New Website up and running!

Hello everyone!

I am pleased to announce that the new website is now up and running. Click on this link: www.thehike4hope.com.

All of the new updates as well as posts will be hosted on that website rather than this one. Thanks for following The Hike4Hope in our journey as we transition to the new site! Your feedback and comments are always much appreciated.

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new and improved is on the way!!

there is redesign and newness on the way- all intended to make folks even more aware of the non- profits, to be able to donate- with neat options!- and to make it easy for other folks and/or groups to raise funds and they get the credit !! plus, we’ll be able to post photos better- maybe even videos- so that the journey can be followed with your prayers. i am indebted to my wife, daughter vinson, and shea ( one of rebecca’s best friends)for their creativity and expertise. pls be patient while we work on this. (btw- over 40 children are diagnosed w/ cancer every day; 7 don’t survive; and childhood cancer kills more children than all other diseases combined. you CAN make a difference. we NEED to change these statistics. and we will. ty for you continued interest and support. jeff

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At last!! Pictures!

Well, after much fumbling around, we’ve finally figured out how to load pictures! You’d think two mid-fifties people who can handle life’s ups and downs, the physical and emotional stresses and strains of a 720 mile hike, the physical and emotional stresses and strains of 10 weeks by yourself without your partner, the loneliness and grief¬† and pain, all that kind of stuff could figure out HOW to manage and manipulate a “simple” blog!! It seems that these two mid-fifties people just aren’t up to the task! We’ve typed posts and lost them, thrown up our hands in disgust with the whole thing, tried to manipulate pictures and “images…”

Anyway, Jeff just spent the last hour typing his thoughts and I managed to lose them for him. So, we’ll post pictures so you can see some of the fauna along the way, some of the hikers he walked with, shelters, markers, streams, mountains, views, stiles, and paths. It’s an entirely different world from anything we know here.

Tinker Mountain US Geological Survey Marker

Rhododendron

Ladyslippers

Dogwood

Violets

Unique Shelter...It has sides to it!!

Near the halfway point!

Halfway There! I'm happier than I look!!

Rain!! - Early on in the trip

Beginning the uphill climb

Not my kind of bridge at all...you can see into the water!

Los Tres Amigos...scary, huh?!?

Beginning the hike with friends

This marker marks the beginning of the AT-the Southern Terminus

The view from Springer Mountain...on my way!

Another Plaque at the Southern Terminus of the AT

Ready to Go!!

Fron Springer Mountain

Capturing my thoughts

Little bit icy...

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The company we keep on the paths we walk…

(I have LOADS of pictures which I am working on getting onto the site. As soon as I do you will know! js)

My journey to date and the solitude it has provided me has provided ample opportunities for my Lord to speak to me…to show me things. As this journey is more about the folks that I hike for than me, I’ve been reluctant to share personal observations – at least up to now. If you’ll induldge me, this personal note not only applies to me but perhaps also to those family members of those I hike for…

Shadows, lot of shadows. The direction the trail takes you with all of its twists and turns and ups and downs. Add to that the angle of the sun and all of the different sizes and shapes of your surroundings.  There are lots of of shadows. One particular day, though, those factors combined in such a way that for the longest while, my own shadow preceded me as I walked on this particular trail section. It was in the early morning, I think Рnot a particularly important detail Рexcept whether morning or late afternoon РI remember noticing that my shadow was long as it forged ahead of me.

And that’s when it hit me: my past, especially the last few years and the still vivid memories of Rebecca’s illness and death, have been like that shadow. It preceded me most of the days to date and always seemed long. And dark. And generally foreboding and lacking details. It was just there, in front of me, setting the mood for the walk at that time. For me, and I think for most of us, even renewed and forgiven Christians, I let my past – those shadows – determine far more than deserved. Should I/we learn from my past? Oh, yes.

And on this day, I think I finally did. You see, as I was walking and noticing all of this and contemplating it, I noticed something even bigger. My shadow was not the biggest thing on the trail or even in the forest. As I gazed around me, I saw even the tallest trees and their shadows dwarfed by something bigger. No matter how I walked or which direction the trail turned or twisted making my shadow shorter or longer, it didn’t matter. My shadow – all of the shadows in the woods – were overwhelmed by something…

The sunlight. The obvious and simple truth and fact is that for all of the darkness that the shadows held that day in the forest – including mine – it paled in comparison to the amount of sunlight covering the forest. What was especially noteworthy to me and the point of this blog, is that the sunlight was all around my shadow and preceded it far up ahead on my path.

If I let my shadow – my past – with the sorrow, the deep sense of purposelessness and lieflessness, be what is my path each day, then gray will dictate each step. But, if I learn from my past and let those things mentioned heretofore not callous my heart and will, but make it tender and resolute instead, then perhaps change can let the sunlight be what dictates each step. My shadow could not and now I realize, cannot ever, exceed the sunlight that allows it to exist in the first place. Are there still shadows? Yes. and they are real and must be faced. But there is more sunlight.

The sunlight is, as some have said, a light unto my path. Better steps and brighter paths are – I hope and pray – ahead.

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aahhh, the blessing of level, smooth ground….for now

for those of you keeping up, i arrived safely to daleville, va. on 5/11 around 11a.m., accompanied by ‘mofo’, ‘ guiness’, and ‘pilgrim’ (hiking buddies i met ).considering the nature of the effort, the terrain, the various weather conditions encountered, and, of course, my age and physical condition, i am relatively unscathed. i do have a few things that are requiring some minor medical attention but they are more of a nuisance and discomfort than dibilatating. all of my infirmities are nothing compared to those issues that have beset the folks i hike for so i hesitate to even mention them.
i have used the last couple of weeks to “trail decompress” and deal w/ “trail withdrawal”. (still in process, much to my wife’s chagrin). as time goes on i will share some thoughts on the close of this phase- part I of III of Hike for Hope. in the meantime, check the blog out from time to time as i will post my experiences and thoughts once a month for the next few months. i hope they will be noteworthy and worth your time for reflection. i should also have some #’s as to what we’ve raised thus far. i have met w/ the n-p’s and we are evaluating and ‘tweaking’ so next year will be even better !!!
towards the end of this year i’ll begin to comment on my plans for next years’ 700 +- hike , how you can help and updates on donations.
finally, thank you for your prayers, support, interest, inspiration,and promotion of Hike for Hope. it is not, nor has it ever been, about me or even Rebecca. it is about those i hike for.
to that end i pray that God will bless my efforts- and yours- for His glory and for the benefit of those we hike and walk for. Ps 37:23

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note to folks that said they would send photos/ those interested in seeing them

1st if you would like to see some photos there will be some forthcoming as soon as i/ we get the technology figured out and people send them. 2nd if you took photos and said you would send them to me, PLEASE do so w/ your name,etc so i can give you credit for them. please send them to my email address, though and not the blog. jeffrey.j.simpson@gmail.com

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i’m back safely- quick update

safely home and need a couple of days to “trail decompress” or as one person noted, deal w/ ” trail withdrawal “… i’ll be posting a note i’ve prepared for those that are following me so hang in there w/ me. ty, jeff s

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