Free from despair

The next morning I had no motivation except getting to the post office before it closed. Still unable to shake the murky dreadful feelings I had I left earlier than everyone else and called Kim for support. Our short conversation led to one thing, I needed to call Aaron and see what he thought too. We talked for the better part of an hour while I climbed over a mountain. It’s not often I get to call home but I took every opportunity the morning to talk with him. I told him everything, I was feeling low, not that I wanted to quit, that I didn’t want to finish. I was finding it harder each morning to set out and do big miles, maybe I had a recurrence of Lyme’s symptoms which was causing my fatigue.

His response was what I expected, rational and uplifting. Telling me it was normal to want this journey to not end, I was two thirds of the way through and the ride would be soon over, but I still had 800 miles to go which wasn’t short. I had gone 1400 miles and I should be worn down physically and mentally.  The culmination of his words were I needed a day off, maybe two.  It sounded like I needed that more than ever to him. When we came to this conclusion I had just come to a sign on the trail. A lone note pinned to a bridge, saying breakfast was a tenth of a mile up the road. With Aaron on the phone I looked up the address and headed off, telling him this was how the trail works. One minute you’re hiking the next you are on an adventure.

Walking up to the house I was quickly welcomed by the smells of waffles and a plate full. Bill and Amy quickly invited me in an and enveloped me in their warm home. I felt immediately safe and relaxed with them. Sitting there with a plate full of fresh waffles, glass of milk and instantly good friends. I should have known then I wasn’t going to leave but it wasn’t apparent to me, to them it was, to me I was still intending on hiking out. They quickly took me to the post office to grab my package and from there we grabbed Flailing, a hiker from Germany, and brought him back for waffles too.

Throught the afternoon we spent our time playing on the trampoline with the two children and playing horseshoes with Bill. Throwing a double ringer and a few great shots, he beat me in a close game of 22 to 20. Playing with the girls couldn’t have been more tiring if I tried. At every minute of rest they were off pulling Flailing and I from one thing to another, playing this game and that. By the early afternoon we knew we weren’t going anywhere and accepted the day would be an off day. The two of us were blessed with dinner and pints of ice cream while we slept in the loft above the garage.

Still with hopes of leaving we packed up and ate breakfast again. It wasn’t long before the two girls had us jumping on the trampoline again. To our surprise we were joined by Twiggs and he was in the mod for waffles. Breakfast had, he joined us outside as bill showed us one of his toys.  Shooting potatoes into the air, it was hard to think of a place we needed to get too, the pull for us to stay was too much. Striking up a few games of horseshoes with the guys it became apparent I wasn’t leaving again and bill had already known it. Telling us to have dinner ready when he eturned from his errands. Twiggs on the other hand made it out while we watched TV and relaxed in the sun.

Spending two days there was just what I needed, the laughter, time away from hiking, playing was all needed. You really have to listen to your body and mine had been screaming at me for a while to take some time off. I felt like a new person when I awoke on the third day, alive ready to conquer the world. No longer was an drowning in the feelings of despair and dread. The weight had been lifted by Bill and Amy, I hope they knew how much they turned my trail around for me. I will return one day and spend more time with them. They are a great example of what being a trail angel is, open home, open heart. Without them, Samantha and Sharron, who knows where I would have been. Each one pushing me, saving me, helping me along this journey.

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