Saturday, July 18, 2009


Today’s blog is our 4th of July/28th Anniversary adventure. Yes, I'm a tad behind, but sit back. It's a ride you're sure to enjoy. We’re on the road again -this time we visit Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

We make our usual stop at the area’s Visitor’s Center. Then we head to the Appalachian Trail Visitor Center. This is the place where thru-hikers stop for supplies, hook up on the Internet, and rest up. A sign boasts it’s the halfway point between Georgia and Maine.

Since I’m a curious sort, I start talking to one of the thru-hikers. Kozemo tells us he started his trek on the AT in March, but got side-lined in mid-May. He slipped coming down a hill and broke his leg.

People, I know what you're thinking, but I stay put and calmly ask him if a helicopter was involved in his rescue.

“No, I’m trained as an EMT and I had my buddy wrap my leg real tight and we walked out.”

At that moment, I decide I am NUTS for even thinking about hiking any of the 2,178 miles. BUT when I thought it couldn't get worse, it did. After our chat with Kozemo, I pick up a book to read. Information inside seals the deal. I AM NUTS and I’m not sleeping in the shelters along the Appalachian Trail. They have MICE (did I mention I hate them more than going over huge bridges).

I've never hyperventilated before, but I am certain I was doing just that with this last bit of news. Then I realize (and start to smile), I don’t have to worry about the rodents. First, I have to train for the long journey. And, I’m thinking it’s going to take a whole lot longer to get into shape than I thought (wink, wink).

We head to our hotel and settle in. Oh, by the way, did I mention the reason it's a big day? R. is dragging me down a big nasty river in nothing but a little rubber boat. We're riding the rapids.

Oh, how I prayed for the Lord’s return, but the day dawns clear and bright. We arrive at River Riders with plenty of time to spare. R. assures me that we’ll face Category 1 and 2 (mild, with a few bumps) rapids. I’m okay with his explanation until I watch the safety film. The water and people flopping around in the rafts appear anything but tame. God help me.

Again, I bow my head in fervent prayer, but Jesus decides it still isn’t time for his triumphant return. I don’t have a choice but to go and get fitted with a helmet and life vest. We take a bus to the Shenandoah River and Ryan, our guide, loads us up and we’re off.

All (or most) of my fears disappear a few yards from shore. Ryan assures me if I pay attention, I won’t fall out of the raft. Whenever we come close to any rapids, he tells us exactly what we need to do. I’m out of my comfort zone and having a GREAT time. Who knew?

As our almost four hour voyage wraps up, I look back and ponder - it's amazing when I push the limits I’ve set for myself, I enjoy the experience. Am I ready for bigger and faster rapids? Not quite yet, but I’ll remember the great time R. and I had for years to come.

Both of us are tired pups, but there’s still daylight. We take off on the back roads and (as usual) find some interesting sites (see picture below).

We found this adorable house in Shepherdstown, WV. Wouldn’t this make a wonderful playhouse? Honestly, I’d love to go home right now and build one and call it my office. Since it seems almost magical, maybe I’d get some serious writing done. Just a thought!

Our eventful day ends and our heads hit the pillow early ‘cause tomorrow is another big day. It’s July 4th and our 28th anniversary. R. and I need to do some serious celebrating after the year we’ve had (I’ll leave it at that and go on) and what we decide to do is hike another stretch of the Appalachian Trail (no worry about mice today since I won’t be sleeping).

R. pulls into the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and we grab our hiking sticks out of the trunk and take a bus. The driver drops us off in Harpers Ferry and within minutes we’re on the trail again.

Should we go to Maine or Georgia? Decisions, decisions, decisions.

We decide to head north and maybe a half mile into our excursion; I spot a man in a wheelchair coming toward us. This incredible sight puts any troubles I may have in the “quit grumbling, it could be so much worse” file in my heart. R. and I say hi and the gentleman asks if we want to buy some water. Since it’s early, we decline (stay tuned to the rest of the story).

As you can see we manage to clock a quite a few miles on our hike today (and if you believe that we walked 59 miles – I’ve got some land in Florida I’d like you to look at-HA!).

As much as we hate to end our hike, it’s time to go. We turn around and on our way, we run into the gentleman in the wheelchair. This time we’re ready to buy a bottle or two of water from him, but he’s sold out, but all is not lost. Craig goes on to share why he spends his time on the trail.

“I’ve got two choices. I can stay in a nursing home and die or I can be out here, bringing water to people who need it. I’d rather be among the living.”

Amen! And what a testimony, Craig. Thanks for putting things into perspective. May God richly bless you and your endeavors.

We head to Herndon for a dinner at Uno-Chicago Grill. What a delightful day and it ends with delicious food (dessert was on the house-what a surprise).


PS: And since we’re speaking of Uno – our wonderful waitress brought us our doggy bag in this brightly colored box. What a sweetheart.

1 comment:

dwanreed said...

Nettie, I think it's wonderful that you and Ray are so adventurous. My husband would probably be stretched out in front of a T.V. while I did the exploring. What a great way to spend a honeymoon. Looking forward to your return to hot, steamy, and suffocating Texas.