Journal 261-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

Sponsors     Journals     Itinerary     Gear List

Sunday–November 7, 2021
Trail Day–261
Trail Mile–10.9/2616.9
Remaining Miles–0.00 (Appalachian Trail) and 0.8 (Pinhoti)
Location–West Branch Road (1561.0) to Tom Levardi’s Home in Dalton (1571.9), then to home of Mike & Carol Whalen and son, Chris, Otis, Massachusetts

A restless night; understandable I suppose! Barry has hot coffee and breakfast prepared for me shortly after five, and by six we’re back to the trailhead at West Branch Road–where Barry sends us on our way.

Here, and hiking with me this final day, so many dear friends: Slim Jim, Kitchen Sink, Pooter Scooter, Mayor, Slider & Neighbor Dave. It’s another blue-perfect hiking day, crispy-cold and clear.

This is an average-mile day, over moderately level and friendly terrain, some rocks and roots, some mud, a bit of climbing to a fine vantage, then a short roadwalk through Dalton to Tom Levardi’s home on Depot Street–where folks have gathered to welcome and congratulate me. A firm hug from Tom, then from Grey Beard (current AT thru-hike AT record holder).

On the front steps of Tom’s lovely old home, Grey Beard presents me with a beautifully engraved hiking stick, a symbolic transfer of the age record from himself to me. An incredibly emotional time, as I again break down in tears.

Log book for Odyssey 1998

Grey Beard then performs his famous “Victory Dance” for me, and all present lift a congratulatory cup of champagne.

Then the unavoidable sad goodbyes–to  Tom, Grey Beard, Slim Jim, Slider, Neighbor Dave, Dan Morton & Barbie Howland, and later to: Pooter Scooter & Mayor.

Evening, Barry, Kitchen Sink and I return to the Whalen’s home to rest the night before heading back south–and home.

Finally, to all who’ve supported me, to the legions who’ve encouraged me, and to my generous sponsors, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for this amazing journey!

Odyssey 2021 – Bama to Baxter – Hike On

 

O Lord that lends me life,
lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.
(William Shakespeare)

73 Comments on “Journal 261-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

  1. Congratulations Nibblewill Nomad!!! I’ve read everyone of you posts and enjoyed your journey with pictures, script and prose. Your a very special person to take on such a feat.
    God Bless you in all your future endeavors!

    Like

  2. MJ Eberhart, Nimblewill Nomad, thank you so much for sharing your journey with me! Congratulations on your accomplishment! The writings and photographs were incredible and I appreciate being able to follow you on your pilgrimage. You are an inspiration to me. Peace, (Janey)

    One cannot divine nor forecast the conditions
    that will make happiness;
    One only stumbles upon them by chance,
    In a lucky hour, at the world’s end somewhere,
    And holds fast to the days…
    —Willa Cather.

    Like

  3. Good hiking Nimblewill. You take nothing but steps and leave behind you nothing but smiles. Good luck in the future.

    Like

  4. I learned of you when you were passing thru Cave Springs Ga. Have followed you since then, and have enjoyed reading your post and seeing the pictures! Congratulations! You are an inspiration to me!

    Like

  5. Congratulations!!! Since the ATC won’t recognize your miles before the end of May… Don’t forget to request your ALDHA Way completion certificate from ALDHA.
    Respectfully,
    Nimbus

    Like

  6. Congratulations! You are such an inspiration! I have really enjoyed your journal. I’ll miss your daily entries!

    Like

  7. Congratulations! It has been wonderful and inspiring to follow your journey.

    Like

  8. I’ve really enjoyed following you on this amazing hike. You are an inspiration to many Congratulations! “Hike on!”

    Like

  9. I have so enjoyed your daily ramblings, thoughts and inspiration! YOU DID IT! I have followed along with you and updated the ones that now know you by name (since I mentioned your day often). Proud of you and CONGRATS as well! You are an inspiring soul! Hope you get some well deserved rest and get to reflect and share with those around you!

    Like

  10. Congratulations!! I’m so glad you have completed the journey but will miss reading your daily updates. Take care.

    Like

  11. Congratulations, possible cuz! A magnificent example for us all. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts and following your progress. May you continue to be blessed.

    Like

  12. Congrats on another epic adventure! You truly are an inspiration, not just for hiking, but also on how to live a life full of passion. God bless you!

    Like

  13. BZ! CONGRATULATIONS! It has been a wonderful read for all these months. Now time to go home and get a shave, a haircut and sit back and relax for a couple of days! Thanks for the memories. John Paul // AB4PP (One of the hams you did not meet on the trail)

    Like

  14. Don’t you dare think about walking home ! Ha-Ha I have prayed for a successful journey and God delivered one. I will see you soon.
    Larry Parks

    Like

  15. I AM SOOOOOO PROUD OF YOU AND BLESSED TO CALL YOU DEAR FRIEND!!!!!!
    Congratulations!!!!!!!

    Like

  16. Congratulations, Nimble Will. My wife started following your posts and then would send them to me. The Trail was a dream I was not able to pursue, so reading your posts has been a real “upper” for me. I have felt like I was traveling with you through the high points and low points. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us, and may God bless you.

    Like

  17. So very very happy for you Sunny. Such an incredible journey. “Congratulations “ seems so inadequate!
    Hope to see you in Flagg Mountain someday soon!

    Like

  18. Congratulations on your finish ! I have followed you the entire way with every post you wrote. The pics were wonderful. The stories amazing. What an inspiration you are to many ! Now rest for the next few days! Thanks for the journey! Come to the Smokies again !

    Like

  19. Love it! Congratulations on this awe-inspiring journey 😀 Thank you for bringing us all along with you through your writings & glorious photos. Wishing you all the best in life!

    Like

  20. I have enjoyed following your journey and have used it for motivation in my own life. I will miss your blog! Congratulations!

    Like

  21. Congratulations on your epic journey. I hope I will get the chance to follow the steps you took. You are definitely an inspiration. Once again congratulations on your walk in the woods.

    Like

  22. You are such an inspiration to so many. Congratulations on your 2021 Oddyssey-Baxter to Bama. I will miss your daily posts. Enjoy you many more adventures.

    Like

  23. Have enjoyed every one of your post. Love your writing, sharing your experiences and the inspiration you give us all. My grandson, Braxton and the other conservation officers and volunteers have ione improvements on Flagg Mountain. Will be seeing you soon. Welcome “HOME”.

    Like

  24. There are no words that describe the way the trail and you blend together. I am grateful that our paths crossed a couple of times long ago . You have always been a part of my trail stories and more so now. I wish you the best that life has in-store because my old friend you have earned it. I’ll be looking for the new book release in the future, autographed of course . You have earned your place along side Earl Shaffer and Grandma Gatewood for sure. If you ever set foot in Michigan you better plan on a short visit with Debbie and me. I can’t believe it’s over , but relieved your safe. God bless you Nimble will your hiking friend Au Sable Mike another day in paradise..

    Like

  25. What a joy to read your entries each day! I so admire you. Congratulations to you and best wishes for your next journey, whatever that may be!

    Like

  26. Amazing hike! Thanks for allowing us to follow along. Rest up! There is more hiking to come in the spring. Maybe just not quite as far.

    Like

  27. Congratulations! We are so happy for you. The people you shared your journey with will be blessed, and you were blessed by them. Those relationships make a person rich.
    Rocky and Swampfox 2005

    Like

  28. You did it!!! I so enjoyed following your journey. You are one tough man with a lot of determination.
    Nimblewill, I wish you well and I will miss your posts.
    God bless you man. ❤
    Lynn (Atlhiker)

    Like

  29. Congratulations Nimblewill! A wonderful journey, a wonderful job of journaling and an accomplishment for the record books. I’ve enjoyed following you these months and will miss the daily updates but now it’s time for a well earned rest. You’ve shown us all that age is just a number. The very best to you and your plans, whatever they may be, for your next adventure. Trolley Stop – AT 2011.

    Like

  30. Congratulations from Alexander City, Alabama! Well done!
    Ann and John Ferguson

    Like

  31. Congratulations! I enjoyed your adventure vicariously and am proud for you! Outstanding.

    Like

  32. You are such an inspiration to all of us, Congratulations Sunny, What an amazing odyssey indeed!!

    Like

  33. Congratulations. I hope to walk in your foot steps someday soon . Not at 83 but 53. Amazing journey. Fantastic photos.

    Like

  34. I very much enjoyed following you on this journey. Congrtulations on a job well done from one ex-record holder to a new record holder. “Mamaw B” AT 2012

    Like

  35. No one but former thru-hikers can truly understand just how difficult this really was.
    A great great achievement
    Congrats for setting the bar even higher
    Gimp AT Ga – Me ‘03

    Like

  36. What an amazing feat! I’ve been following you since the beginning of your blog, go home get some good rest! You’re such an inspiration!

    Congrats!! What an amazing feat! I’ve been following you since the beginning of your blog, go home get some good rest! You’re such an inspiration!

    Like

  37. Congratulations Nimblewill !!! You have been (and I’m sure that you will continue to be) such an inspiration. Thanks for sharing your amazing adventures, for the better and for the worse, with us! Carry On!

    Like

  38. Woo hoo! Congratulations on an amazing feat. I hope I can be as nimble when I am your age. And of course the inevitable question – what next?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: