Thursday, July 5, 2012

Getting It There

This little post is way overdue: This humble bandana was destined to make it to Maine, and with a little help from me friends, it did!

   One morning during my 1987 attempt at hiking the Appalachian Trail I tied a couple of wet bandanas to my pack frame in order to let them dry during the days hike. Liking the colorful look, I decided to tie all my bandanas on and took on the trail name "Bandana Man."
    So a few nights later at Standing Indian Shelter I noticed that a fellow hiker, Laura "Blue Moon"  had a cool, red, official AT Conservancy bandana. So, after a few not-so-subtle hints that she should hand it over to me, she was gracious enough to do just that!  But she warned that it was destined to make it to Mt Katahdin, and by accepting the gift it would become my responsibility to get it there. I gladly accepted! (She was pretty awesome for giving it to me!) So that night the bandana was signed, in Sharpie by all hikers in attendance: "Blue Moon", "The Mad Norwegian", "Hot Buns", "Wing Foot", and me.

   Well, if you've read my previous post about my hike, you'll know that I didn't make it. I got hurt in North Carolina and left the trail with the bandana in my possession. To my eternal disappointment, I never made it to Maine. 
The Beloved Bums
    Flash forward 22 yrs, and I one day get an email from my hiking buddie Melanie - 1/2 of a married hiking duo known as "The Bobsie Bums." She and her husband Bruce (I love these guys!) had found me on-line in order to let me know that a mutual friend had died, and during out email exchanges we hatched a plan to meet up near the Trail in Virginia for a few days of camping. All this was in June, 2010. 
    We had a great little reunion with lots of sharing of stories, photos, re-reading of old correspondence, etc. It was great. And there was a plan to hit a little stretch of the AT for a little old time sake hiking and to do our part as trail angels. Trail angels are non-through hikers who show up with little treats for parched and hungry hikers who've been at it long enough to truly, truly appreciate a snickers bar and a cold coke. And this would prove an excellent time to carry out my plan of finding a through-hiker willing to carry "Blue Moon's" bandana all the way to Maine. 
    Luckily we happened upon a young hiker called "Ups" (also actually named Laura!) who was headed north and was willing to carry the bandana and agreed to send it back afterwards. Cool. 
Meeting "Ups" along the trail.
    For the next few months we were able to track "Ups" progress along the trail via an on-line blog she kept, and were delighted to see that she made Katahdin in October. 
    Well, I sort of put the banbana out of my mind, so I was pleasantly blown away a few months later when I got a package from "Ups" containing the now well traveled bandana and a photo of "Ups" herself on Katahdin! Way to go "Ups"!
    So, though waaaay overdue, I'm now finally posting some photos. I'm thinking of having the bandana framed so I can tell this cool story over and over.
    My thanks to you "Ups" for getting it there, and thanks to Melanie for her efforts to get it into "Ups" hands! Y'all rock!

"Ups" on Katahdin!
"Ups" and her hiking pal "Sideways" the day we met them.
The Bandana Now Signed By A Whole New Generation of Through Hikers

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