I have an outsized place in my heart for friends. I think it comes from my childhood growing up in a military family. We moved so often and I was plopped down in a new town every few years and had to make friends on fly. These connections grounded me in a way that I needed so badly and to this day they are some of the most important relationships in my life.
A few years ago, Bryan and I went on our first vacation to Guana Island in the British Virgin Islands. It is an amazing place but what is really special for us are the four dear couples we met there and who accepted us into their circle. They have been going there for many years and they shared the island with us so graciously. Pam and JP, Susan and John, Sue and Collin and Polly and Fred Beste. We had a beautiful dinner together on the Camanoe Terrace the second night we were on the island and have been great friends ever since. They are all so kind, open, warm and intelligent. Their conversations are funny and interesting and we get to spend a blissful week with these sweet souls every year. Sadly, Polly lost her dear Fred a year and a half ago.
Polly lives near the AT and met us with McMuffin sandwiches and coffee for everyone. She also made us homemade cookies and hung out with us for an hour while we enjoyed our treats. It was great to see Polly and talking with her transported me back to the Guana Island bliss that I carried with me for the rest of the day. Dear friends are so important and it was so wonderful for her to take the time to help us so generously.
Before I started the Trail, I made a list of the things that I wanted most from this adventure. At the top was the chance to make new friends. Our crew that has formed over the last few weeks as more than fulfilled that goal. They are a blast to hang out with and great hiking partners. We spend our days hiking fast and our evenings playing fun word games and puzzles. It’s exactly what I was looking for and I’m so thankful for their friendship.
We are taking a zero day today in Delaware Water Gap. It feels great to sleep in and give our feet a rest. I will head out into New Jersey tomorrow with a new pair of shoes and a full food bag. We are happy to be done with the rocks in Pennsylvania and celebrated with apple pie and ice cream.