We decided that it would be best that I stayed behind today and let my leg rest. I helped Ryan with breakfast and packed them lunch for the day. David took them all to the trail head and they set off for a day of slack packing. They hiked about 15 miles. They hiked past several waterfalls.
While they were gone, David let me use his car to go to the grocery store. I bought a while bunch of food and prepared a gigantic feast for more than 20 hungry hikers. Ava had requested Mexican food for her birthday, so I went to making build your own burritos with chicken, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, tomatoes, and sauteed onions and peppers, with sides of chips and salsa, refried beans and rice. Everyone enjoyed dinner, and there were few leftovers.
I am so thankful that David reached out to us several weeks ago. We laugh because Ryan kinda wants to be like David when he grows up. He serves the hikers that come through Roan Mountain like a trailside concierge. He gives free sodas and rides all over town, and occasionally those hikers end up staying at his place. Really though he just loves the culture. And here again, his kitchen became the backdrop of great memories for many.
Ava doesnt really like cake, so I made a sopapilla cheesecake for her instead. Huggybear did a little dance into the living room carrying her dessert to her while we all sang happy birthday. Again, she allowed others to love on her, which is a huge thing for her.
It was a great day, regardless of the fact that I was not able to hike everyone. It blessed my heart to do things that I miss, and to not miss doing things that I love, like prepare a homecooked meal for the birthday girl. Happy Birthday, Ava!