Remote for detachment, narrow for chosen company, winding for leisure, lonely for contemplation, it beckons not merely north and south, but upward to the body, mind, and soul of man.
-Harold Allen 1976
This was on the plaque at the start of the AT on Springer Mountain. I think it gives a pretty good explanation of the people God has a heart for here on the Appalachian Trail. Already we have seen people leave the trail, some because they are not ready mentally for the trail others, physically. But then we have had time on the trail to hear stories of cold night spent on the trail or hearing about bears running through some ladies camp just before making dinner still some talk of their greatest feats to date on the trail.
Jeff, Sue, and I (Ryan) were coming off one of the harder hikes in our now 3 days on the trail and 50ish miles into the AT, we came upon Huff and Puff, two people who were very obviously struggling to walk down this mountain with their packs weighing in around 40-50 lbs. Puff almost had tears in her eyes. I was in the front of our team and made our presence know by giving a cheerful greeting from behind and what was my response? Huff said, “You must be Ryan! You’ve come to save us!” Granted, I am always down for saving someone but my first thought was, how did they know my name? I have never met them before and I didn’t get but a glance when I said hello…low and behold, one key element we prayed about before we left was unfolding right there. Someone needed help and referred our team saying that we are more then willing to do whatever possible to help them out. Unfortunately, this time it was a ride off the trail, but we were able to take a load off their pack pray for them and give them some jelly bellies to lighten the mood a little bit before we returned with the car.
A few days later when we crossed the border from Georgia into North Carolina, we met up and ate lunch with SquarePeg and SassyPants. SassyPants had just taken a pretty tough fall and was in quite a bit of pain. Right after lunch without hesitation Sue came over and started taking weight from her pack and Jeff and I followed suit. Together we took about 25 lbs from her pack and and started hiking what was to be the steepest/longest climb yet. When we got to the shelter and dropped her stuff off we were so glad to have taken her load it would have been almost unbearable for her.
It’s in moments like this where people will find this Jesus fellow that we are all so fond of walking right beside them on this journey.