossing the river on the longest pedestrian-only bridge on the AT.  At the other end, we would meet the kids, but we were about an hour too early.  We met a couple that was fishing on the other side, and after visiting with them, we were convinced that we had given Elise the wrong information for where to meet us, and we could not get a phone signal, so we decided to head 5 miles up the road to the town of Glasgow and try to call them from there.  We tried hitchhiking, and probably hiked about a mile (on a hot road) before a couple stopped in the tiniest car.  I didn't think there was any way we would fit in the car.  The back of their car and their entire backseat was full of luggage!  The man was insistent that he could move everything from the backseat into the very back of the car, however, so he pulled over, and repacked the whole car just so he could fit us in!  He told us that they were returning from a hiking trip in New Hampshire, and they had tried hitchhiking, and ended up having to walk 6 miles because no one would pick them up!  I was so thankful they had stopped!
We arrived at a grocery store in Glasgow, and quickly figured out that the kids, wherever they were, didn't have a phone signal either, and so we could not contact them.  Most frustrating.  We also figured out that we had told Elise the correct location after all.  Keith decided he would get a ride back to the bridge, to see if the kids were there waiting for us, while I stayed at the grocery store with our gear.   He drove off with a nice man who had offered to take him, and not five minutes later, Elise, Daniel, and Sean pull up with Houdini in the backseat!  I was so confused.  What were they doing with Houdini in the car?
As it turns out, the kids had arrived at the bridge, and when they didn't see us, they hiked across the bridge, and after a while spotted Houdini hiking up the trail.  Elise and Sean hated to ask him if he knew Steady and F100, so they were trying to figure out how to inquire if he knew us.  He asked them who they were looking for, and pretty soon, he put two and two together, and he said, "Oh, you guys are Steady and F100's kids!"  He knew that we were meeting them today.  They all hiked on across the bridge, and ran across the couple that was fishing, and that lady told them that that couple from Arkansas had headed on into Glasglow.  Houdini needed to resupply anyway, so the kids gave him a ride into town, as they went to find us.  That's how they ended up at the grocery store, and right after that, Keith showed up too, as he had seen Elise drive by in the opposite direction.  We were all finally together!!!  Yay! 
We headed to the nearest town, Lynchburg, and ate really well at the Outback, and then headed on to the Cabin Creekwood, which is just off the BRP, where we would stay for three nights.

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