Appalachian Trail -

Starting & Stopping

Tough day.

Today started off well, we dropped Dion off at Baltimore National Pike early and parked the car back at the Old South Mountain Inn. We didn’t have far to go and it was another beautiful day. We all carry walkie talkies with us so we know when we’re getting close for lunch or close to the car marking the end of our day. I had been calling Dion on the walkie for a while but he wasn’t responding, nor was he at the parking lot when we got there. This could only mean something was wrong. Dion hikes twice as fast as we do and is never late. My heart sank a bit knowing I had the ipad with the internet and Dion only had the iPod touch which has no internet, we don’t have cell phones.

As soon as I sat down to wait, I got an email from Dion, “The car won’t start. I jumped it but its still dead, it must be the starter. Please contact me when you can, thank god for the neighbors unlocked internet!” GREAT! Just what we needed! I knew I had to figure out how to get back into Boonsboro and to an auto shop as soon as possible because it was getting late. Christian and I hitched into town and were dropped off at Napa on Main Street, the only one in town. I realized my wallet was in the car and I was a good hour walk straight up Main Street to get to the car, but I decided to go into the store and see what I could do. I explained to the men in the store that I was a thru hiker, the car won’t start and I didn’t have my wallet. They looked up the part, saw they had it in stock and offered to take me back to the car to meet up with Dion and make sure it wasn’t the battery. One of the guys drove us back and checked it out, assuring us that it was the starter and that they might be able to help us get it in back at the shop. With that he got into his car and left. That was all good and well but how we’re we suppose to get the car back there? When he left, I fell apart. I sat on the ground and cried, I was out of luck and any good ideas on how to get myself out of this one. I looked at the trail that I so happily hiked with my son and my heart dropped, thinking to myself that maybe this wasn’t meant to be and that maybe we couldn’t make it. Just at that moment, when I was about to say to hell with it all, set the car ablaze and head back home, our trail angel came. This man came out of literally nowhere, there wasn’t another car in site. He walked up to us and asked if we were having car trouble which was pretty obvious by the propped hood. We explained to him what was going on, he asked for a wrench and slid under the car. Not even one minute later this amazing man had jumped the starter and got our car on and running. I was so happy I began to cry again, this time it was as I hugged this stranger who just saved my trail life. He was a little put off by this emotional woman sobbing on him, but he didn’t know the week we’ve had and how this helped us out! He drew a diagram for Dion in case he had to jump it again and was on his way back wherever he came from. We got the car down to napa just before the store closed to buy the part but they told me that it was too late for them to help us install it because they had to close up shop. We didn’t have the tools to put it in ourselves but I wasn’t going to beg these men who had already helped us out. As we turned to leave with the starter one the men from the back said that he lived around the corner and he wouldn’t mind putting it in for us. Thank you for the good men of Boonsboro MD. This man was older and carried an oxygen tank on his back but he had a whole garage full of tools and many years of experience. Within half an hour the car was fixed and we were thanking him endlessly. This was not the way I expected the day to go but I’m glad it’s with a happy ending and a running car. We drove the car to Wolfsville Road, MD and slept like babies in the jeep.