Tuesday, April 13, 2010

AZT: Positive surprise 1

John, the Gentleman hiker
When I was about to leave the Patagonia library where I had written my last post I was stopped by a lady asking me whether I was hiking the AZT. We started talking (although I was really hungry) and it turned out that she was camped out on the trail and doing little day hikes to get in shape for an AZT thruhike. I asked her about other hikers and she told me that she had only seen one other - a Gentleman hiker. She called him that way because he was supported by friends who waited for him at every trail crossing and cooked him meals every night. And I was soon to meet all of them.... but at that time I left the library and went to buy lunch myself.

Trail angels Dale and Gloria
2 days later I saw a man in a jeep coming down an incredibly rocky jeep road. He just said "Only 750 miles to go" and drove by. First I admired his driving skills and second I wondered how he knew about the AZT! 2 days later I would meet him again and when he stopped the mystery was solved. Dale (and his wife Gloria) where the people supporting John Officer, the Gentleman hiker who was always a couple of miles ahead of me. I had been following his foot prints since the Mexican border. Dale cached water for me and when I met him and his wife again the next morning they invited me back to their house in Tucson (where I am staying right now). And I still had not even met the famous Gentleman hiker himself! But even that was to come that day - I eventually caught up with John 6 hours later. And I am proud to say that I gave him his new trail name: Gentleman hiker!


John got off the trail for the weekend whereas I hiked on and was picked up by Dale and Gloria at Redington Road, a dirt road no German driver would want to go on. They drove me around Tucson today so I could do all my errands and I would even meet John again - just in time to give him some advice on the trail situation ahead (see next entry for that). So life is very good in Tucson!

2 comments:

Dale said...

Glad to be of help and hope we meet again.

ArizonaAnnie said...

Christine: I am enjoying your blog. I live in Tucson (since 1966)and helped build the AZT, the section east of town. I am not much of a hiker but wanted to help construct the trail. I came to your blog site with a Google search for "Paddling down the Mississippi" and have read all of that blog. Fascinating! I love your writing style, admire your grasp of English and hope you have SAFE TRAVELS! Anne M.