June 28, 2016
“We brought those avocados,” Holly says, as she drives to the Red Lion for a reunion lunch in Pine Grove, PA. “It only took nine years to deliver!” We all laugh.
In 2007, when John and I were doing our thruhike of the Appalachian Trail, my friend, Diane, from Atlanta, had said, “When you get to Bethel, PA, call my step mom, Holly. She wants to meet you!”
I called her from Port Clinton, two days north of PA 501, the road to Bethel. Well, the next morning, a few miles out from Port Clinton, we found out that the next few water sources were dry, leaving us an 18-mile waterless stretch. We weren’t prepared for that!
“What if we call Holly to meet us TODAY, and ask her to bring water?” I wondered. I called her.
“I’m at school, and usually I don’t take calls while I’m working, but my principal is standing here saying, ‘Take the call! It’s from the AT!!’ so I answered,” she said.
Five hours later, she and Diane’s dad, Chris, plus their three year old son, were there at Rt 183, arms loaded with bottles of water – and huge salads! “We couldn’t find the avocados you requested, but maybe these salads will work.” Sure did! We visited for a while, then said goodbye to our new friends and generous Trail Angels.
We only walked another hundred yards or so before camping for the night. Those salads were too big to pack out. And oh so perfect, even without avocados!
Nine years later, we’re approaching Rt 501 again. I contact Diane again for Holly’s number. Yes. They’d like to meet us. We arranged for a pickup at the Rt 501 trailhead. And they brought avocados!
Over broasted chicken, mini pizzas, and a cheeseburger, Holly, Chris, and two grandkids reminisced, filled in stories from the interim nine years, and renewed friendship. With warm hearts and gratitude, we resumed our walk north, happy to have met local friends on our way.
These are a couple of golden avocados too!
Jumping for Joy at the Red Lion