When I started hiking at Springer Mountain in Georgia, years ago, I decided to give myself the Trail Name, “Quilter.” Traditionally Appalachian Trail hikers earn their names on the Trail. Gary's name is Bandelier because he wore a hat from Bandelier National Park and everyone asked him about it. But you might get stuck with something really undesirable so lots of people choose their own names. The idea is that while on the Trail, you leave the “real” world behind and allow nature to sooth your soul, ease the cares of the day, heal your troubled spirit. Or some such malarkey! Anyway, everyone calls you by your Trail Name and the normal names are things like, JetPack, SlowPoke, Rainbow, Speedy, MamaBear, etc.
No one understands the name Quilter. I thought it was meaningful. Hiking the 2125 miles of the AT is like making a quilt. Both endeavors are journeys starting with small pieces and every step and every stitch counts. And you usually learn things along the way. I think of myself as piecing together the many miles of the Trail. This concept is completely lost on my fellow hikers!
This was my last hike for this trip. Gary dropped me off at the base of Glade Mountain and I hiked over the summit to meet him hiking up the opposite side. He carried my lunch so we connected about one o'clock at a nice spot to eat our sandwiches.
The Trail ended today in a mile of rhododendron tunnels. The car is parked at the parking lot of The Settlers Museum and we passed by a small one room school house. A cute young German woman who is ThruHiking was absolutely enchanted to see this bit of American past. I was too!
Trail Angels have again left a cooler of sodas. Gary and I split a cold Mountain Dew, something I'd never choose to drink at home, and it tastes fantastic. There is also a box of toiletries, soaps, shampoos and band aides and things ThruHikers might need. Even some dog food for the hiking canines. How kind and extremely thoughtful people are, here in Virginia.