Journal 259-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Friday–November 5, 2021
Trail Day–259
Trail Mile–10.3/2593.6
Remaining Miles–24.1
Location–Beartown Mountain Road (1538.3) to Goose Pond Road (1548.7), then to home of Mike & Carol Whalen and son, Chris, Otis, Massachusetts

Another great night’s rest at the Whalen home. Carol prepared a delicious and nourishing supper for us (me, Barry, Slim Jim, Kitchen Sink & Pooter Scooter).  Upstairs in my room I tried working my journal entry but promptly fell asleep!

This morning we’re greeted by another cold (30 degree), clear morning. It’s a short distance, a half-hour drive, back to Beartown Mountain Road. Hiking with me today are Mayor, Slim Jim, Kitchen Sink & Pooter Scooter. Barry has us out and moving a bit after seven-thirty.

As with recent days, we’ve what seems enormous elevation changes, ascents and descents at or in excess of 5,000 feet. Today is little different. The grades are gradual though, the tread friendly, with a few cobby sections thrown in. Progress of 1.5 mph is relatively easy, making for reasonable total trail hours of around eight.

The red and orange autumn colors are all gone now, but the golds and russets remain, bringing an unusual and startlingly pleasant brightness to the otherwise customary darkness of the deep woods. The vistas, from our high vantages may not appear as striking, yet autumn lingers, a pleasant maturity that marks its near end. Late fall with the chill of shorter days–this is my favorite time of year!

An amazing thing happened to me today, one of the most intense emotional moments I’ve experienced in my memory–hiking along in my rhythmic hypnotic-like pace I look up to see this backpacker sitting a large blowdown beside the trail. Passing, I nod, but notice he’s got his phone camera running. His cap is pulled down, a sock is over his face, so all I can see are his eyes. Hesitating, I’m thinking: I know this fellow! I turn to take another look. OMG, it’s who I think it is; it’s Grey Beard, current AT thru-hike age record holder. He’s driven two days, all the way from Memphis, to be with me. I break into an uncontrollable sob unable to contain my emotions of the moment. Barry had hiked in, reaching us just moments before. And there he and Grey Beard stand, the most gleeful looks on their faces. Open arms now, the old Grey Beard & Nimblewill exchange hugs. What a moment, what an intense emotional moment. Grey Beard is such a dear friend; he encouraged me to attempt this long, difficult journey. And here he is. He’s come to join me and to share the joy at the end of this quest…

You are never too old to set another goal
or to dream a new dream.
(C. S. Lewis)

19 Comments on “Journal 259-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

  1. Hello! I’m reaching out from The Weather Channel to see if you would be willing and able to join us for a couple of live interviews this weekend, on Sunday Nov. 14th. Please email or call me, I’d love to be able to speak with you about it! My email is and my number is (863) 712-1368.


  2. Pingback: 83-year-old man becomes oldest to hike Appalachian Trail | Hiking | Record | man - Live Feeds

  3. Hi! Congratulations in advance, l just wanted to ask if it would be okay to include your pictures in a news segment? Thank you 🙂


  4. Amazing and so inspiring!! Loved keeping up with reading your progress through the months!! Congratulations and enjoy.


  5. Congrats on your record walk!
    You are getting great national news coverage well deserved!


  6. Pingback: Nimblewill Nomad, 83, Is Now the Oldest Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker - The Trek

  7. Pingback: Nimblewill Nomad's Record-Breaking 2021 Odyssey - Menasha Ridge Press Blog

  8. What a beautiful divine appointment for you to have this day, at near end. What an embrace that must have been. So excited for you, as you are standing in arms length of your goal❣️🥰 What an epic and wondrous accomplishment you have achieved, and are about to tie neatly in a bow.
    And what a joy of helpers and companions the Lord has provided for you, all along your way, Nimble Will. So glad Grey Beard has joined you. Such a sweet pairing for your finish❣️😎
    God has richly blessed you, my brother. May His presence lift and fill your spirit in the days to come❣️🙂


  9. You’re almost there Nimblewill. It was amazing how Grey Beard joined you to finish your journey. Congratulations in advance!



  10. AWESOME!!!!! What a great friend he is to share this special time with you!!!!
    You have lots of special friends and are one blessed man – as we are all blessed by YOU!!!


  11. Hi Sunny.
    Keep on hiking friend. My hair stylist is Joyce from Eldon Missouri. I hope you enjoyed my book. Regards Wesley D. Willis


  12. My favorite read thus far. You two are so inspiring and the joy you shared in the video is what the world needs more of. ✌️ Happy trails to two legends! God Bless


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