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Re: [ft-l] Chatter



In a message dated 12/2/99 10:27:17 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
aahern1@tampabay.rr.com writes:

> oh boy a poem!
>  please do share.

Don't blame me.  It was requested!  LOL

This is my second Gathering
Though I haven't hiked the Trail that much
Still they embrace me as a dreamer
And let me feel the Trail's magic touch.

Last year was hard to top
Making so many friends was such a feat
But this year was special too
Five of us in a Honda's back seat.

How's this for a friendly progression?
Last year the hiker babes got hugs
But this year if they asked me
They got my soothing back rubs.

The drive up to NH was not solo
I was joined by Wisperlight
Who, among his other talents
Can talk all day and all night.

And even though his emails
Set spelling back a century
In person he is delightful
The way a good friend should be.

The campsites were split up
Into listers loud and quiet
An Idea that failed I think
Back together next year let's try it.

Dartmouth was pure ivy league
Surrounding Hanover's village green
Hikers scurrying to and fro
Amidst this splendid autumn scene.

Friday night was sure hectic
Thruhikers from wall to wall
Ah, but for me the highlight
Was seeing Nina there with Paul.

Mags and the Firegoddess
Publicity seeks this pair
Did you see them in the mags?
So cute I just had to stare.

In front of me were two babes
Stitches let me rub her back
She got the very first one
 I felt her tension go slack.

Alongside Mara was Hyper Heidi
A babe I had never met
But my fingers were all warmed up
So too a rub she did get.

Karen Berger had slides of her triple
To hold the audience rapt
But several long slide glitches
And soon our enthusiasm slacked.

That night I didn't camp out
Instead I stayed in a motel
With which hiker babe you ask?
A gentleman would never tell!

But this poet is hardly that
The answer is two lines later
She will never live it down
It's our own author, Navigator! 

Oh, don't get the wrong idea
Only the room was shared
But you gotta love her spunk
Would any of you other babes dare?

On Saturday I went to see Warren Doyle
Put on his masterful thruhiker workshop
And shared Mom's homemade muffins
And watched GMC give a Coke a drop.

Then lunch with the Buffingtons & Maine Rose
Various New England cuisine was tried
While Bev talked of her new book
The first trail bunny thruhiker guide.

Lots of different seminars in the afternoon
Made it very hard to choose
The ones I saw were great
Those I missed gave me the blues.

Of note was the lister's workshop
The only place a hiker could see
Datto stumble into Twilight's lap
And a tutu make a fool outta me.

The listers chipped in for pizza
From “Anything but Anchovies”
And we each had our fill, topped off
With my sis’s home baked cookies.

That evening the slideshow rocked
Peacewalker hiked south with fall
And during it GMC got her back rub
At the end she felt no stress at all.

Here's where the plot thickens
I wanted to check out the contra dance
But when invited to go drinking with Datto
I could hardly pass up the chance.

The saloons and the bars and the taverns
Were full.  It seemed hopeless until
Datto produced his grunter/bleater
And let out with a mighty shrill.

All of a sudden things became still
You could have heard a pin
So we moved to the front of the line
And they quickly let us in.

A table for five awaited
In this narrow glass alcove
Soon all were seated comfortably
And the fun commenced, by Jove!

Some veterans from like times at Quinceys
Datto, GMC, RamBunny and me
And we were joined by Ten Toes
There to share in the madness and glee.

Well soon, friends, the booze it was flowing
And we heard of Datto’s frat cavorts
This was greeted by much laughter
And one of RamBunny’s loud snorts!

Soon we all were a snortin’
Joined by some grunts and a bleat
And the patrons next table over
Searched vainly for a far away seat.

At that table we were all Hoosiers
Yes, Indiana's the place to be
With a host of memorable characters
And a large dose of lunacy.

RamBunny had just quit smoking.
The intense battle had been drawn
But all this booze made her say
“I feel a lecture coming on!”

In this state of inebriation
Where beyond mellow is never felt
We talked of a novel way to clean fish
Just ask any of us about smelt.

Many hours of mirth thus passed
Countless sodas and wine and beer
But it was late and no one had a car
How the hell we gonna get outta here?

Luckily Snail No More and Eva
Came by and stopped for a drink
When we heard they came in a Honda
It made us wonder and think.

So that's how it happened
That we were five in a backseat
Squeezed in with three babes
For me it was a cuddly treat!

The night is still young!
On to the campfire
More backrubs to give
Before I retire.

Sunday's first lecture was taught by Gary B
Who tried to scare the crap out of me
The only gruesome slide he was lacking
Was a thruhiker impaled by a Leki.

Next was the ALDHA meeting
With minutes taken by John O
He and Bleeder Guy were voted in
Soon the List will control this show!

Here's a thought about John O
It is something really crazy
What if outta all the hiker babes
Just Playin’ Jane fonda was he?
(hehehe......)

Then on to the group photo
With 375 of my closest friends
Sharing great times and good cheer
Something I hope never ends.

Bill Bryson was a no-show
I don't think you can blame him
With all those thru-hiking purists
Waiting in ambush to flame him.

So off I went to see our own Bluetrail
Who donned a halo and angel wings
And explained the secret of how
To mail drop a thruhiker his things.

Her guy, Wanchor, has hiked everywhere
Looking to nature for that good ol’ hiker cure
And when he gets his mail from Joan
Packed in with the food is some love du jour.

Next was the high point of the day
Standing room only for Nimblewill Nomad
Who hiked from Key West to Cap Gaspe
And shared the immense journey he had.

No notes, no slides, no gimmicks
Just the moving story of his trip
Pacing the aisle with his two sticks
A torrent of meaning from his lips.

You could see it in his eyes
He'd found his purpose out there
And he brought his passion to us
And he left us with a dare.

That when we get to Baxter Peak
And emit those joyful shrieks
A Canadian journey we should seek
With enchantment for six more weeks.

The audience was mesmerized
By this amazing hiker's story
And everyone had a hug for him
To share in his emotional glory.

And yet still there was more
Our riches overflowed
That night we got Earl Shaffer
His ‘48 slides he showed.

All this for ten bucks, John O was sure right
The Gathering is such a steal
Even if your budget is tight, try as you might
Where else can you find such a deal?

So please, friends, if you've never been
Come to West Virginia next year
I promise you'll feel some magic
Just like I've described for you here.

This concludes the story of Gathering ‘99
And my weak attempts at rhyme and meter
But I’ll say this about my hiking friendships
They just keep getting sweeter and sweeter!

Happy trails,

Solar Bear
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