Not all those who wander are lost

14 states, 2,180 miles, 5,000,000+ steps

Month: September, 2013

Helping Hands

Today we stopped in Dalton, Massachusetts, and we spent the night. While we were here, we took time to reflect not just on how far we have already come – which is just over 600 miles – but on how many complete strangers have offered us their services along the way. The good deeds range from free food, to free rides, and even dry places to sleep – whether it be a living room or a front porch. I guess the most remarkable part of this trip isn’t what you can learn about just yourself, but what you can learn about people in general. Yes, there are those that can be harsh and look at you like you are a homeless bum, without even taking the time to consider that you are in the middle of a great journey. The kind-hearted individuals that do lend a helping hand vastly overshadow the judgmental antics of the others. They go so far out of their own way to assist us that it warms my heart – so much that I am compelled to pay it forward in some fashion. The next chance I get. I think that is what an undertaking like this is about.
-By Andrew “Alpacka” Fortenberry


The Adventure Continues

It has been a while since I have posted on the blog. We are now over 600 miles into the trail, and we are picking up the pace. Today is the first day of fall, and this Georgia boy wasn’t ready for the New England cold. I’m definitely excited about my fleece jacket that my mom has mailed to me in the next town.
I can’t believe how far we have come and how much has happened to us out here. Just when I think that nothing different could possibly happen, I am blown away by a new sub-adventure or episode on the trail or in a town. The other day, I spent an hour playing ring around the rosy with a bull and his herd, and a few days after that, we were awakened by a porcupine eating the porch of the shelter we were staying in. Yes, porcupines eat buildings.
It blows me away how hospitable and kind people can be out here. On numerous occasions, a trail angel has opened their house for us to stay in and fed us. As a matter of fact, we are staying at a gentleman’s house tonight. He is doing our laundry for us and cooking us dinner. He asks for nothing in return and loves listening to our crazy stories about our adventure. The generosity of many of the people we have met has gotten me thinking about how Jesus calls us to live. As followers of Christ, we are called to love everyone no matter what. I ask myself if I put others first enough to take in a smelly, unbathed stranger and offer him food and a shower while I do his laundry… Hopefully, all of us who claim to follow Christ can honestly answer that question with “yes,” but I’m afraid that many of us, including myself, would find that to be uncomfortable, or just too much to ask of ourselves.

We crossed into Massachusetts a couple of days ago, and the terrain is even easier than Vermont. Our daily mileage has gone up to about 23 a day, and for the most part, our bodies have been able to handle the extra mileage. It has been kinda tough for me, because I’ve been battling a sore throat and my shoes are beginning to fall apart. But overall, our trail legs have done what they do best.
I’ve been missing the smaller things of life back home a lot more lately. The trail angel’s house that we stayed at in Dalton, Massachusetts had bicycles that we were able to ride into town, and we were able to attend a church service this morning. There are so many things that we took for granted while we were living our normal lives back in Georgia. I hope that upon finishing this adventure, we never take the little things for granted again.
The nice terrain is supposed to continue for the next 4-5 states, so we hope to gain a lot of ground quickly. We are trying to make up for the amount of down time we took in Maine and New Hampshire. I think that the approaching cold weather is the best motivation for that.

“Wild Reeves”

P.S- A big thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Fortenberry for visiting us, feeding us, and putting us up in their RV for a night!














Patience and Fortitude

A little under 500 miles, and a little over two months into our journey, and I’m reminded that I’m long overdue for a blog update. So many times, we’ve heard it said that hiking the section that runs through Maine and New Hampshire is 20% of the trail, yet 80% of the work. We’ve heard tantalizing reports of flatter areas with terrain so forgiving as to allow us to hike 30 miles or more in a day. This all seems too good to be true, accustomed as we are to scaling mountains on a near-daily basis. Still, we eagerly look forward to this “promised land” – yet skeptically, as if it were some sort of mystical fantasy realm. I should say, the terrain has been getting easier, but in such small increments that we are almost tortured with anticipation.

I should also say, I’m almost baffled that not one of us has sustained any serious injuries thus far. We’ve stumbled over roots and rocks countless times, and dragged ourselves over mountains of slippery rock and mud – yet we’ve never fallen to our deaths… or worse. For this reason, and many others, I am very grateful for all of the prayer that has backed our journey, and for the help that has thus been granted us – even more often than we realize, I’m sure.

– Jared, A.K.A. “Slolemon” (formerly, “Moss Man”)














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