Tuesday, 13 April 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!


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.