the Appalachian Trail Adventure
It was the summer of 1977, I was 14 years old and had been living in the small seaside community of Hull Massachusetts. When I had first met Bob and Linda, they were living in a nearby cottage. They were very nice and loved nature and I guess you could say they were hippies. No deodorant, no meat, they grew beautiful house plants. We had become friends because of the dog they owned. I loved animals and my dog Cappy and I were very happy to meet them.
I didn't have many friends as I had moved to town in the previous year so it was nice for me to meet some people that I could get along with. Bob and Linda told me of the plan that they had to hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. I thought that it would be great to go with them, but they were in training to hike 20+ miles per day and they were not going to take me with them. But they did agree that I could join them for the final leg of there journey from New York to Maine. I was so excited! then they added that the dogs would be coming with us.
Bob and Linda started in Georgia and hiked there way along the trail for many weeks. They told me about the people and little towns that they came across while they made there way up and down the mountains. As they would go along the trail they had packages waiting with supplies. I think they went through three pairs of boots after they were done with the trail. There dog Otis was known to the hikers that were hiking up and down the trail, Otis had a run in with a porcupine and had to seek medical attention. While they were in town, the local newspaper had heard about the dog and his human companions. They wrote a story about Otis and his encounter with the porcupine. It was titled "mighty Otis The Wonder dog Leaves Paw Prints On Trail."
Eventually they came to the bridge in New York that I was waiting to meet them. My father who had met Bob and Linda for a moment one time had no problem with me hiking off in to the woods with these two hippies and our dogs. The first day they took it easy on me and we only hiked a little more than 12 miles or so. We spent the first night at a monastery in the middle of the woods. It was the Saint Francis of Assisi monastery, the patron saint of animals. We showed up late and missed dinner. But they did give us some sandwiches which was very nice. Usually you could stay overnight in the building but because we had dogs they asked us to camp out in the baseball field. They were concerned our dogs would bark and wake people up.
I could not have been happier! I was so happy we were going to camp out my first night on the trail. So we set up our tents at the edge of the field and settled in for an early bed time. In the morning my dog Cappy wanted to get out of the tent. As I looked out at the field I realized that there was about eight deer grazing in the field. Otis and Cappy chased them in to the woods. I was so worried about my dog but he eventually came back. Seeing those deer in the morning dew is one of my greatest memories of my time on the trail.
As we set out the next day we picked up the pace and I was determined to not slow them down. We hiked about 20 miles the next day and so on for about two weeks. It was great eating on the trail and meeting the different people that were sharing in the trail. Eventually I became home sick, and my dog had an injured paw. I had my sister come and pick me up right before the next state started. I regret not carrying on but I felt a little overwhelmed with the task ahead of me.Bob and Linda completed the trail on Mount Katahdin in Maine. I never saw Linda or Bob again after we had parted ways on the trail. They had bought a farm in North Carolina and we had tried to mail letters back and forth. I wonder if they are still alive. I tried to look them up via social media but to no avail. Maybe someday I will meet them again!