On the disabled list

It’s been awhile, but I’m finally back. Online that is, not the trail. Not yet anyway. Tomorrow, I return to work at Franconia Notch in New Hampshire.

All along, I had planned to take a 10-day break in late August. Two good friends drove here from Maryland and picked me up at the notch, and we camped four nights in Vermont. After the fun would come business: flying home to Indiana to take a state-mandated divorce class. Indiana would not be completely bleak as I would get to spend a week with my children and see other family and old friends. I was beat and looking forward to a little break.

Then I slipped. And my little break became five little breaks … on the left side of my ribcage. Luckily, I was hiking with a friend that week in the White Mountains and that friend, Dreamcatcher, was able to check me for a concussion (it was negative) and help push this banged-up old guy another 33 miles to Franconia Notch. My quick 10 days became five long weeks.

This morning, I flew back to Portland, Maine, and caught a shuttle 95 miles to North Woodstock, N.H. Golden Waldo, my driver’s trail name from his 1990 hike, is another of the many trail angels you will find along the Appalachian Trail. Ever since he hiked, he has been hooked on the White Mountains. He spends half his time in New Hampshire and Maine shuttling hikers up and down a 500-mile stretch of the trail for gas money and expenses. In late October, he heads home to Louisiana to cheer on his Saints. Great to meet you, Waldo (even better because he’s a Cubs fan, who at 82 deserves some good karma for his team this fall for all he does for us hikers).

In the morning, I catch a ride back to Franconia Notch. It feels like it has been forever since I was there in August. It was kind of eerie to see the play “Same Time, Next Year” advertised in town since it feels like it’s been a year since I was here. I already miss my kids terribly and the weather is beginning to turn cold, but I have some unfinished work to do out here.

Until my next entry (hopefully in a week from Vermont), happy trails!

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