WEEK 7: THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS

Last week didn’t end how I thought it would.  After going to the museum, Breezy (our host in Washington D.C.) drove us to her friend “Brave(s)” house.  Brave fed us all, bought us ice cream, and gave us a place to sleep for the night.  Before leaving the next morning, she looked at my foot and told me to call her if I needed anything, whether it be a ride to the doctor or a place to stay for recovery.   She’s truly a wonderful trail angel.

The next couple of days were really tough on my foot, but I pushed on.  However, Monday evening I was pushing harder than usual and when climbing over a fallen tree, I fell and instantly knew my foot was in trouble.  I was in a ton of pain and still had five more miles to go to the next shelter.  By the time I got there, my foot was totally bruised and swollen.  I was sure it was broken.  That night I called three people.  I called my Mom and Dad to tell them the bad news, and Brave to ask what to do next.  Even though she wasn’t able to help me that next morning due to prior engagements, it still felt good to know that there was someone close by who was looking out for me and had my back.

The next morning’s walk into town was rough.  I started crying partly due to pain, but mostly out of fear of having to get off of the trail.  It was when I got a hitch into town that things started to look up.  The man’s daughter is interested in walking the trail, so he was asking all of the usual questions, which I happily answered.  It was only a few short miles into town but I really enjoyed his company.  By the time we got there, he had left a message for the town nurse and told her to expect me, wrote down the address to the clinic, and even gave me a bag of grapes, because I had mentioned that we don’t get to eat fruit very often on the trail.  I wish his daughter the best of luck during her hike next year.

Unfortunately, when we got to the clinic, we found out that the nurse was on vacation until the next day and they don’t do x-rays.  However, the receptionist looked up the closest urgent care facility and wrote down the address for me.  While trying to figure out our next plan of action at the town Subway Restaurant, a random local walked in and asked if we needed a ride anywhere.  After telling him my situation and saying I needed a ride to urgent care, he dropped everything and drove fifteen minutes out of his way to get me there.  When we got there he gave me his number and told me to give him a call when I needed a ride back.  Also, this whole time Brave was calling and texting to check up on me.  After a very stressful couple of hours at urgent care, the doctor told me that the x-rays came out clean.  Nothing was broken!  To say I was relieved would be an understatement.   Minutes after calling the kind man from earlier, he was there to pick me up.  He had even found a free place in town for me to stay and recover if my foot had been broken.

When we got back to town, Dexter, Lost Boy and Excalibur were all sitting there waiting for me.  We all went out to lunch, then they bought me ice cream to celebrate unbroken bones!  It has been a good week.

For the Fourth of July we wanted to hitch into Gettysburg to watch Civil War battle reenactments.  While that didn’t work out, we did get to watch homemade boat races, saw a professional production of Damn Yankees at the Allenberry Playhouse in Boiling Springs, PA, watched fireworks and were once again welcomed into the home of complete strangers who were having a Fourth of July party.  They fed us, gave us beer, let us take showers and washed our wet clothes.  In fact, I’m currently tenting in their front lawn and have been promised a homemade breakfast before I begin hiking in the morning.

I continue to be amazed at the kindness of strangers.  It’s people like this who are making my hike possible.  Faith in humanity restored!

Love,

Hollywood

I am dedicating this hike to the orphaned children at Heart For Africa in Swaziland.  For more information, I hope you visit my fundraising page at gofundme.com/st984k

To read more:  Janinemaxwell.blogspot.com

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