The Cookie Lady

Kay Wood Shelter, Mass., AT NOBO mile 1,562.2, Monday May 26, 2014 — The trail is full of treats. New Jersey had its delis, Upper Goose Pond had its pancake breakfast and hot coffee this morning, and today we met the Cookie Lady.

The Cookie Lady lives less than 100 yards off the trail and has been baking free cookies for hikers for decades. Nearly all the hiker biographies mention her warm welcome, free water and opportunity to buy a coke or an ice cream bar.

Tomorrow the town of Dalton features Tom Lavarty who has been welcoming hikers to tent in his yard for free.

These are true trail angels, people who give of themselves to make the trail a special place. Without them, this hike would not be such a special experience.

Today’s weather was sunny and pleasant. The trail was nearly flat and rock free. The forest was verdant and inviting. It almost sounds like a prayer, but that’s the way it was.

We broke for lunch at October Mountain Shelter with Dennis, a section hiker from Florida. Life was good.

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2 thoughts on “The Cookie Lady

  1. I miss the trail so much. Does the trail call to you like she calls to me? Beckons really like a siren in the mist. I miss her everyday. Yearn. No that word’s not right either. You feel me. How do I go on without her? Will I ever be home again?

    • Many hikers have near religious experiences on the trail. The first half of my hike was in the winter where I was alone and, when the snow fell, the silence was mysterious and spiritual. At times like these you own insignificance is almost overwhelming. I’ve live a significant chunk of my life in the west. There the size of the mountains alone can make you fell like an ant among giants. It’s all good grounding. Every human should understand their place in the order of the universe. Hint: It’s not much.

      For me the trail is more physical than mystical. I approached and still consider my thru hike an Olympic class athletic event. The time I spend now maintaining and otherwise helping with ATC committee work is a way to remain involved and to stay physically connected.

      Today alone, I spent several hours chainsawing blow downs and picking up trash in Shenandoah National Park. It’s less a labor of love than a understanding that the AT is not a simple trail but a complex system of people, organizations and agreements that keep it alive. These require hard physical labor, intellectual creativity and money.

      In those categories I do what I can and will do so for as long as possible.

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