I think I should try to finish my story first…even though I left off several weeks ago. I’ll condense it.
On the next day of our hike, I was stung by an angry yellow jacket. This was not good–it was hot and I was sweaty and we had many miles to hike. By the time we reached a place I could consider getting off trail, I HAD to get off the trail. The leg was so swollen and red, it began to forming blisters before my eyes. Unfortunately the wasp stung me right on the back of my right leg, above the knee joint. The pain was immense. It was ugly. And it needed to be looked at. Off the trail, a trip to the ER, steroids, benadryl…I was done.
When one comes off the trail, it is never your wish that others will come off too. You want them to finish, and finish they did. I camped and became a trail angel, along with one of the other wives who had elected not to hike at all. A trail angel will meet hikers at trail/road intersections with food or water, or leave water or snacks for hikers to find. This is a wonderful thing when you have a hot, dry summer and streams are low. This was my new job, mine and Rose’s.
Now I’m going to tell you about the best part of this hike–even though I wasn’t hiking any more, I got to witness and be part of some magic that was, by everyone’s standards, absolutely no coincidence. Dave, Dave and Dave (our three remaining hikers) were moving south to north along the trail. Rose and I had copies of the trail maps, indicating where the trail would cross the road. The trail will sometimes cross a major thoroughfare and sometimes cross an old logging road. This particular crossing happened to be in a very remote area of Connecticut, a dirt road in fact, whose homes were anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 mile apart at any given point. The crossing itself was not easy to find–but we did–and we waited with fresh bottled water and fruit for the men.
First out of the woods was Antman (Dave S, pictured above). He was about five minutes ahead of Dave and Dave (our husbands). The five of us were gathered at the road crossing, peacefully chatting and snacking. The Dave’s still had several miles to go, but it was a welcome break for everyone. As we were chatting, coming out of the woods from the opposite direction (heading south), were two women. They had been hiking a while and were having some difficulties finding water. They were looking to find a quiet place to end their day, likely a bit dehydrated from their long walk with little water.
Of course we replenished them. If you’ve never been without water, you might be surprised at the effect it has on your body when you haven’t had enough of it. You are disoriented, tired and even irritable. You could visibly watch the women come a little more back to life once they’d had the opportunity to replenish themselves.
And that’s when the miracle happened.
Mary, pictured above with Antman, looked over at him. She looked closely. “Dave?” she said. “Mary–is that you?” he replied. The two started tearing up and hugged one another–you see, Mary and Dave were very old friends who had not seen one another in years. And they were both so tired, they didn’t recognize each other. But with a little water and a little rest, there on a remote side road in the middle of Connecticut, two old friends from Pennsylvania reconnected.
Unbelievable. I think the picture speaks for itself. Not a dry eye amongst us, I assure you.