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KINDNESS across AMERICA - Chapter 05: Gatherings

KINDNESS across AMERICA - Chapter 05: Gatherings

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Published by Kirk D. Sinclair
Chapter 5 from my book about our American Discovery Trail Journey
Chapter 5 from my book about our American Discovery Trail Journey

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Published by: Kirk D. Sinclair on Aug 15, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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CHAPTER 5: GATHERINGSEly, NV to Milford, UT; Days = 12 (5 rest); Miles = 143; People Met = 17I first learned of Barrett Jordan via emails sent to me by Dick Bratton, American Discovery TrailCoordinator for Colorado. He keeps track of ADT travelers each year and keeps the travelers and trailcoordinators posted in regards to our progress. We learned from Dick's emails that Barrett started theADT from Point Reyes just a couple weeks ahead of us.Once we entered Nevada I got an email from Barrett himself. He could tell from Dick's reportswe were gaining on him and he wanted to make sure we did not miss each other. Meeting other ADTtravelers is not a common nor even likely event by happenstance. We were few and far between to beginwith; stopovers at different places and the frequency of different routes added further to the difficulty of running into each other.Another person wanted to make sure we did not miss Barrett, Ted Oxborrow, the Nevada TrailCoordinator. Three different emails now made me aware that joining another ADT hiker was indeed possible, something I would not believe could happen before the journey started. Ted wanted to meet usas well. I replied back to Ted that we meet in Ely, since the talk I would give to the Lions Club there pinned us down to a specific place at a specific time.We were just as eager to meet Barrett as he was to meet us. I sent an email back informingBarrett that we were somewhat on a schedule because of the talks I give, but we would be glad for him toaccompany us for a stretch and he would be welcome to use our support as well. We played a little emailtag from that point on.Then the rendezvous with Barrett, as with most ADT travelers, seemed likely not to occur. As wetalked to Ralph and Jann from Belmont on Trail Angel Day they told us an ADT hiker had just gotten off the trail and was spending time in Belmont. We later learned that Barrett's boots had blown out.Considering that we were hiking more miles per day to begin with, we would not get to meet him nowthat we were about to get ahead.
Or would we? We took two rest days in Ely, spent at the local high school. Paul, the former  president of the Lions Club with whom I set up the talk, was also the high school principal. He literallygave us the keys to the school during our time there. We set up our tent on the grounds but had full use of the bathroom, showers and electricity inside. I got a call for Barrett soon after we arrived. He was in Elyand hoping to meet us. I hopped in Ky's van and left to pick him up at a nearby truck stop.Barrett was hiking with his dog Buster, who looked like an overgrown chihuahua. Both Cindyand Ky tend to prefer large dogs, but they both became enamored with little Buster from the start. Barrettcame to the Lions Club talk and expressed his interest in my message. That was appreciated, but Buster was all he needed at that point to be on our good side. Others liked the message as well, with one LionsClub member commenting to me in an email that my talk was inspirational and thought-provoking.Unfortunately, Ted Oxborrow was not there; I regretfully concluded we would not meet him.I found out I was mistaken once again, on our first night out of Ely. We were all camped, Barrettand Buster included, at Cave Lake Campground. I first suspected there was something wrong with mewhen I wanted to quit when hiking out of Carvers; further proof came at Cave Lake. Cindy and I just saton the shore of this picturesque and refreshing lake (in Nevada!) watching Ky go for a swim. Cindy doesnot like cold temperatures in any form, staying out of the water was in character for her. Yet I used to break the ice on the surface of alpine lakes for a quick dip; cold was never a deterrent for me. I did notgo for a swim because I felt too lethargic, and that had to be due to continuing illness.That might surprise you. How can a person be “energetic” enough to hike 20 miles plus a daywhile feeling too lazy for a refreshing swim? All I can say in my defense is that hiking is the sort of activity where you can put a well-conditioned body on auto-pilot, particularly on gentle grades. Thelethargy is in the mind, and I'm not disrupting my internal stupor any more by the rest of my body placingone foot in front of the other than if I was just sitting still. Through the Nevada deserts I was often insuch a stupor.That evening at our campsite I took my Martin Backpacker guitar out of the support vehicle to
 practice. I had yet to use it in a talk, but the plan was to perform some of my original music for inspirational emphasis. I was practicing “Humility, Faith, Courage,” the only instrumental piece performed by my band,
The Bards of Balance
. The message behind the song for my talks was we needthe humility to serve others, the faith to believe in others and the courage to sacrifice for others. As thesong was the only instrumental for my band, I crafted the song to highlight the instruments, particularlythe guitar part.About halfway through the song a man comes jaunting down from the neighboring campground.“I just had to come over and tell you how beautiful your music ….” he started to say, but then looked tohis left, “Barrett! How are you?” At that point the jaws of the Connecticut contingency dropped open.The man turned out to be Ted Oxborrow and he recognized Barrett and Buster from having already metthem. Ted was at the campground supporting Brian Starks, who was attempting to set a record byhiking/running the Nevada section of the ADT in ten days. He was using his record attempt for drawingattention to Nevada parks; Cave Lake had set up a press conference for him at the campground earlier inthe day.Ted was high energy and effusive with praise for us ADT sojourners. He reminded me of WarrenDoyle's father, who often greeted his son's hiking companions with “Geez, you kids are great! You're the backbone of America!” Ted singled out Ky for her good work as a fellow support person, all the moreimpressive compared to Ted's ten days of providing support. Ted is relatively new as a Trail Coordinator.Here's hoping he can maintain that enthusiasm over the course of time.Brian Starks previously had hiked/ran the entire ADT in record time. This meant that together inone campsite we had four ADT travelers and three ADT support persons (including Ted's son Trevor). To put this in perspective, Brian informed us of attempts that had been made to hold ADT reunions in the past and they never got more than two travelers total. Such an occasion might have called for staying uplong into the night, swapping stories around the campfire. However, Brian needed an early start for another fifty mile day, limiting the time all four of us spent together.

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