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.
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!