Talked to Jeff yesterday and today…he was in Gatlinburg, TN washing clothes…said even he couldn’t stand himself any longer!! Spent most of Monday with laundry, checking e-mail and responding and making arrangements for the next part of the hike. His next stop in the next several days when I will be able to be in touch with him is Hot Springs, NC. He’s going to be able to meet a cancer patient there and is really looking forward to meeting her.  Today is Jeff’s 58th birthday. I think it’s fitting that he’s out on the trail experiencing the ups and downs of his journey on his birthday much like most of the kids he’s hiking for celebrate their birthdays in the midst of the ups and downs of their journeys. I know that we celebrated every birthday the year Rebecca was diagnosed in her hospital room. I have memories of yellow cake with chocolate icing for 4 different birthday parties…all at UNC Children’s Hospital. Those children have a remarkable ability to make lemonade out of lemons…most of us would be whining about having to be in the hospital on our birthdays. Those kids celebrate the joy of being alive and having another birthday, no matter where they were experiencing it. Maybe we need to look at life a bit more simplistically and celebrate the privilege of life…

Enough soap box! Here’s what Jeff had to say:

3/27/11:  1/2 way thru the smokies. snow in the forecast at higher elevations for tues, wed, thur. only minor foot and knee issues. HAD to stop in gatlinburg to do laundry; even i couldn’t stand it any longer. unbelievable scenery. wish you were here. pray for the kids i’m hiking for and their families. 

think of your worst day or hardest day… at home, at the office… the dog got loose, the dishwasher broke, the pipe you thought you’d fixed, isn’t or perhaps a co-worker did something quality stupid, your computer crashed, a vendor messed up your account or someone close to you at home or work left their brain and heart disengaged before they spoke. these and more could describe a really bad or hard day. i’ve had several on the hike so far. rain, snow,steep climbs that know no end, poor visibility and/ or footing or all the above. yep, plenty of  tough days to go all around. during one of my pity parties on one of those hard days it occured to me: compared to the kind of days those folks i’m hiking for have- and  have often- whatever i have as a tough day is really only a stroll through the woods for me. and for you as well if you’re honest.  – steadfast aka little steps (1/2 way thru the smokies)


About jeffsimpsonhiker

Through-hiking the Appalachian Trail to raise money for Leukemia-Lymphoma Society, St Baldrick's and Make-A-Wish Foundation.
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