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[at-l] All the Way's Journal

Hi Everyone,
...composed this preface to Bob's journal for those of you that have
asked " for a little background please","who are you", and stuff like
that.  Sorry for the delay in giving you these journal entries--
As you read, remember that I am answering your questions from my
recollection and viewpoint...

Bob has longed to hike across the top of the Appalachian ridge since he
was 4 years old(36 years ago), and kept that dream as long as I've known
him (about 20 years).

His parents moved from a toxic-industrial section of New Jersey to a
beautiful valley nestled on one side of the Blue Mountains in PA.  As
Bob relayed to me; while living "in the old farmhouse", his bedroom
window faced the AT and from its hilly stature of blue and mauve, it bid
it's invitation to him to walk and wonder on it's distance.
Facing the reality to hike it's distance came when Bob and I brought
home a brother and sister team(thru-hiked 1995- Sven aka "Huckleberry"
and Kari aka "Pippi")from a nearby post office.  From the time they got
in our car until we dropped them back off to resume their hike, we
absorbed and reabsorbed their stories and they graciously answered our
questions that we had without relenting.  Our kids(Eve now almost 15,
Philip 9, and Rachel 6) completely enjoyed the holiday we all had
together!! These special people became our friends.  They allowed us the
priviledge to contribute to their adventure, aiding us to get a better
grip on the "heart beat" of the trail. 

Once they completed their hike, Sven sent us a copy of a video Kari had
made up for him, composed of photos gathered from their experience.  As
a family we viewed the video with welled up tears and laughter until it
became our common goal to see Bob off on the adventure he had longed for
since his starry-eyed youth.

The actual planning took Bob from the time we received the video until
the night before we took Bob to Philadelphia Airport to begin his turn
as a thru-hiker.  Daily he worked out his thoughts and DREAMS and
expectations while preparing a schedule of estimated arrival times to
post offices en route...always questioning his purpose for separating
himself from his loved ones for this dream.

It's my belief that both our past accomplishments and failures helped
forge this "trip" into a success already.

Coincidently, the motto of a special unit in the Army that Bob worked in
was the same as the trail name he was dubbed by the college kids who
named him...All the Way. 

I dedicate this facet of our life together-to my husband, my lover, and
friend, knowing that we will grow more together in it...
Having a great mission and surviving it, is not merely our goal, it's
our life...
I love you, Bob!!!
and I'm yours always,

...For some reason that I haven't figured out yet entries for 4/8-4/10
are not with this batch of entries???I'll post them as I locate them:)

the journey as Bob relays from
Friday 4/11 Cable Gap Shelter to Fontana Dam  6.6 miles
Good walk into Fontana.  Still lots of ups and downs.  Looking forward
to GSMNP.  Here tonight with some folks that I met on Springer-Rufus,
Captain Spaulding, and Sam.  Terrific shelter-The Fontana Hilton.  Rain
clouds coming in big and fast. Storm is supposed to move through in a
day so this may be a golden opportunity for a day off(VBG).
Gotta go...

All The Way

Saturday 4/12 Fontana Dam Shelter to Mollies Ridge Shelter  10.4 miles

Got a late start out from Fontana.  Nice accomodations at the Hilton,
plus a cold rain made it hard to get motivated.  Left Fontana with Rufus
and Captain Spaulding at about 2:30 or 3PM.  They said that they were
going to hike to here, but they didn't make it. I guess they stopped at
Birch Spring Shelter.  When I passed by Birch Spring it was packed-9 in
and room for maybe 3 more. Here at Mollies there are only 3 of us in for
the night-one is a trail maintainer, the other two are taking a week or
a little more to hike through the Smokies. Today was a gray day. Rain
off and on the whole hike-Smokey Mountains-low visibility. I hope that
it clears a little before I get to Clingman's Dome. Life is good.  Gotta

All the Way

Sunday 4/13 Mollies Ridge Shelter to Derrick Knob Shelter  11.4 miles

Cold today, supposed to be colder tonite. Hiked through ice covered
trees and bushes all day.  I wore fleece and wind pants to hike in. 
Stayed warm while moving,froze when I stopped.  Very beautiful country. 
Full shelter tonite.  Rufus and Captain Spaulding caught up.  Bones just
walked in.  Grape Ape and Rusted Root from Alabama, one or two other
thru hikers, and a few guys section hiking the Smokies.  (One has
hypothermia so we're fixin him up some hot tea and put him in his bag.  
All the Way
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