Day 20 – Back at It
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle. — Ian MacLaren
We knew we had a long day of walking and were unsure of the terrain, so we got off to an early start. In the morning, we were passed by a funeral procession. We stopped walking while it passed. We figured if that’s the proper thing to do while driving, it probably applied to walking. Hopefully the people in the procession understood we were trying to be respectful and weren’t just looking out of curiosity.
For much of our walk, we were accompanied by the Juniata River. The Juniata not only made for a pleasant companion, but it also sliced right through two mountain passes, making our day of walking much easier.
Somewhere between Everett and Bedford, we stopped to restock on food and a few other supplies. While shopping, we met Nick. Quite the adventurer himself, Nick has hiked to Machu Picchu, the Appalachian Trail, and also a national trail in New Zealand. Regarding the New Zealand hike, he said it was miserable. However, when John-Michael inquired if it was worth it, he replied, “Hell yes.”
Later in the day, a van pulled up to check on us. Christine and Matthew were inside and wanted to be sure we were okay and had everything we needed. Christine has had some experience walking the local roadsides. At times she has had to navigate them on foot while guiding her husband, who is blind. Hearing that is humbling. She let us know that there are some homeless people in the region that walk from town to town. Also, many cyclists frequent the roads. She always likes to check on all of them and help when she can. And she reminds herself of the homeless when she thinks things are getting overwhelming for her. Hearing that is even more humbling. The next time we’re facing a challenging day of walking, we’ll be sure to think of Christine and the challenges she’s faced. We assured her that we had plenty of supplies, and after getting some good tips about what was up the road, we continued walking.
We arrived at our campsite, warmed up some food by the fire, and settled in for another cold night.