Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Taste Of The Trail

Our Trail-Master and good friend, Jack D of Shipslog
Attempting to get a signal on his cell-phone

Mark, Jackie and Sherry the morning we began our hike


Jack, Gordon, Me, Mark at the beginning of our trek
The sign says
It's only 3.3 miles to the shelter where we will camp
the first night


Gordon getting settled into the shelter
 On Tuesday of last week my missionary friend (Gordon) and I boarded a plane and flew to Bangor, ME to begin our trek on the Appalachian Trail.  We were two kids again!  School was out.  And we were both excited about the adventure that lay before us.  Jack (of Shipslog) had invited us to join him and one of his sons for the "100 mile wilderness" section of the trail that begins at Abol bridge at the base of Mt. Katahdin and travels southwards to Manson. 

To sum it up, it took me 5 hours to lead the group in to the first shelter where we camped for the night.  I had begun to run out of steam by the time we got through the bog; the first hurdle along the trail, which took about an hour of walking.  Did I say walking?  It was more like slowly creeping as I tentatively sought for a solid place to plant my hiking stick without it sinking into the marsh from six inches up to two feet!  I would say hahaha - but it wasn't funny at that time.  Plenty funny now that I'm safely home anmd sitting in the comfort of my office. 

After reaching what I think was about the half-way point I became over-heated, so much so that my glasses had gone from fogging over to being wet and streaked completely with sweat.  When I stopped and took a drink from my canteen I decided to pour some water on my head and face.  Steam flew into the air like you had poured ice onto a hot Model A Ford engine. (Well, that's what it seemed like to me.)  I was nauseous.  I felt I would surely lose my lunch.  My  pack felt like it weighed 450 lbs instead of the 48.5 lbs that the airport scale had showed. 

At that point, my good friend Jack insisted that we swap packs.  I believe his pack weighed 30 lbs or less.  He carried my pack and I carried his for a couple of hours.  Then Jack's son, Mark sped on ahead to the shelter and hung his pack in a tree before returning to take the pack I was carrying on the rest of the journey.  I knew at that point that I was not ready yet to hike the entire trail on this trip so decided that if we could possibly get a cell-phone signal that I would do the smart thing and go back out in the morning. 

Sure - I struggled with my male ego before making this decision.  The "man" in me wanted to "do it or die" but I thought - I don't have to die from my an attack of over-grown ego.  Ha.  Common sense told me to let the others go on and for me to turn back.  I was to learn from Jackie (Jack's first-born son) that this was not "common sense" but rather "uncommon sense".  Just like his Dad!  Always trying to make others feel better about themselves. 

More to follow.  However, I can't wait to show you the Tee Shirt that Frances bought for me and presented to me when I reached home! 

I had seen this shirt in Gatlinburg, TN and remarked to
Frances over the phone that I wished I had bought it.
So appropriate for a beginning of an
Addicted Trail Hiker!
Don't you think?


~mel said...

What a sweetheart that Frances is for getting you the shirt. LOVE IT!! I'm so relieved you boys are off the trail. There is absolutely no shame in what you did accomplish! Male ego put aside ~ you can put a notch on the bedpost for this one! Cherish the memories!!

Now I need to get my butt in gear and get myself ready for hunting season. I have to walk across half a 40 acre section to get to my shack ... and I hardly have the stamina in me anymore to make it that far. Pretty lame ~ but female ego will prevail. lol

Good to have you back Fred!

Jean said...

Fred I am so glad that you're safe at home. That was so sweet of Frances getting the shirt for you. Wear it with a big smile. Take care. Jean

Joyful said...

That sounds like a gruelling trek. I know I couldn't do it. I'm glad you weren't alone and that you had some common sense ;-)

Betsy Adams said...

SO SO SO SO proud of you, Fred... You are such an inspiration to all of us... I'm not sure I would have ever even attempted that hike... You are AWESOME....

You deserve an award just for trying... CONGRATS.
Betsy and George

Sheila Y said...

I'm proud of you too Fred! Most would never attempt it but you did...love the shirt too. Take care, Sheila

jack69 said...

Hey my friend, love the shirt! Glad you are home, Glad Gordon made it back down there and Glad I am in the Motor home! I will relate the great times we had on the blog. We are so proud to have gotten to know Gordon, a great guy. We enjoyed his short stay here, even if he did sleep on the floor! No stiff collar, that man. Sorry you felt bad, but as you said, "All things work together for them that love the Lord." As Sherry said, that one is my standby, although I do forget it at times.

Love to Frances, hope you guys get to Florida this winter.

Crystal Mary said...

I think you have done very well.. And isn't it great to be well enough to do it.. You should have purchased that T-shirt.

Melanie said...

So glad everything went OK and you had a good time. Good to use the common sense God gave you!
What a funny shirt! :)

shirl72 said...

Fred Jack will cherish the time
you all had together. He said
Gordon was such a wonderful person.
His titles doesn't matter he is down to earth..JJ really enjoyed his company and the conservation, JJ is a genius. We have never met but I feel I know you Jack brings you up in conversations.

Fred, Jack and I had wonderful
parents which I am thankful for
our good life. I'm sure he has mention our Sister and her husband.
also wonderful people and we miss
them. Take care of yourself and
be proud of what you did on the trail. Chalk it up to a good
experience and wear your T-Shirt
with pride.


Dar said...

I just know you have that shirt on. What an accomplishment! I'm totally proud of you. To take such an adventure so soon after your long summer was inspiring. Have I told you I'm proud to know you through Jack and our blogs?
The Lord Has always been so good, even with His sense of humor. I'm glad He encouraged you to put that male ego aside for the sake of your health. Now, about that shirt~~~I'll bet you have it on.

About Me

My photo
Cleveland, TN, United States
I am Fred Alton Brannen, the son of Louis A. Brannen (deceased) and Bonnie Jones Brannen, Louis was an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God. Bonnie is an Ordained Licensed Minister and at 89 years of age is still actively engaged in speaking and singing engagements. I am married to the former Frances Hildreth. We celebrated 53 years of marriage this past June and we are the parents of 3, grand-parents of 10, and great-grandparents of 10. I pastored in Tennessee for 24 years and served the Church in some capacity in missions for over 23 years. I retired from full-time ministry in August of 2008 but remain active, speaking and singing and teaching whenever opportunity affords itself. In January of 2010 I received a letter of commendation for having been credentialed as a minister in the Church of God for 50 years! My family is very important to me. Our get togethers are always noisy affairs and most times will include family sing-alongs. The children love their Mom's cooking so we have the privilege of seeing them regularly! WE LOVE having them over.

TheCabin on Day One

TheCabin on Day One
Fred Alton