Friday–July 9, 2021
Location–Clark’s Valley Road (PA-325), then to the home of Stephen Redbeard McGill, AT Mile 1,167.3
Four-thirty comes early, but not too early for yet another sad farewell, this time to my dear young friend, Celine Three o’Hearts Francois. Her time spent with me, hiking and filming, it’s over, and she must return to Alabama, where she’ll complete her filming work there at Flagg Mountain–before returning home. What a grand, joy-filled time we’ve shared, Three o’Hearts. Thanks for coming and hiking with me; and thanks for your kind, generous support. Safe travels dear friend!
Michael, shuttle driver, also known as Cosmic Cowboy, is right here at four-thirty to whisk her away to Harrisburg International. Then he’s right back here to fetch me and run me back to the trail. I’m back stumbling through the Pennsylvania rocks a little after eight.
Up until now I’ve been telling folks that this is my fourth time through on the AT. But that changed yesterday evening when I crossed over Peters Mountain Road on the pedestrian bridge. Back in the 1980s I attempted section-hiking the AT. During the following years I managed to make it to Peters Mountain Road here in Pennsylvania. Being further north each return trip required more and more driving time, to the point where there was scarcely any remaining hiking time. So, that was it for my ill-fated AT section hike.
Today passes pretty much as have many others during this adventure, that is, until early afternoon when I rounded a corner to see this chap sitting on a huge boulder–holding up a dog-eared copy of Ten Million Steps. Beaming smile, “Hello Nimblewill” he says. Sure got my attention! “We’ve met before; my name is Lake.” beaming smile continues. “Would you sign my book for me?” he asks. So, here in the rocks on Peters Mountain we meet again. What an amazing moment!
Warren Lake Renninger hiked the Eastern Continental Trail during the years 2011 & 2012, a distance of 5,400 miles.
This evening and tonight I’ll be the guest of Stephen Redbeard McGill. He’s parked where the trail crosses Clark’s Valley Road and has hiked up Peters Mountain to greet me and hike a bit. And Redbeard? Fascinating folks, what a remarkable time. For you see, Redbeard has also hiked the Eastern Continental Trail, all 5,400 miles of it!
So, on a remote section of trail in Pennsylvania, three hikers meet–and hike together today, Lake, Redbeard, & Nimblewill–who’ve collectively hiked 20,000 miles on the Eastern Continental Trail!
This “Bama to Baxter” odyssey is absolutely charmed–no other way to describe it…
…there are charmed moments…
in every life and in every day, if we are only…
wise enough to appreciate them.