Andrew’s hike to this point has been a wilderness hike. This week the hike became a “people hike.” The people of western PA and eastern OH have gone out of their way to help Andrew and offer comfort and companionship.

Andrew returned to his hike on November 8th. Gail, a very active member of the North Country Trail Association, picked up Andrew from the Pittsburgh Airport and brought him back to Wampum to resume where he had left off. She also called ahead so the people in Darlington would be expecting him at the end of the day. Gail has been a true “trail angel.”

In Darlington, PA, Andrew met up with three generations of the Sanders family: They fed Andrew dinner and breakfast, let him camp in their yard (they offered him their couch but he wanted to camp in the 22-degree cold), and provided conversation and entertainment all night. Bev, a member of the Darlington Historical Society, gave Andrew a personal tour of the town’s two museums with some very old artifacts (13-star American flag, mining equipment from early 1900s, arrowheads made by the Delaware Indians, an Edison record player, etc.). It was an unforgettable evening.

The following day, Thursday, Andrew met Jeremy and Jerry Humphrey of Negley, OH, who passed him on the side of the road, on their way to the local rock climbing area. They chatted for a while and had many similar interests. On their way back from climbing, they came to Andrew’s camping area, picked him up, brought him back to their place, allowed him to use the shower, took him out for a delicious burger and Guinness drafts in Lisbon, then games of shuffleboard at Frank’s Brookside Bar, and then back to their house for a few hours of sleep before dropping him back off on the trail. Jeremy and Jerry are a novelty in this area: they have climbed Denali, Aconcagua, Rainier, Devil’s Tower and Mt Washington in winter. Jerry has plans to climb Everest in 2006. They are huge GoLite fans — a GoLite sticker on a kitchen cabinet door was the first thing Andrew noticed when he walked in their house.

Thursday night, November 11, Andrew had dinner at the Rt 30 Cafe in Hanoverton, OH. 3-eggs, ham and cheese omelet, double order of home fries, and toast, all washed down with a homemade slice of apple pie and a scoop of ice cream. When he went up to pay the waitress told him, “You don’t owe us anything; your meal is on us.” They had heard of Andrew’s hike. Andrew thanked Anita Hicks, the owner, left a tip on the table, and walked next door to the community park where he slept under the picnic pavilion (it was raining and 35-degrees).

Friday night Andrew arrived in Magnolia, OH. He had previously met Pastor Diehl last year, and the Pastor was again gracious and allowed Andrew to sleep in the church basement. The Pastor and his wife also took Andrew out for dinner and conversation. Saturday, Andrew will be at a lake house owned by a Duke Track teammate’s parents. Andrew hopes that all weeks are like this one. He realizes they will not be, but he is enjoying the great hospitality while it exists.

Total miles walked: 2,245

Posted in on November 13, 2004

Leave a Comment