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Thank You House Sitters

Several weeks ago I was texting my long time friend, Sharon who lives in North Carolina. We were catching up and inquiring about the latest happenings in our lives and upcoming fun stuff. She informed me a trip to New Zealand was in here near future. Me, without a second thought, asked her if she wanted a house and pet sitter. I was ready to escape the grey, dull, and damp Maine winter. And just like that plans were made to travel south.

I Arranged our own pet and house sitters, then before we knew it, February 23 rolled around and Bruce and I were loaded for another road trip. We left after work - his work. My unpaid job never ceases. Our first stop was just down the road a piece to say good-bye to his parents and have supper. We woofed down our Pat's Pizzas and headed out. We drove to western Massachusetts and called it quits about 10:00pm. A service plaza parking lot was our home for the night as it was for several other tired travelers. We snuggled under our warmest camping bags in the back of the truck as the night time temps dipped to 22 degrees.

A 4:15am start combined with good weather and little traffic had us to our next stop, Front Royal, Virginia earlier than planned. We stopped at our friend Wye Knot's cabin. Yes, that's his name - his trail name anyway. His real name is Stephen, but we always call each other by our trail names. We may leave the trail but the trail never leaves us. We had a delightful visit with him and his girl friend, Lori. It is always a pleasure to see far away friends. We love our trips south; not just because we escape winter's grip but because we have so many wonderful friends we get to see along our journey.

Shortly after our arrival to Front Royal, it began to snow, sleet, and hail.

We chuckled. We had great weather up north for our travels, then when we arrived in the south, we had winter weather. So much for a leisure walk on the Appalachian Trail. Wye Knot's property abuts the A.T. and is only about 100 yards from his yard. Instead, we sat in his cozy cabin heated by the cutest homemade wood stove in the shape of the A.T. symbol. We snacked and caught up on the latest life events and tried to solve the world's problems. Special visitors wandered and flew in. Sure signs that spring is just around the corner.

After supper we were going to play games but we all decided we were too tired. It stinks to get old. I think we were in bed by 8:00pm or shortly there after.

The next morning we were back on the road, just not quite as early as the day before. Our final stop after eight hours would be Sharon's place. That was over a week ago. When we drove into her driveway and approached her front door, I said, "this feels like coming home." Sharon has been our friend for almost twenty years. Our children went to elementary school together. We have gone on adventures together. We have shared a bunch. It really did feel like being at home.

Now, her home is temporarily our home. She has taken off to see her son in New Zealand while Bruce and I are holding down her fort, while others are holding down our fort. You have to love reliable house and pet sitters. Sure, she could have done it without us, and we could have done without ours, but to have someone be at your place while you are gone is a feeling of security like no other.

Umbie, Ellie, and Addie taking in the sunny day. Max another cat, wasn't so eager to come outside.

Maine's long dark winters really put me in a funk. The first day here it was warm and sunny and so was the second day. I felt alive and rejuvenated. But it was cool, rainy, and grey for several days after that. At least it wasn't quite as cold as Maine. But despite that, I have been able to work on making some Vitamin D.

And Thanks to our house sitters, Bruce and I have been able to relax knowing things are cared for back in Maine while we get a little R&R after hours here in the mountains. He still has to work and I have been busy working with my editor on my next release - Happy Hiking Take 2: on the Appalachian Trail with Shortcake.

On Sunday we went for a seven mile hike on the Appalachian Trail. I was exhausted afterwards. I was very proud of my accomplishments though. It took four hours. That included all my stops also. I haven't done a real hike since last October and am so out of shape. You know, the weight issue I struggle with. We hiked north on the A.T. out of Sam's Gap. The trail was smooth with so few rocks or roots I barely noticed the few that were there. But, there were a few intense, very steep sections that had me gasping for breath. But that was okay. I would just stop, catch my breath, then carry on.

Last night we went back to the same spot but only hiked two miles in to a meadow with benches. It began to sprinkle just before arriving and as we sat eating our picnic supper we watched as Mother Nature painted a rainbow right before our eyes.

Thank you again to our house sitters, Stephen, Mom, Dad, John, and George. Because of you, we are able to experience this.

I love Maine, even with her long cold winters, but I find as I am getting older the idea of being a snowbird for a short time during those frosty months helps to refresh my mind, body, and soul. What do you do to make it through the cold climates of winter? Send me a comment (pictures are always welcome) and maybe I will share your reply in a future post.

Happy Hiking,



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