Thursday, July 11, 2013

Unscheduled Zero Day

Started at Partnership Shelter
Ended at Rose Hill Farm
Zero trail miles

The good news is we are staying on an awesome farm in southern Virginia, the bad news is we are staying because Harvey can't hike for a few days.

Harvey had a pimple on his calf with a red circle around it about a week ago. I popped it and within two days it was gone. The same red circle and pimple happened on his knee three days ago so I popped it, but this time it didn't go away. Also during this time he had crusty "dirt" behind one of his ears. We cleaned his ear but it was sore and red.

Last night he didn't sleep very good, tossing and turning and mumbling a lot. I knew something was wrong because every night we sleep in the same shelter or tent, so I know how he normally sleeps. Camping will bring together families in unexpected ways.

This morning his knee was really sore and he could hardly walk. The shelter was close to the Mount Rogers visitor center so I asked if they knew any hiker friendly doctors in town. The woman knew exactly who I should call and without hesitation or checking her smart phone she wrote down the number for Dr. Brown. I called and the woman I spoke with was so nice she said if the Dr couldn't see me she would help find someone who would. She gave me the address and said come to town.

This was not a normal situation. Usually I am miles from town, with no phone access and no transportation. Call it luck or intervention from a higher power, but I was next to a major road and the visitor center had a free phone for local calls . . . . . and the town of Marian had a shuttle that would pick up hikers and drive them to town . . . . . for 50 cents!

The shuttle picked us up and about 6 other hikers, then drove around town dropping people off (Wal Mart, Laundry Mat, Post Office). When I said Dr Brown he didn't even need the address. It was amazing.

We got in to see Dr. Brown within a few minutes and he started to talk about backpacking. He had been to the Grand Tetons and the Wind River Range area (not exactly a destination for your normal tourist). We had been to the same place last year. I think we established our credibility but knew for sure when the Dr asks about places we hiked and Harvey shrugs while saying "Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone" like it was normal for a 7 year old to backpack National Parks all over the country.

After the ear exam and painful knee exam he concluded; treat for MRSA and hope it is not, but by Sunday we should have test results back. So we made an appt for Monday and were stuck. The Dr's office was full of friendly people. Everyone wanted to help, offering shuttles or finding a hotel with a pool. Nan (our Trail Angel) overheard the conversation and thought about what she would want for her kids. In the middle of her checkup she steps out of the room to offer us a ride and a place to stay!! It was an overwhelming act of kindness.

Her farm was located out of town but she would take us anyplace we needed. First we needed to get Harvey's prescription filled. The Wal Mart was out of his drug so they called Walgreens to see if they had it. After some grocery shopping we went to Walgreens and got the prescription filled. During this time I found out the farm raised grass fed beef and Nan wishes they had a Whole Foods. Enough said, we were heading to the farm even if we slept in the loft (just like we did at Over Mountain Shelter).

Since we are hikers we had to eat, so when we passed a Mexican restaurant the kids got excited and we had Mexican, again. They love the chips and I got the picture of Harvey and Pete.

Beautiful does not even begin to describe the farm. It had a cattle guard to keep cows out of the road, this gave the cattle the entire front yard (aka pasture). For those not raised on a farm this is a dream. I loved it before I even saw the house.

The gravel driveway winds around the grassy, mildly hilly field. A barn is off in the distance and the two story house is encircled by professional grade gardens (protected by another cattle guard). It is my Aunt Peggy and Uncle Jim's farm, only transplanted to Virginia. I felt like a kid going home after being away for a few years.

We took showers and Nan washed our hiker clothing, it felt good to get a real shower and put on clean clothing. In the pictures we are wearing borrowed clothing while our stuff washed. At about this time I got a text message from Unknown saying the laundry machines at the Relax Inn "no work". We were supposed to stay at the Relax Inn per our AT schedule. Lucky for us.

Dinner was grass fed hamburgers, salad, potatoes, homemade cookies, and finally a smoothie. We were all so happy and full. I even had a glass of very good Virginia wine. Sydney had cows milk and was really happy since we don't have milk on the trail.

As I stood on the front porch the smell made me stop. The mixture of grass and flowers and cows is something only on a farm. It was such a simple sensation but one I hope I never forget.

Andy let me look at the blog on his iPad, the first time I've been able to see the blog since I started the hike. I noticed my entries were missing text! Blogger only posts pictures and any text before the first picture. My blog has all the pictures, but is missing most of the text. From now on I will keep my written part above the pictures.

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