Wait, that's not quite right. Let me try that again.
For someone who is spending all of her time goofing off, seeing the country, and in general having a ball, Friday was a wee bit difficult. My sister Ivy was coming to visit on Friday night for our birthday, and so I had to hike 22 miles over challenging terrain (steep uphills and, even worse, steep downhills), through inclement weather (heat, humidity, a thunderstorm that broke literally right over my head, causing me to hunker down in the middle of the trail until it passed, and about 6 miles of hiking in the rain with wet boots), and try to get a ride to our campsite at 7 pm at night on a road where nobody wanted to stop and pick up a sopping wet and smelly hitchhiker. My feet hurt, my cell phone wasn't getting service so I couldn't call a shuttle, and I was completely exhausted.
On this blog I keep posting about trail magic; about getting soda and beer unexpectedly, and how wonderful it is. However, the real trail magic happens when I really need something, like being picked up after hiking for two miles along a dangerous road as dusk approaches, and being driven directly to my campsite, which was 15 miles away. Derrigo and Python- I can't say thank you enough for helping me out. The relief I felt at having a long day behind me and being in a safe location is indescribable, except to say that once I had showered, done laundry, eaten, and finally climbed into my tent, I started crying when I realized that if it weren't for you both, I wouldn't be snuggled into my sleeping bag, waiting (im)patiently for my sister to hurry up and arrive.
Ivy ended up getting to our campsite the following morning, and we spent our birthday seeing the area, eating fried food, and doing trail magic. We bought some watermellon, cookies, and beer, and set up near the Blue Ridge Parkway, where the trail crosses Route 43. As we unloaded the trunk, I said "I hope the hikers that come through are people I know" and sure enough, not three minutes later, my friends walked out of the woods and got some beer. It was magical.
Another magical thing was hearing Ivy introduce herself to my friends. When she was serving in Peace Corps in South Africa, Ivy went by the South African name Mpho. I was given the name Mphonyana (meaning little Mpho) when I went to visit her, a name which at best was annoying (as I'm the older sister), and at worst linked us together in that supid twin way that some people find endearing but that I find repulsive. Ivy, however, loved it (mostly because of my reaction to the name). Since she came to visit me on the trail, I decided that she needed to use a trail name bestowed on her by Who Knows, weeks earlier: SisterPants. It's a terrible name, I know, and one that I would hate if I were given it. So, perfect. :)
Happy Birthday, SisterPants. I miss you and wish you were still here with me.