Day 13 went from Low Gap Shelter to Blue Mountain Shelter – 7.3 miles.
Holy cow, this was one of the best days, but one of the hardest so far!
I got up later this morning since I got no sleep the night before, but I’m so glad I did because I was able to meet to of the most beautiful people!
As I was packing up and cooking breakfast, a couple came down from their tent site. I was pretty sure I knew who it was as they were walking down, but I wasn’t sure if he would have appreciated being identified as I had heard from rumor the night before.
They were about to head back up to their campsite when the female hiker took a phone call which stalled them in front of the shelter before crossing the stream.
The male hiker knew I was there, so he turned to initiate a conversation with me:
Male Hiker: Have I met you before?
Me: We haven’t met before. I’m Dragon.
He continued on to introduce himself as Vapor and his wife Boss. To my surprise, but to my delight, he just put it out there… “We’ve actually become quite a big deal on the trail. I’m blind, so my wife helps me to navigate the trail.”
Vapor is completely blind due to a stroke he suffered. He and Boss have been married about a year and a half – she’s the only person (out of all of Vapor’s family and friends) that was willing to take him out and adventure!
They have a Facebook page that you can join to follow their journey thru-hiking the AT. Login in to Facebook and search Appalachian Trail Journey.
They are truly two of the most magnificent people I have had the opportunity to meet. Following some of our chatting, Vapor said, “Well, I hope we get to meet again, but we have to go slow and I’m sure you’ll be going faster than us.”
But little did he and Boss know!
Since starting the trail, Vapor and Boss have gotten used to being passed by all the “Sighty’s” or “Visually Dependent’s” (as Vapor calls them haha!) which made me sad to hear because after all my foot problems, I remember how demoralizing it was to have everyone pass me. Obviously I know their pace is for his safety and his abilities, but sometimes it really gets to you having all your friends pass you.
But yesterday, Vapor could officially say that he kept pace with a Sighty! We hiked all those 7.3 miles together. It was truly an incredible experience for me.
Since telling my tramily that they needed to push on without me since I didn’t want to hold them back from hiking their own hike, it has been hard. I miss them so much – Life Alert, Michelin, and Whisperer! I didn’t have anyone to watch for me at the shelter anymore, hoping that I was going to make it in. Or seeing familiar faces. Or knowing someone could boil your water while you make camp. It’s been really lonely.
But as much as I miss them and wish I could catch up to them and keep up with them, without my foot and ankle problem, I would have never gotten to meet Vapor and Boss and make the memories I’ve had with them.
When we were making it up those last 2 miles yesterday (which were rocky and steep!) Boss kept talking about positives – and this is my positive. It stinks that my ankle is slowing me down, but had I not made all those tough decisions and been willing to feel the pain and loneliness I knew would hit, I wouldn’t have had to slow down enough to be here with Vapor and Boss. I would have missed out on THIS! It really would have been tragic if I had given this opportunity up.
Okay, I think you get the drift and I’ll stop rambling. Haha.
So, we hiked on yesterday, didn’t really get any “views”, but that’s only because we had views all day! It was great. We got some great photos of cascades though!
When I saw the icicles, I turned and told Boss and Vapor, “You won’t believe this! Come look!”
Boss was like wow! And she started to describe the icicles to Vapor. Well, I went and broke one off and took it to him so he could “see” the huge icicles too! 🙂
Thanks for joining me on Expedition Elizabeth!