Thursday, May 30, 2013

Blue Ridge Mountains

Footage over the past week over the Blue Ridge Mountains - Slack Packing and Dumptruck's parents visiting!

5/25: 8.9 miles. US 501 to Bluff Mountain

5/26: 12.9 miles. Bluff Mountain to US 60

5/27: Zero Day with Dumptruck's parents. But we went on a 2 mile hike with them back on a part of the AT that took us to Apple Orchard Falls.

5/28: 19.7 miles. US 60 to Crabtree Falls 

5/29: 16.3 miles. Crabtree Falls to Reeds Gap


Falling in love is a crapshoot. Even if the person is fantastic, there are still fair odds of them coming from a completely bonkers and/or uncomfortable family. People become excellent in all sorts of ways. In some circumstances, it's learned behavior from a great family. In others, the person may simply be rising above. There's no real way to know until you meet the kin in question. Then it's up to you to weather the storm or abandon ship. Neither option is great because in either case seasickness is inevitable. 

Take Roald Dahl's Matilda for example. I'd still marry her because she's incredible and has TELEPATHIC POWERS for heaven's sake, but the family she comes from is nothing short of evil. Or what about that girl who fell in love with Mowgli from the Jungle Book? "Well, honey, I'm all set to marry you but you're going to have to learn the real meaning of the word bear hug. Also, you have a 50/50 chance of getting mauled by a panther."

When I first met Dumptruck, he seemed a pretty swell fellow. I haven't always had the best instincts when it comes to first impressions; that is to say, I like most everyone, and need some pretty serious persuading to think otherwise. What a delight it was to discover that he was indeed rather wonderful, and not just in a first-impression kind of way. He even bludgeoned a fish for me. The cave-woman in me swooned!

When it became apparent that I might be developing feelings for this person, I knew that eventually I would have to meet his family. What if they were really proper and fancy, and I would have to swallow my belches and hold in my farts and get so terminally inflated from all the withheld gases that I would have to tie myself to the ground lest I float away across the midwest? Or what if they turned out to be covered in coarse black hair and transformed into wolves every full moon?! I wasn't keen on having to explain my irrational fear of lycanthropy. These are serious fears of mine. 

Imagine my delight and good fortune when I met Dumptruck's family and discovered that they are truly, genuinely and superbly SPLENDIFEROUS. There are innumerable stories of wondrous times we've had together (setting fire to our own homemade gingerbread houses, firing potatoes out of a PVC pipe into my parent's back field, making cookies, etc), but nothing quite captures the brilliance of Dumptruck's parents like their phantasmagoric visit to us here on the Appalachian Trail.

They arrived on Sunday the 26th with more goodies than you can imagine. It was like Santa, his sleigh, and eight entire kitchen pantries. Their honorary trail names are Dump Daddy and Mother Trucker, and were more than Trail Angels for us from the 26th through the 1st of June. They're more like Trail DemiGods. Like Hercules of gatorade and other supplies. Herculean Provision. Band name. Called it.

They have taken us out to dinner every night, dropped us off at the trail, picked us up, brought day packs for us to use for the past three hiking days (courtesy of Bill and Laura!), gave us ice cold gatorades every night and day, treated us to nights in a hotel, a cabin, and a different hotel, hiked with us for a few miles, did our laundry for us, made pre-stamped postcards out or cardboard for us to decorate and send to folks, got Dumptruck and I our resupply, and finally (and most miraculously) didn't balk at our inane decision to mail home our sleeping bags and replace them with a sheet and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fleece blanket. We still have our wool sleeping bag liners. Our sanity has yet to be accounted for.

Gratitude is something that can't really be captured in words. Hallmark pays people cumulatively hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to try and contain sentiments in 10 words or less on floral printed card stock, and yet even they have not been able to seize the actual emotional flood that comes along with genuine thankfulness. You'd think that with the law of large numbers they'd have been able to at least nail it down in some capacity, but alas, no. I like to think that I have been able to translate the feelings through the fact that I have been nearly bursting with tears for happiness. We can marvel at our own good fortunes, but when marveling doesn't quite cut it, hugs will suffice.

Thank you Dump Daddy and Mother Trucker. You are heroes of the woods.

Love forever,
Clever Girl


  1. Beautifully said. We too want to shout out a Thank you to Dump Daddy and Mother Trucker! ~Happy Hiking- Margie & Maurice

  2. Hooray for the Dumps...or the Trucks...Dave and Debbie! We can attest to their innate coolness and joie de vivre. So happy they were able to spend time with you and make the trail both a little easier and lots more fun. Bravo! It sounds like finding out of the way trail crossings is a particular Dump Daddy skill set...perhaps acquired when seeking out gravel roads to practice the Tokyo Drift. Hugs and kisses to all. Love, Mom and Dad

  3. Oh...and the video, per norm, was AWESOME!!! We know how much work they are, so everytime one shows up it is a real treat. Thank you! Love to all, Mom and Dad

  4. Great video, thanks for doing these. Please pass along a big thank you to the Trucks for their giving, generous nature including Apple Butter with all the Train Magic. Hike on!

  5. Hi Clever Girl. It is we who are blessed to have you as a part of our family. What a wonderful week with you all! We had so much fun! We now have a new appreciation for what you each do on the AT. What a great team, Shanty Town rocks! We are so glad that we could help make your adventure a little easier. We wish you continued fun and excitement. Look forward to seeing you in Maine. We love you and miss you, Mother Trucker and Dump Daddy.

  6. the videos have been making my life - I almost cried, and then immediately decided I was going on some adventure after nursing school (SUMMER 2015! it's coming! someday!) - the camino again, the AT, the PCT. SOMETHING.
    so looking forward to when our paths cross, so grateful for my friend who is making that a possiblity. xoxoxox. Lauren