Appalachian Trail, June 14, 2021 — Trail life is more than hiking, snagging trash, and cleaning out fire pits. Occasionally you meet people who can tell you stories and celebrate life.
The trail also has a cast of characters. No, this isn’t Gandalf though he would be a good stunt double. He has been maintaining Pinefield hut for 30 years with an list of stories long enough to put Amazon’s inventory to shame.
You will recall Chris Bowley started in mid-April. Sunday he helped the Crapper Crew empty the compost bin at Pinefield Hut in Shenandoah National Park. He also cleaned the trash out of the fire pit. All in a day’s work.
Flash forward to last night. One of our ridgerunner almuni was in the area. Kiki was one of our 2018 Maryland ridgerunners and ridgerunner alumni are royalty.
Kiki Dehondt and Kiera Johnston are recently engaged to be married. Certainly a celebration was in order.
Witt and I cooked hamburgers for them at the Blackburn Trail Center. We served the burgers with champagne and craft beer as a special treat. More valuable from a thru hiker’s perspective, they got to take hot indoor showers!
Kiki and Kiera have known each other for 10 years. Ironically, Kiera was also known as Kiki when she was a child. Just yell “Kiki!” They’ll both come running.
I was somewhat surprised to learn that thru hiking was her idea. They’ll soon be in Maryland where surely Kiki will introduce Kiera to all the friendly rocks he met when he was a ridgerunner there.
On deck: A ridgerunner alum is about to make an encore appearance. Stay tuned.