Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Hooray for Pepere!

My dad completed the Appalachian Trail! After more than 6 straight months of hiking, he stood at the summit of Springer Mountain, Georgia, on Monday, October 9. And we were there to see it.

Pepere had no idea we were coming. On Sunday the 8th, we drove to Dahlonega, Georgia, and checked into the condo to wait for him. Meanwhile, torrential rains and strong winds forced him off the Trail that afternoon. My mom found him shivering on the side of the road, and brought him back to the condo. He was soaked to the skin, shivering from exposure, just wanting to get into a hot shower and pray for better weather the following day ... when my three monkeys jumped him and ensured that he would have NO rest that evening.

After he showered and (somewhat) recovered, we had a fun evening eating at a Cajun restaurant for dinner, playing Sequence, the kids' latest favorite board game, and watching the Yankees.

The next morning, my mom drove us to the trailhead, and Dad and I set off while Mom took the kids. It was wet from the day before, but we only got rained on a little bit, and we even caught a few glimpses of sun. 

At noon, my mom and the kids met us for the final mile up to the top of Springer Mountain. The kids surprised Pepere with signs we'd made and decorated at home.

They were troopers on the hike. It was a mile straight up a very rocky and slippery path, and then a mile back down to the car. There were very few falls, no whining to speak of, and the kids had pretty good attitudes about the whole thing. Thank goodness the weather cooperated!

It was so special to be there when my dad completed the Trail. We watched him record his name in the book of thru-hikers, and took pictures to document the milestone. This was as much an accomplishment for my mom, too, who followed him virtually the entire way and planned all his logistics -- a full-time job!

We prayed daily for Pepere's safety, and our prayers were answered: amazingly, he completed the entire Appalachian Trail at age 68 with zero injuries or illnesses. Hallelujah!

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