Papa G, Antenna and the Thru Crew, all survived the night at Roaring Forks Shelter.  It was so very different to wake up on the trail, but not in a tent.  The kids had a great time sleeping in the shelter.  We woke up, rolled up our sleeping mats and bags, and stuffed everything into our packs.  We were eating our breakfast and making a plan for the day when ThunderBuns arrived.  

Papa G, not so strange right?  Antenna and ThunderBuns?  Trail names.  These are names one acquires while hiking on the trail, sometimes because one does something memorable, or because something memorable happens to them.  Sometimes the names are given because of a character quality that one has; sometimes because the color of ones shirt.  Sometimes people give themselves their trailnames.  We all have trail names now.  Ryan is Daddy-O.  I am Ribbons.  Taylor is Woodhawk (Woody), Kole is Strummer, Riley is Etch-a-sketch (Sketch), Ava is Wingspan, and Zoey is Tweety Bird (Tweety).  We all avoided the plight of a name based on something terrible that we had done, like MudPuddle.

So back to the days events… 

Papa G and Antenna have been slowly making their way to Hot Springs, along with us, as they wait for ThunderBuns to catch up.  Well, today would be the day!  While we were eating breakfast and planning out how we were going to tackle the last 18 miles to Hot Springs, which included looking at the weather forecast, up walked ThunderBuns.  Since none of us had cell phone service, we were all surprised to see him so early in the morning.    It was fun to catch up and share each others accounts of the past few days.  Because he had already hiked so many miles this morning, we planned to only hike a few more… and that rain, well, it was in the forecast.  We decided to only hike a few miles, then get settled before the rain came.   While the rain fell, we napped.  When it stopped we would make our way up to the shelter to visit with fellow hikers, and attempt to plan out our next few weeks worth of stops.  I have been trying to figure out where boxes should be sent and where Belles food should be shipped to.  Hmmm… this is NOT an easy feat.  I think I visited more than I planned…

We finally met HoneyB.  She is hiking the trail to raise money for ALZ (Alzheimer’s) Research.  She knows first hand the heartbreaking reality of watching a loved one slip away.  Her mom passed away, after struggling with ALZ for several years. 

We were reunited with Fog Hat.  He is the first hiker we met on March 12th, the day that we started our hike.  He is from New Hampshire, not far from where we live in fact.  After the van dropped us off at Amicalola Falls, we have not seen him again, until today.  It was great to see that he is still out here!

The kids all went exploring, and collected water for us, which is always super helpful.  At one point, Antenna invited Ava and Zoey to go on a walk with her.  Apparently, she turned on some music, and Zoey just danced her little heart out in the wide open field.

We meet so many people each day.  There are some people we have grown to really like, and would love to plan our hike in accordance with their speed and plans, so that we could all stay together, but we are out here on mission, and we are learning to stay true to who we are, and what each of us needs at any given moment. 

We are thankful that we were with all of our friends when it came time for dinner.  Our stove worked, but devoured fuel, and heated super slowly… well, we ran out of fuel midway through making dinner.  Thankfully, Antenna let us borrow her canister so that I could finish feeding our crew.

As soon as everyone had eaten their dinner, the dishes were clean, and the bear bags were hung… the rain came down!  Since it was already about 7:30,  went to bed.  Before we fell asleep, we decided that we would call the Laughing Heart Lodge and make a reservation for us to stay in a bunk room at the Hostel.  It was forecasted to rain, rain, rain… and we just needed some dry down time.  So with thoughts of showers and clean clothes dancing through our heads, we drifted off to sleep.

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