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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Take Me Home Country Roads! (John Denver)

Wow, where do I start? God was definitely showing off when he painted the land in West Virginia! And the people here are just a bonus!! I could stay in this beautiful state for a long time. We have met so many beautiful people of God and have been sowing seeds in the hearts of people we meet everywhere. The day we left the Ours we got about 10 miles up the road and came over a hill and saw a spectacular view and said, "let's ask if we can camp in that yard". So we knocked on the door and were greeted by Buster the American Staffordshire Terrier, a.k.a. pitbull, and Dr. Bill Signor. He had let two other ADT hikers camp on his property a couple years ago and so he knew of the trail we were on. He said we could camp and sent Buster out to help us set up our tent! He was a great pal to have around even if he did smell like cow manure! Buster that is, not Dr. Signor!! Jeff, Buster and I sat and took in the mountain air while Dr. Signor went for a swim in his pool. Just as Jeff and I were about to pass out Dr. Signor came out and said we were welcome to come in for some hotwings if we were hungry. So we thought we should accept his hospitality and join him and his neighbor, Gayle, for some hot wings. He was a very interesting character and had lots of stories to share with us.

The next day we walked from Dr. Signor's to Greenland gap to Scherr, where we were to pick up a package. Greenland gap was a beautiful gap in the mountain. The beginning had a little spring fed creek with a small water fall which fell into a nice swimming hole about 10 feet deep or more. The water was very cold and refreshing. We met two brave young boys who were jumping off the side of the cliff into the pool of water under the water fall. It looked like fun but I decided not to try it. I thought I would just enjoy it vicariously! After cooking up a nice pot of mashed taters we saddled up and walked down the 1 mile long gap. The spring fed creek ran along side of the road the whole way. At the end of the gap we took a right to go to Scherr. Immediately as we turned right there was a giant eye sore of a major highway being built to go from Virginia to West Virginia. It really took from the beauty of the place. Another couple miles we made it to Scherr to the "Best" store, which consisted of a snacks, drinks, hunting/fishing licenses, hunter check station, telephone, post office, and the manager even had a sharpening stone and he got Jeff's knife real sharp! They had both of our packages and we could not wait to open them for we had ordered some new hiking poles. Edmond Summit, the outfitter who geared us up for our trip, mailed us the poles and he included some other goodies as well. Some yummy cliff bars, a nice new insect repellant bandana, a new "Edmond Summit" camp towel, and a new water bottle! Thanks John!! After talking with Grant Kimble, the manager at the store, for a while about what we were doing he showed us a nice little camping place behind the store we could use. It came with a fire pit and everything! He even came out and lit a mosquito repellent torch for us! After setting up camp I soon learned that there was a litter of baby kittens! They were so cute I couldn't hardly stand it. I just wanted to squeeze them all night. Fortunately for them though they were not as exited about the idea and I did not get to catch but one of them, and that took a long time with me sitting and watching them for a good 30 minutes. I got some adorable video and pictures though! That night I did not sleep well, it was hot and I tossed and turned all night. I finally fell asleep a couple hours before we had to get up and was not in the best of moods. My left foot was swollen and aching and lets just say there are days of womanhood when I wish I was a man. So we ate breakfast and saddled up once again and headed down the road. We only got 3 or 4 miles. I was walking extremely slow. I felt like I had been run over by a freight train. Thank the Lord a kind woman picked us up and drove us a few miles to the road which went up to Dolly Sods.

We asked the nice woman if she could take us to the little stone church at the end of the road to see if we could camp there. We wanted to ask permission from the pastor first so stopped at a house which we thought may have been the pastors. We pulled up and there was a license plate that read "God's Way", and thought surely this must be him. We got out and spoke with a man named Mike and he was not the pastor of the church we saw but just so happened to be a pastor of another church. After visiting with him and his wife a while, they said we could just stay in their basement. I said sure but on one condition, you take us to church with you in the morning! They had actually been worshipping in someone's garage lately which we thought sounded perfect. So we bid farewell to the gracious woman who picked us up and set up camp in the Humphrey's basement. The Humphreys had 5 children, nine 6 week old labrodoodles, 4 dogs, 2 cats, and a lot of love!! They took us to eat at this scrumptious Italian restaurant in Keyser and we made a trip to the grocery store. The next morning when we got to church I was mesmerized by the spectacular view from the backyard of the garage we were in. I had to make myself sit still during the service and not run outside to stare at Yahweh's creation. Everyone there were so gracious and it was such a blessing to worship God with them. While we were visiting with the Humphrey family they had mentioned that they owned a bass guitar and had bought it 4 years ago and wasn't sure why. After Jeff got a hold of it they said they now know why they never got rid of it. They had never heard such music come from a bass guitar! I will have to agree, Jeff is quite the artist when it comes to his instrument. Ok enough boasting! Thank you Humphreys for taking us in and giving us a nice cool place to stay. May the Lord bless you and all of your kids, animals, and family members. After a wonderful time with the Humphrey family, the pastor drove us to the top of Dolly Sods because it was raining and my foot was still a little swollen. We set up camp and got in the tent about 6:30 and did not wake up till 8:00 the next morning. We were exhausted!


Upon waking up at Dolly Sods Wilderness Area we sat and talked to a musician and his wife and daughter for a while. His name is Andrew McKnight. He has a CD out called "Beyond Borders" and if you are looking for some really good songs sung and played by a very talented singer-songwriter, I suggest you look him up!! He is in our friends list on Facebook. It was very nice of you to allow us to share your campsite for a night Andrew! Thank you so much for the song too!! We hope to see you on down the road sometime! God bless you.

Dolly Sods is such a wonderous place. It is part of the Eastern Continental Divide and is very similar to a Canadian Tundra. We walked around and found a lookout that offered an amazing vista. I can't even begin to describe the extent of the beauty in this place. We were in awe for several hours until we realized that Jim should be showing up any time. Jim Shaner was the man who is prayer walking across the nation on the ADT. The one who we met back on the C&O canal. He had called and asked if he could join us at Dolly Sods, and we agreed to meet on Monday afternoon at this specific campground. So we started walking back to the campground to see if we could find Jim. We ran into Lois instead. She asked if we were "those hikers who were walking across america." We looked at her puzzled and said, "um...yea I guess we are." She said that a man back at Bear Rocks (3 miles away) told her that he was looking for us, and that he had given our blog to her too! She said that what we were doing must have really touched this guy because he was sure excited to try and find us, and he told her about what we were doing. We thought it must be Jim. She offered to take us over to Bear Rocks in her truck to try and find him so we hopped in. As we were driving we saw a car coming down the one lane road and it wasn't Jim. IT WAS HAROLD!! Harold was our trail angel back in Keyser! We jumped out of the car and ran over to him and gave him a great big 'ol hug! We had mentioned to him that we were headed up on Dolly Sods and he decided to come see us on his way to see his mom! We all went back to our campsite and talked for a while before he had to get on down the road to take care of his mom. We just love you Harold!! Thanks for the cold waters and the lovely surprise up there on top of that mountain! You just made our day! We can't wait for the day we get to run into you again! God Bless You and Keep You!

After Harold left, we decided to go back to the rim (the one with the great view), because that was the "phone booth." We were thinking that Jim should be showing up soon and wanted to call his wife to see what time he had left. After leaving his wife a message and making a few other phone calls, we started back to the camp. Halfway back we saw Jim rounding the corner on the trail with his "One Nation Under God - Walk Across America" shirt on and his signature camera bag slung around his chest! What a heartwarming site that was! Hard to believe that it had already been a month since we met and walked with Jim. Walking down that lonely mountain road on top of the Eastern Continental Divide, surrounded by beautiful PURPLE FLOWERS and the most vibrant butterflies one could imagine, we met Jim for the second time. We walked back to the rim with Jim so he could call his wife and take a few pictures. After that we went back to the campground so we could set Jim's tent up. After a few attempts we finally figured it out and jumped in the car to head up to Bear Rocks. Bear Rocks is an amazing overlook that has fields of wild blueberries, boysenberries, huckleberries, and a few other varieties leading up to it. Jim, Kristin, and I picked our way through the berries and rocks to the look out point. It was breath-taking to say the least. We took pictures and sat and talked for some time. After spending the afternoon at Bear Rocks we went back to camp. We talked and ate some ramen noodles. Oh yea, before we met up with Jim we met two young christian couples who were camping in the same campground. They invited us and Jim to dinner at their campsite. So as evening approached, the three of us went over to their campsite and helped them prepare dinner. They were making hobo dinners. It consists of potatoes, veggies, and meat wrapped in a cabbage leaf, wrapped in foil and placed on an open fire. It was sooooo good! After a wonderful meal shared in fellowship they broke out "Jenga!" Now see, Jim had never played Jenga, and to make a long story short, he has finally earned his trail name. "JENGA JIM!!!" Ha! Love you Jenga Jim!! After we got our fill of Jenga, we all sat around the campfire and talked about God and sang songs. At some point in the evening someone suggested that we wake up early and catch the sunrise out at the rim of the mountain. So we all agreed and said goodnight. What a wonderful evening spent with brothers and sisters in Christ! We can't wait until we meet again.


We set our alarm for 5 a.m and pressed snooze till almost 6. We realized how late it was and rushed out of the tent and headed toward the lookout to watch the sunrise. We met up with the other couples on the way but I think it was too early and everyone had just got up so we remained silent all the way to the lookout. When we got there Jim foresaw that the sunrise was going to be beautiful because of all the big fluffy clouds in the sky. The sun began to poke up out of the mountains and we were all just speechless. This had to be one of the most spectacular sunrises I have ever witnessed. I cannot even describe it and the pictures do not show it in its entirety. I wish all our loved ones could have experienced it with us. After the breathtaking display of God's artwork that he painted right before our very eyes we headed back to the campsite to eat a little breakfast and pack up our tent so Jim could drive us into town to see if we could find some better backpacks because ours were starting to take a toll on our bodies. We stopped in Keyser to have some pancakes and gravy one more time at the Royal restaurant. They were delicious! We made our way towards Cumberland MD to meet some friends of Jim's, Steve and his wife who's name is in my head somewhere and I will probably think of it while I am sleeping! We called around some local outfitters to see if we could find one that sold backpacks and the only one we found was actually out of backpacks. So we decided to call up John at Edmond Summit and get some advice and we went ahead and ordered them to be shipped to us. So hopefully within the next week we will have new backpacks that will make our trip much more enjoyable. On the way back to Dolly Sods we stopped at the Humphrey's so Jim could tally them on his list of people that agree to pray for America. I also got to see those precious little puppies again and Jeff got to play the bass one more time. After we left we decided to go check out Seneca Rocks, a rock climbers mecca. We ate at a little restaurant that was over priced and not very good. The people were nice though!! We then went back to Dolly Sods using a different road and stopped at a nice little nature trail loop. When we got back to camp we met Christian and his friend, whose name has slipped my mind. They were some interesting folks. They had just come from a biblical prophecy convention. After conversing with them about an array of topics, mostly all concerning God and the bible, we went to bed and they went on a night hike. Yikes! The next morning we learned they came upon a bear that had growled at them. I am glad I didn't go with them. I thought it would be a good idea if all the christians at the campsite got together to pray before we left and so I asked the two younger couples if they would like to join us for prayer and they said yes. So we all met at one campsite and prayed for one another. It was so wonderful and such a privilege to be able to live in a country where we can do that. To all the brothers and sisters we met at Dolly Sods, may the Lord Bless you and keep you always and forever.

Jim walked us to the trail head of the Blackbird Knob trail, the trail that would take us to Canaan Valley State Park. He said he would meet us on a ridge a few miles away on a park bench. So we headed into the wilderness. It was an absolutely gorgeous hike. So many wonderful plants and scenery and BLUEBERRIES!! Wild Blueberries. I thought I was going to have to drag Jeff the bear out of the woods because he could not stop eating all the blueberries. Every time we turned a corner I was sure there was going to be a bear munching on blueberries and not like to share. Thank God there were no bears. When we arrived at the park bench Jim had already gone. We saw him from across the way but he did not see us. The view at the park bench was spectacular though and we sat and took in the mountain air for quite a while. When we headed down the trail we came to a fork and had to figure out which trail we were to take. We chose on and walked for about 15 minutes and Jeff said, "I hope this is the right trail". I said what do you mean “the right trail.” I had remembered the other trail being on our map so we headed back to it and walked about 10 minutes down it. Jeff then decided we should look at our ADT directions and sure enough the first trail we took was the correct one. Jeff said if we bushwacked due west through the woods it would probably be faster. I said whatever lets just go. So we headed west right through the woods. We got a much closer look at the Monongahela Forest! We had to saw a few limbs down but we made it and right to the place we had turned around on the other trail the first time we were on it! So we took the correct trail and made it to the parking lot where we found a note from Jim which said he had gone to the Ranger Station and would be right back. So we called the ranger station and they said he had just left and reported us missing! We thought it was sweet how concerned he was for us. When Jim got back we hopped in the car and headed to Canaan Valley State Park Lodge where we got a room for Jeff's birthday. It is always so nice to get a shower and a bed to sleep in.


After showers and relaxing, we all went up to the lodge to get some dinner. They were having a buffet that night and it had all kinds of yummy grub on it. Awesome salad bar, roasted chicken, pork tenderloin, pot roast, baked cod, baked manicotti, roasted garlic potatoes, etc... Kristin even had them give me a piece of birthday cake and sing happy birthday to me. Thanks Hunny! The dining room has these huge windows looking out into the valley surrounded by mountains. Down in the grass by the pool we saw a deer walk right up to a young kid and lick his hand! The deer are obviously used to coming up to the lodge and getting a handout or two. That first night I saw 2 nice does and a really beautiful buck still in velvet, and all at about 5 feet away! It was so wonderful, I even had a raccoon come up and sniff my feet! It was a good thing for him I had just got a shower :) That evening we told Jim that we would probably sleep in and he said that he would be gone before 8:00, so we decided to say our goodbyes that night. We went to Jim’s lodge room to pray and he anointed us with oil and had some very encouraging, and uplifting words to say to us. Jim, I can’t tell you enough how blessed we are to have gotten to know you. Thank you so very much for everything you have done for us. You are our very special trail angel and we will keep you in our thoughts and prayers until we meet again, either here or in eternity. Remember Jim, “don’t quit!”

So we decided to stay in the lodge for another night because we hadn’t had time to type the blog and it started raining quite heavily. Jim had told us the trail we were taking was pretty treacherous when it was dry. So we stayed another night. When we woke up we decided to go up to the lodge to get some breakfast. On the way up there we saw Jim! He apparently overslept and had just finished his breakfast. He came over to us and said “come with me, I’m going to make sure you get a free breakfast!” We thought “Cool!” Well apparently Jim had got to talking with the waitress and she and the manager had decided to give Jim his breakfast for free and told him to send us up and they would do the same for us! What a great treat! Thank you to all the staff there in the dining room of the lodge! At breakfast we met Darren and Vicki. They were out for a tour on their motorcycle and had stayed in the lodge that night too. We got to talking with them until we realized that we were the only ones left in the dining room and they had closed the doors and were setting up for lunch. What a wonderful couple they are! We sat around and talked about the things of God and it felt like we had known them our whole lives! God bless you guys!! So we lounged around the rest of the day and then our package finally arrived from my sister in Oklahoma. It is the box our computer came in, chock full of trail mix, energy bars, hand sanitizer, and a funny birthday card from them. Thank you so much! Love you Jenn, Jerry and Mom!! We have finally decided to send the laptop home so I don’t know when our next blog will be, but God will make a way!

So for now, we love you all, we miss you all, and we can’t wait to see all of your smiling faces!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pouring out His provision!

Day 48

After we left the Perky Bean in Fort Ashbey, W.VA. We went to the Post Office and Mailed a box of stuff on down the line to a town about 5 days away. The box had extra food, a big bottle of shampoo and lotion and other resupply items. It is kind of nice to know that there is a box with cookies and goodies waiting for us in a few days! :) We are also expecting a box from my sister and a box from John at Edmond Summit Company. The box from Jennifer is the original box that our computer came in so we can mail that home. Yes, we have decided to mail our heavy laptop home finally. It is just too heavy to carry through the mountains and we are not going to find that many wireless hotspots up here in the backward hills of West Virginia. We have decided to pick up an Iphone in september when our contract runs out and that will allow us to blog much more often. The package from our friends at Edmond Summit Company has our trekking poles in it! The trekking poles help to propel you up and down the mountains taking a lot of strain off of your knees and back! We can’t wait to get those babies! Thanks once again Edmond Summit Co.! You guys are AMAZING!!

Ok so after leaving the Post Office in Ft. Ashbey, we headed on out of town. We reached the edge of town and by this time it was already 3:30 in the afternoon. We knew we weren’t going to get that far before dark, but we decided to press on anyhow. As we approached our first turn off the main road, Kristin asked if we could call Harold (a nice man we had met a few days prior who lives in a town close to the trail) to see if he would be willing to come get us the next day as we pass close to his town. We wanted to go into town to see if we could find a little alcohol stove to put into our backpack. He said that he would be happy to take us anywhere we wanted to go, and asked us when and where he was to meet us. We then realized just how hard that would be to answer. See we are walking these very remote backcountry roads and no one knows the names of the streets around here. Literally they don’t know what they are called, or they have a nickname that never makes it onto any map! For instance, CR-19 could be called “the ridge road” by one person, or “the road where that big willa tree was struck by lightning, and fell across the road in that snow storm 8 years ago and hank and his boys had to cut it out of the way with martha’s good china and drag it off the road with pygmy goats,” but no one but the map company knows it by CR-19!! So as you can imagine, we had a hard time telling Harold where we were to meet him. So he said, “you know, why don’t I just come and get you now and I’ll put you up in a Hotel tonight and take you to breakfast, and wherever you want to go in the morning.” We were stunned! It was such a blessing, but we didn’t want to burden him with all of that so we told him that He didn’t have to do that, but he insisted. He said, “Let’s just say that someone else is telling me to help you.” So we knew what he meant and accepted his gracious offer. It was so wonderful to sleep in a soft bed and take a real shower! It had been almost a week for me! I mean jumping into the river counts right? :) So as we were waiting for Harold to come pick us up, Kristin read Mark 9:41 which reads, “If anyone gives you even a cup of water because you belong to the Messiah, I tell you the truth, that person will surely be rewarded.” We liked it so much that we read it to Harold when he arrived! So we drove a few miles down the road and Harold put us up at a hotel and we went in and dropped our bags. Harold said that he would see us in the morning for breakfast. We decided to run over to wal-mart which was close by to see if they had what we needed in their camping section. Alas, they did not, but on the way we met a beautiful sister in Christ at the Hospital as we passed by and sat a talked with her for quite sometime. Her name was Billie, and she knew instantly that we were working for the Lord. It was so nice to talk with her. After a failed trip to wal-mart and a stop at the local pizza shop, we headed back to the room for showers and sleep! We woke up and phoned Harold to let him know we were up and around and he told us that he would pick us up at 8:00 to go eat breakfast. His wife Becky would be joining us and we were going to “the Royal” for pancakes with white gravy! We had never heard of such a dish and were anxious to try it. The Royal is a little greasy spoon in downtown Keyser, WV, and has that small town charm that you just can’t buy. It only comes from being around for a century or so. So we ate a great breakfast and had some good conversation with Harold and Becky and then Harold offered to take us to a few places to look for a stove. Oh the pancakes with white gravy were AWESOME!! I dare you to try it! Anyway, we went to a few places and didn’t find a stove, but Kristin found a neat straw hat and Harold found the local newspaper editor (at Becky’s request of course:) for us to talk to! So we talked with the newspaper about what we were doing and then they took a picture of us with Harold. After that Harold took us back to the trail and dropped us off at a church that has a fresh mountain spring running under it. You can just walk right up into a room at the church and there is the best tasting water just flowing out of a hole in the wall!!! It was great! We filled up our water bottles and bid Harold good bye. Thank you Harold and Becky for taking us in and showing us around Keyser! Funny thing about Harold: “He’s never met a stranger!” And that’s the Truth!

We left the little church with the spring and walk for about five miles before we happened upon another little church. It is called God’s House of Prayer in Antioch, WV. We were running low on water at this point and decided to ask for some water. Also, the sign out front said that they had a bible study at 7:00 and we felt like we should go. Unfortunately, no one was answering the door at the church, but I happened to glance over to the house next to the church and see two men sitting on the back porch. I told them that no one was home at the church and if they could spare some water. They joyfully said “Sure!” and told us to come on up on the porch and take a load off! So we did, and after introductions we learned that the older gentleman was actually the pastor of the church! We hadn’t so much as sat down when Pastor Kenneth’s wife, Norma Gene, came out onto the porch and introduced herself and her granddaughter Meg. The next words out of her mouth were, “We’ve set two extra places at the table, and dinner is ready. So come in and wash up before supper.” We thought it was strange when she said that because she was looking right at Kristin and I!! It took us a second to realize that she really was talking to us and that she was serious! “Could this be happening? Again? Really God? No way, this is too much,” I thought to myself. I looked at Kristin, and by the stunned look on her face I knew she was thinking the same thing. So we walked on in and washed up for dinner. Pastor Kenneth Ours, his lovely wife Norma, their granddaughter Meg, her husband Mark, and us sat down at the table and had a lovely home cooked meal. They had pork chops with baked potatoes, baked beans, and salad with Meg’s homemade ranch dressing! Wow! It was good. After dinner Meg and Mark had to go home to get ready for their church, and the rest of us sat around and looked at pictures. It was a wonderful time. After a while Kenneth said that he was so glad that we had stopped by, and that he didn’t think that it was any coincidence either. He told me that he and Mark had been building a retaining wall all day (which is quite impressive) and that he hadn’t gotten as much time to study something for bible study that evening. He asked if we would mind just sharing our testimony tonight. We were happy to say yes. He even talked Kristin into singing a song. Which if you know my wife, wasn’t hard to do. :) So around 7:00 we went over to the church and waited for everyone to arrive. After everyone got there, which was 8 people total, Kristin and I shared our story. It is always so great to spend time with like-minded brothers and sisters, and we were so blessed by meeting everyone there that night. After church, we went back to the Ours’ house and talked until almost midnight! Norma is so cute, she made sure that we had eggs and bacon, orange juice and every good thing to eat you can imagine in the fridge at the church before we went to bed. Kenneth and Her had told us that we could sleep in the church and that she had to go to work the next day, so she MADE SURE that we had everything that we could ever need before we said good night! I imagine that there hasn’t been a single soul ever go hungry at Norma Gene Ours’ house. So right now I am sitting at a table in the kitchen of the church, full from breakfast, typing this blog while Kristin catches up on some Zzz. If you can imagine the nicest, sweetest, most caring grandparents you have ever met, that is getting close to the people who are Kenneth and Norman Gene Ours. Thank you both so very much. We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers until we meet again, either here on earth or in eternity! God bless you both.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

So few days yet so many moments have come and gone and are now a memory. The Lord is strengthening us in ways we probably don't even realize yet. We are finally in West Virginia and we had our first day of climbing up some steep hills. We are glad to be off the towpath though. We have had a very interesting time since we last blogged. So after we left the McDonnald's in Williamsport, we happened upon a civil war reenactment at a park nearby. They had brought out the big guns for this one, literally. Both, the north and south, had camps set up with period clothes and tents and carriages and etc... We got to meet General Lee who was the nicest man, with the most kind sky-blue eyes. He had the kindest spirit and said that he would be praying for us on our journey! They were also showing the 1st edit cut of a new documentary film about one of the battles there. We got to meet a bunch of the re enactors who were in the movie, including General Lee and the Director. It was fun! They were showing the film in the largest barn in Maryland, and had a period band playing and serving hotdogs, popcorn, and the like. It was during this time that we had let it slip about where we were when texting Maria. Well, Maria found us and practically kidnapped us and said that she and Rose had a huge surprise for us, but we had to make it by 9:00pm. We finally found our way out of williamsport on a road that Maria knew, and as soon as she realized that we might not make it, she stood up on the gas pedal! We arrived at this dimly lit side road, and turns out they had taken us to eat ice cream at Nutter's in Sharpsburg . It is quite possibly the best ice cream we have ever had! Then she held us hostage and made us sleep in her air conditioned house for the entire weekend! This was a good thing for many reasons. One of course was that we got to spend some time with our new best friend Maria! The other was because we wanted a chance to talk with the christianites again and ask them all the questions that had been going through our minds over the last 5 days. So we woke up on Saturday and got some coffee at Mellow Moods and ran into Jerry who was as exited to see us as we to see him. Even though their fellowship did not allow the women and men to touch at all I wanted to hug him, but I refrained and told him I was hugging him in my spirit! : ) We asked him how the rest of the clan was doing and told him we really wanted to speak with David because he had been on our hearts all week and he said he believed the feeling to be mutual. So he had David call us. We arranged to meet him in town on Sunday afternoon.
Saturday afternoon came quickly and so did the feeling of taking a nap inside an air conditioned apartment. Since Maria was working a double that day she was not too available to hang out until 8 p.m. So I took a 2 1/2 hour nap which was delightful and I woke up to someone doot- dooting the mexican hat song. I had just enough energy to open one eye, and I saw a giant taco standing in front of me and I followed the lettuce and tomato up to a head sticking out of it and much to my surprise it was my husband!! He had dressed up like a taco wearing a comically large sombrero, for Maria's Taqueria, and ran all over town telling people to eat at her shop. I managed to drag myself out of bed and went downstairs to see what happening in Sheperdstown. We ran into Jerry again and sat with him at the wall and sang songs and talked about our awesome God! Since that is what us Christians love to do so much! D.D. came by and sat with us for a while too. Maria even came by and talked with us for a while until the hot sauce salesmen wooed her away to make a hot sauce deal! We found out one of Maria's favorite local musicians, Bob Keel, was playing that night for his cd release party at Mecklenburg Inn, a cute little German Inn that had been turned into a restaurant and bar, so we decided we would check it out. On the way there we stopped at Tony's Pizza and ordered a pie. We ventured to the backyard and there was a arm wrestling contest going on. I tried to get Jeff to enter but he didn't want to embarrass all the other men!! Hahaha!!! We watched a couple sets of Bob's show and we got sleepy so Maria escorted us back to the apartment and we passed out for the night.
The next morning we woke up and had breakfast at the local diner. We decided to go to the Baptist church to have some fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ. It is really fun for us to get to go to different churches and meet like-minded people. We always leave with our spirits lifted. We just happened to walk into the Sunday morning bible study and we joined right in. The congregation was small but they were all so warm and welcoming. God Bless St. John Baptist Church congregation. After church we headed down German Street to meet with David and just a block away from the church we ran into Jerry again.

So we walked to the wall that the christianites sit on to play music and witness to people at and David was there waiting for us. We sat and just had small talk for a while and talked to a local guy who came by. Finally David and I were getting impatient to begin talking about what we had come together to talk about so we just scooted back a few feet and started talking. David told us a story about how him and a woman in the fellowship had fallen in love and it turned sour and it left a sore spot in his heart. We discussed what happened the previous week and asked many questions. There were not any agreements on the scripture however, we did agree to just allow God to show us and bring us into one mind, the mind of Christ. After we moved on from that discussion I was flipping through Philippians and found the verse that spoke of exactly what we had agreed to do. Philippians3:15Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16Only let us hold true to what we have attained. I love it when you read something in God's word right after it happens. It really shows you how his word is TRUTH!!! So we left our meeting with the christianites in peace and went back to Maria's.
Jeff went to play at Open Mic that night and I talked to my mom on Skype till midnight! We woke up the next morning and had breakfast with the Christianites. It was pleasant, and we noticed some other things in their behavior that we did not notice the previous time we were with them. The more we find out about them, the more we see a spirit of religion and oppression among them. They definitely have a relationship with Christ but there seems to be a battle going on in their minds. Ruhama came with Maria and Jeff and I to drop us off on the trail. Ruhama got to share her testimony with Maria and we all ate Macaroni and cheese crackers. Yumm!! It began to rain and Maria and Ruhama headed back to Sheperdstown and we walked an eighth of a mile to the closest campsite.
The next day we walked 7 or 8 miles and camped. It poured on us all night long. It sounded like popcorn popping on top of the tent. The next morning we slept in because it was a pretty restless night. We walked another 10 or so miles and when we arrived at the next campsite I saw a man lying in a hammock reading and he was dressed like the men who we call the christianites. I said, "Are you a brother?" He rose up and said yes and my heart leaped with joy. There were two of them, Timothy and Michael. We spoke with them for a while and decided to share dinner with them that evening. They cooked chile and we provided the rice. Soon after we arrived a boy scout troop in canoes showed up. They asked if they could camp with us and I said the more the merrier! They were well behaved and did not stay up to late, thank goodness. After dinner we talked with the brothers, sang songs with them, and shared our testimony. We thoroughly enjoyed their company. We got to sleep early so we could rise with the sun before the morning chorus was over. For the readers who don't know what the morning chorus is, it's the beautiful chorus the birds sing as the sun is coming over the horizon. It's absolutely splendid!
We met so many other wonderful people on the C&O canal, too many to talk about all of them. We would like to give a shout out to them though! Hello Crash, Egbert a.k.a Roy, Bejamin, Phil, and so many others who I cannot even remember names of. We finally finished the canal the day before yesterday. We hitched our first ride from Paw Paw to Oldtown. We camped out behind the old schoolhouse that has been turned into the local business mall for a day before starting West Virginia, which was such a blessing. We walked our first day in the foot hills of the Appalachian Mountains yesterday and are now in a cute little cafe called "Perky Bean", in Fort Ashbey, West Virginia. Yesterday I got the worst heat rash I have had so far and I did not wear my hat so my face looks lobsterish! We have decided to send this lap top home because I am sick of carrying it. We will probably get an iphone soon so we can just blog from it.
The Lord has been teaching us so much lately. He is really using us to encourage and build other people's faith. It is a blessing when we get reports of how our journey is touching so many people's lives. Our main purpose for this journey is to further the kingdom of God and to edify the church and I pray the Lord is pleased with what we have done so far. There are so many other thoughts I would love to share and maybe when we get an iphone we can blog more often and I can share more. However I don't want to be a burden to the business of this cafe so I am afraid I need to wrap it up. We send our love as always and thank you for all of the prayers that are being sent up for us. We appreciate them so much and they are truly being felt!

God Bless! Shalom,
Truth Walkers

Friday, July 9, 2010


It is very interesting the ways God speaks to us. Sometimes we may feel that the timing for his instructions are keeping us from getting to the next point on our path but we soon realize that his timing is perfect and the interruptions are necessary in more ways than one.

When we first met Maria she told us about these traveling Christians who came into town on their bicycles several months ago and have not left. She said they seem different than other Christians and they wear strange clothes and stand at the wall and play music and talk to people. We were intrigued and wanted to meet them, but Maria’s door was open and we decided to stay with her as you read on the previous blog. On our way out of town we got about 3 miles down the path and got to a picnic table at the same time as another gentlemen on his bike. We sat down to converse with him and it turns out he was one of the “strange christians”. He really wasn’t that strange though, he was actually a very kind and loving soul, named David. After he discovered why we were hiking he was exited and wanted us to meet the rest of his clan. There are 6 of them that all live together and travel around the U.S on their bicycles. After about 30 minutes of a meet and greet kind of conversation he jumped on his bike to rush back to town to arrange a way for us to come meet his clan. We refer to them as the “Christianites” because they don’t have a name of their own and so I will be calling them that from now on. As David was rushing back to see if he could get a ride for us I remembered a thought I had in what I thought was just my imagination throughout the last month. I thought we would get to a certain place and there would be a certain someone there who had been coming there for 2 or 3 days because they felt like God wanted them to go there to meet someone. David had been in that spot for the third time because he felt like he was supposed to meet someone. Coincident?! I hear coincidents are just God’s way of staying anonymous! :)


Before this journey got underway, we both felt like someone was going with us. God confirmed it in both of us, and although we didn’t know who it was, when we would meet, how many of them there were, or for how long we would travel together, we knew in our hearts that it was going to happen at some point. So after we had met David and we watched him speed away riding as fast a he possibly could, we got really excited about the possibility of traveling companions. We waited there at the picnic table for a bit then I realized that I had acquired the “trail smell” again, and with the prospect of meeting new people I jumped in the river to rinse off. I am glad I did because about an hour later we got a phone call from David and he was happy to report that the woman they were staying with was fine with us coming over. I changed clothes, packed our things and off we went, eagerly hiking back towards Shepherdstown. We made it about two of the three miles back down the towpath and we saw David and a woman named Rahama approaching us on the path! They were so wonderful and immediately we could see the love of Christ in them. When the four of us finally made it back to the bridge over the river where the car was waiting, I realized that we all had to cram in like sardines and man was I glad I had that moment in the river! We met Gail and Jerry in the car. Gail was the woman they were staying with and Jerry was one of the “brothers.” We were all excited and everyone immediately had a lot to talk about. After the short car ride we arrived at Gail’s house. We were invited in and as soon as we entered one of the “sisters” named Deedee, offered to give Kristin a foot massage!! Kristin was grinning from ear to ear because she had been praying for one for a few days, and there is only so much I can do in the tent with sweaty, dirty, hiker feet and a bottle of hand sanitizer! :) As soon as we arrived we set our packs down and washed up for dinner. The other sisters had already prepared the meal and we all sat down to the table. We shared some of our testimony and they shared some of theirs and we talked about God’s Love and Grace. David was especially happy to hear our story because he had been living in a very similar way for the past 30 years, and seldom sees anyone else forsaking all and following Christ. He was actually “down in the doldrums” about it for a while and we were an answer to his prayers. Most of dinner was spent uplifting and encouraging one another. After dinner we all sat down in the living room and sang songs and talked until pretty late. It was such an enjoyable evening spent in fellowship with like-minded followers of Christ.

The next morning we went into town with Jerry, Deedee and Rahama, to talk to the people in the town like they often do. We went to “the wall” where a lot of young people usually congregate. Jerry brought his guitar and we all sang songs and talked with a few people. We also got to share a little more of our story. While we were there, Deedee went to inquire about 2 bikes that someone wanted to give to them. When she came back, her and Jerry went to go pick them up. We were thinking, “hmmm...it is strange that we met in the way that we did, and suddenly they get offered two more bicycles for free.” Kristin and I both felt like they were possibly for us, but that we also felt like God was calling us to WALK not ride. So we decided to pray about it and wait for God’s will to be shown to us. After towing the two new bikes back to Gail’s, Jerry, David, and I started on dinner. Things were looking up and getting very exciting to say the least.


While we were riding back to Gayle’s, Rahama and I were tagging pretty far behind and got stopped by a local who owned a car repair shop. His name I cannot remember but he gave us a brand new bike helmet and a bike lock! “Wow!” I thought, “Is this possibly another sign for us?” Ruhama told the kind gentleman what Jeff and I were doing and he and a friend prayed for us. Ruhama and I hopped back on the bikes and headed to the house to cool off. When we got inside I was feeling like accepting the shower that they had persistently been offering. After a refreshing shower I asked Ruhama if I could borrow something to wear since all my hiker clothes were dirty and smelly! She dressed me up in bright peach and lilac, I felt like a flower! We then enjoyed some delicious dinner and fellowship together and while I was in the shower Jerry had asked Jeff if he could speak to us privately. So after dinner and clean-up we went down stairs with him to talk. He seemed to be having a hard time telling us what he wanted to say. After several moments of silence he brought to us Mark 10:11-12: He told them, “whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her, and if a woman divorces her husband and marries someone else, she commits adultery.” Jerry felt that since Jeff had been married before that he was committing adultery. He then proceeded to ask for the sake of peace that we would sleep in separate beds that night. I immediately felt in my spirit we would have to leave. I became silent and started weeping so I dismissed myself and went to the other side of the room to cry, not because what he had just said offended me or made me feel bad, but because I loved them all so much I did not want to leave them, but God was letting me know in my spirit it was time to go. I dried my eyes as much as possible and came back to the room and Jeff mouthed we had to go and I felt the same way. I told Jerry we would not be staying. I told him I pray that God would give him the peace that he had given Jeff and I about that scripture and I had no doubt in my mind that we were husband and wife. I told him we were not leaving because we were offended, and that I had no problem not sleeping with my husband, but if I did that I would be listening to man and not God. I said that I never put man’s words above God’s. So we had a few more moments of silence and Jeff asked Jerry to tell the others and we packed up. As we were leaving, Ruhama and Deedee were standing at the door and I immediately started weeping again as I hugged them and they both were silent and we all were at a loss for words to speak, so we just hugged and I cried and laughed at the same time.

Earlier that morning when I woke up, before the day began, I went outside to pray and as I was seeking God to show me why we were still in Shepherdstown, I kept feeling like he was telling me we were there for Maria. So after saying goodbye to the Christianites we headed to Maria’s house where we found her, and her best friend Jess, were sitting in the living room. In a way they were actually waiting on us!


Apparently Maria and Jess were feeling kinda tired and decided to stay home, which they said was strange for them. They also said that, “wouldn’t it be cool if ‘the Christians’ (meaning Kristin and I) came back?” It was soon after they started talking about us that they heard us knocking at the back door and they knew it was us!!! How cool is that? Unbeknownst to us, a huge ripple effect had been set in motion in the town because of our time with Maria. She and Jess were telling us how the people we met just a few days before would have normally chased us down the street and out of town for talking about Jesus, but for some odd reason everyone was getting along, and talking about God!! Woah! Giving all glory and honor to God, we were excited for Maria and her friends in town! May God come and water the seeds that were planted in Shepherdstown! We told them what had happened with us the last few days and we stayed up way too late talking, again. ;) The next morning Kristin and I tried to find a church to attend with no luck because we had slept in too late. Oops. So after walking to several different churches, and finding a cup of coffee, we ran into Jerry down at “the wall” and got to talk to him and Deedee for a bit. We asked if they had gotten together to talk about the night before and he said they hadn’t. After a while Kristin and I both went back to Maria’s and she made us the most amazing tuna melt sandwiches EVER and then suggested we go get some “water therapy” down at the river. So Maria, Jess, Rose, Kristin, and I went down to the river with fishing poles, a kayak, and “the Redneck Yacht” which is half duct tape and half queen sized air mattress! Genius! Good times were had by all and we left with plenty of time to run by the grocery store to grab snacks and head off to the mountains to watch the 4th of July celebrations. Maria took us to the top of this mountain to a clearing where we could see for 50-60 miles of West Virginia's rolling hills. We saw two different town’s fireworks, and every local family’s mortar show too! It was as if we were up in the clouds looking down at all these sparkling flowers bloom and disappear all over a green lawn! It was incredible to say the least. Thank you SOOO much for that Maria! After the most incredible evening spent with the most incredible of friends, we went back to Maria’s. Maria and Jess decided they wanted to go to this open mic night, and they really, really wanted for us to go and play, but we felt like we needed to leave in the morning so we told her that we would pray about it. As we were lying in bed praying, Maria walked by our room and whispered, “God wants you to go to open mic.” It was really funny and we all laughed about it, but we knew that He really wanted us to go to bed. Nice try Maria, but it doesn’t work quite like that! ;)

We woke up relatively early and went a few doors down to the local cafe where we got some egg sandwiches and coffee. After breakfast we went back and found Maria and Jess awake. We said our goodbyes and that’s when I realized that I had lost my sunglasses at some point the day before. :( So after a good search of the house and cars, we figured them for lost and said farewell to Maria and Jess. We think about you often and we will miss you a lot. Maria you will be in our thoughts and prayers everyday until we meet again!


Okay! Wow, this blog is long and we are not even finished yet!! Thank God for the AC at the McD’s!! After we left Shepherdstown we headed to the next campsite where I began to feel a cold setting in. I went through all my Kleenex's and half of my roll of toilet paper in a day. So we rested a day at that campsite and met a great boyscout troop and Mr. Cat, the campsite stray who was adorable and by judging his behavior, he was not born a stray. If he had not been rolling in Lord knows what, I would have cuddled with him all day!! We were 100 % by the next morning and we shared the breakfast bench with the boyscout’s one last time and said goodbye to them as they headed towards Georgetown and we headed towards the DETOUR!

The detour is 5 miles of winding country blacktop with no shoulder. You are supposed to take the detour because for 25 years the towpath has been washed out and overgrown with poison ivy, vines, and other various entangled plant life. However, while in town, Tom, the guy who owned the running shop told us it really isn’t too bad if you’re on foot! He said, “oh you might have to slide down a rock or two.” HA! So we got an adventurous hair and decided to go for the woolybuggered lack of trail. We got to a point that had a sign prompting bike’s to take detour and hikers take caution so we proceeded ahead. Then we got to a huge wooden fence with a big WARNING! DANGER! STOP! DO NOT GO ANY FURTHER SIGN! So we said, “hmmph” and walked around it! We were immediately walking through tons of poison ivy, which Jeff is highly allergic to, and sawing through tree branches just so we could get through. Then we got to a part where we had to either start rock climbing, which we had no equipment for, or go through knee deep river. So we got our shoes wet! After a mile or so of that and a gallon of sweat, we came to another spot that we had no choice but to go up. Thank goodness Jeff had spotted a game trail that went to the top of the ridge. It would have made a billy goat pucker, but we followed its ups and downs to a human trail that took us to someone’s boat dock. We ran to it and undressed and jumped in the river, soaped up everything and thanked God for not letting us get hurt! We were also out of water and we had to filter the Potomac, which we later found out was a horrible source of water and most people would not even swim in it! But we are still alive so it must not have been too bad!! We proceeded up the man made trail, possibly trespassing a little, and found our way back to the part of the towpath that had been restored! Thank heavens! We walked about 2-3 miles to the next campsite about to fall over as usual and set up camp, made dinner and crashed out.


Hahaha!! It’s 4:17p.m. and we started writing this at 11:30a.m.! So we slept in again, and then packed up and walked the 9 miles to Williamsport, MD. This is where we met Rev. Luther on the towpath. He offered to drive us to Hagerstown, MD so we could go to the grocery store. He dropped us off at Golden Coral and said that we could stay with him and his wife that evening! God is good! So we ate entirely too much food off of the buffet and waddled over to the grocery store. On the way there, we decided to cut through the big mall to save some time and distance. After lots of strange looks from tons of people clad in designer duds, we made it to the other side of the mall where we met Nick. Nick was standing outside on his break from his Sprint Wireless Store. He happened to overhear our conversation with another mall-goer about our journey. He was very interested and said that he would love to pick our brains about our story, and even offered us a place to stay! Wow, two options for a good nights rest in a house with a shower and a/c! How “cool” is that?!! Fact: it’s been high 90’s - low 100’s for the last few days here. Nick told us that he gets off work at 9:00 and if we wanted a place to stay to meet him there. So off we went to the grocery store where we bought entirely too much food and a new pair of sunglasses for me. During the shopping spree we were fortunate to meet a fellow hiker named “Ewok.” He was very interested in the trail we were hiking because he had thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail before, but never heard of anything like the ADT. We talked for like 25 minutes standing next to the dried fruit and nuts before we suggested we go to a coffee shop or something. We decided to finish up our shopping and meet at the front of the store. After we checked out we found Ewok at the front of the store and he said that there wasn’t a coffee shop close by, so we parked it at the bench outside of the grocery store and talked for an hour or so. Ewok had some great insight and suggestions for us and we were so blessed to have met him! He even gave us a ride in his awesome Jeep back over to the mall to meet Nick! Thanks Ewok!! Give our Love to the kids in India when you get over there!!! Godspeed. And I’m tired of typing again, so.....Herrrrrre’s KRISTIN!!!! TA-DA!


Wow! Okay so we got to the mall and had to wait on Nick to rap things up at work and shut everything down. We hopped in the car with him and his little brother and headed down the street to drop his brother off and then we got a tour of Hagerstown. On the way to Nick’s house he said he had just moved in and he had a roommate that got off of work late but would probably go to the bar afterwards and come home really late so we would not see much of him. When we got to Nick’s house we crashed on the couches and listened to Nick’s stories of traveling around the U.S with his family and being in the Navy. We were both really sleepy and wanted to go to bed but also wanted to be friendly and talk to this Nick guy who so graciously invited us into his home. So we conversed with him a while longer and the conversation opened up for us to tell him our testimony right as his brother was walking in. His roommate also made an appearance to change his clothes before heading out to the bar. He said hi, nice to meet you, bye. Short meeting! Finally around 1:30 Nick decided we looked sleepy enough to go to sleep and him and his brother and their friend Katie went outside. We fell asleep and were awakened at 3 a.m to the roommate angry and drunk screaming and cussing at Nick on the phone that it was rude for him to invite two strangers to crash in the living room without asking him. So Jeff and I quietly got up, packed up and left just so we wouldn’t cause anymore problems between the roommates. We found the first church and popped our tent in the most discreet place on the property and got a couple hours of sleep before people started showing up for 8 a.m. Mass, which we decided to attend as well! We figured after a night like that, a quick mass would do us good even though we are not catholic. It was refreshing and afterwards we headed toward the path, stopped at the laundry mat, the Dollar General for some ponchos, and then ate at Waffle House. Now we are at McDonalds, where we have been for almost 6 hours and are tired of typing and need to upload some pictures before sundown. So I bid farewell for now and God Bless to all our readers and pray God’s grace, peace. and love be with you forever and ever!!


Friday, July 2, 2010

The Vandagriff Weight Loss Program!!

Day 28 today and we are sitting in Maria's Kitchen after a fun night of hanging out and going to the river. More on that later... When we left the family campground we walked to Harper's Ferry and joined up with the Appalachian Trial for a few miles. We met an interesting Thru-Hiker named "Ragtime" who was on the AT and was doing a lot of foraging and such. We got to share a few plant uses and ideas on what to eat and what to use for medicine. We learned new things and he learned new things. It was great! From Ragtime we learned of a nice Hostel in the area that a lot of AT hikers use, so we went over to check it out. When we got there the people were really nice and it was a great facility. We were able to get a private room for really cheap and so we checked in. After we put our packs down we met two more hikers, "Eatmore" and "Sleepy." They were on track to finish the trail in like 4.5 months which is super fast!! They were young guys who were traveling ultralight. Was also met a great couple from Germany who were hiking the trail, and a brother in Christ who's trail name is "Moment." More on him in a "moment" (pun intended). We learned that most AT thru-hikers had packs that only weigh between 20 and 30 pounds. We weighed our packs and they were 40 and 60 pounds!! When we told them how much they weighed, they looked at us like we were freaking NUTS!!! Then when we picked up on of their packs, we started thinking that WE WERE nuts! So they all started giving us advice on how to scale down the weight of our packs and they all were genuinely concerned for us. Hikers are an amazing group of people. The camaraderie and sense of community they have for one another is really great. We also learned that there was an outfitter just across the river in Harper's Ferry that will help you shake down your pack and is really helpful. So we planed to go there in the morning. Now that night we talked and watched Napoleon Dynamite, we ate dinner and popcorn. After talking to "Moment" for a while, we learned that he was a believer. So we were excited because we hadn't had much fellowship on the Canal up to this point, and he was excited because he hadn't had much on the trail either. We wound up staying up until 2:00am talking about God and all the good things that He had done in our lives. It was so great!

~ Jeff

We woke up later than usual at the hostel and ate some make-your-own pancakes. I put some chocolate chips and raisins in ours! Yum! Moment was heading to Harpers Ferry as well to meet his girlfriend who would be hiking the second half of the AT with him so we walked together. We walked over a beautiful bridge where the Potomac and Shanandoah River meet. We had one goal in mind for that town, lose some weight! So we headed to "The Outfitter at Harper's Ferry" to see what kind of weight loss program he had in mind for some quick shedding of some extra baggage! We got there and met Dave. An ex-AT hiker who was so helpful and knowledgeable about how to hike light. Since the ADT does not have many hikers and they are usually months apart this was our first chance to talk to experienced hikers. So we spent about 4 hours with our belongings spread out all over the porch at the outfitters and throwing stuff into a box and going back and forth on what to keep and what to send home. When it was all said and done we sent home a 30 pound box of stuff. Beat that Jenny Craig!! So after giving hugs to Moment and Dave we set off to the next campsite feeling like butterfly's! When we got to the camp there were 22 middle schoolers camped at the site and a small group of boy scouts. I thought, "OH NO, we are NEVER going to get any SLEEP tonight!!" We did not want to walk another five miles seeing as how the sun was almost down so we decided that we would not let a few 12 year olds intimidate us and we popped up our tent in the last little spot and quickly fell asleep. When we woke up we decided to go back to sleep and take the day off so Wednesday we slept all day in our tents in some wonderful weather that would have been great to walk in but it did just fine for sleeping as well.
We woke up Thursday and packed up our now lighter packs and scurried off to a town called Sheperdstown WV, a quaint little college town, to stock up on a couple necessary items. When we were walking through town a guy waved and pointed toward the direction of his shop. So we headed his direction and when he saw us he told us we could drop our packs down at his running shop and check out the town. Tom was his name and He was so kind and generous. He found out what we were doing and offered to pick us up down the trail a ways and he said that he would treat us to dinner and a place to stay! Then he gave us some flavored electrolyte tablets to put into our water bottles! What a great guy! He adamantly recommended we eat next door at Maria's Taqueria, which sounded perfect. We got some yummy mex/southern cal. food and met Maria. Maria is a graduate of Sheperds University who a year ago decided to open a restaurant. She sat down and talked to us for a bit and we told her some crazy stories and I think she decided we were not too bad, because she invited us to hang out with her at her house next door. So we hopped over the fence and put our packs down in her backyard and sat in her comfy patio furniture and met some of her friends who were visiting from out of town. We felt like we had known them forever so we just hung out all night. We went to the river to do a little kayaking, fishing, and swimming. Then we came back to her house and we all went back and forth on what to eat and Maria said she would cook so her and I went to the grocery store and bought dinner. We came back and Maria went at it making us a gourmet meal! It consisted of London Broil, cranberry walnut herb salad, homemade alfredo and linguini, caprese salad, and to top it all off, she made her secret family recipe for peach cobbler. Is your mouth watering yet?!

We are more and more amazed everyday at the people God is putting in our path. One of Maria's friends, Ryan, brought over a guitar and bass and we got to sit down and play some music for a while which was a real treat! Fonz was another friend of Maria's who was in town and he was also a bassist and cook. We had a great time talking about bass and musicians. We also got to meet "Gypsy Rose," another experience AT hiker who had a lot of good advice and stories for us! What a wonderful group of people! We felt like old friends and wound up hanging out until 2:00am! Wow!

God is continuing to refine and streamline us into what he wants us to be, both physically and spiritually, and we are thankful to have days like this! What an amazing journey this has been and it is just the first days! If there are any other ADT hikers reading this I highly recommend you spend some time in Shepherdstown. Especially at Maria's Taqueria and Two Rivers Treads! May joy and peace be with you for the rest of your days!!!

~ WalkingForTheTruth