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Ziggy Tails: Paws on the Appalachian Trail S1 E9


Road trip! Wednesday, May 26, we packed up and headed South. We generally do not travel on holiday weekends. We live at a vaca-destination so why fight traffic and crowds on those busy times. But we have been itching to visit a hiking buddy of ours we meet on my 2015 AT thru-hike and his girlfriend. The only weekend we had free was this weekend which is Memorial weekend. We cheated a little and left ahead of the majority of travelers and are returning today instead of Monday.


Our destination was Front Royal, Virginia where Wye Knot has a cabin in the woods close to hiking. It’s a long drive from Lowell, Maine to Front Royal. We weren’t sure how Prince Ziggy would handle it. He did great when we picked him up at eight weeks old and drove home from Missouri. But then, he was timid and not sure what was going on. Now, he is older and has his own strong-willed personality. You can see by the picture above that he was quite content. He even earned the privilege of roaming free in the back.

It was a quick visit With Stephen “Wye Knot” and Lorie but we packed in as much fun and relaxation as we could while still entertaining a seventeen week old puppy.


Upon arrival Thursday late afternoon, we had our pleasantries with Wye Knot, Lorie wouldn’t arrive until Friday. I then leashed up Ziggy and took to the trail, and not just any trail, the Appalachian Trail. His property abuts ATC land and is a mere 100 yards from the AT, my home away from home. Within in minutes, Ziggy had is paws for the very first time on the Appalachian Trail. I was so stoked!

He was such a good boy. I thought for sure he would be crazy dog after being cooped up in a car for 24hrs with minimal potty breaks.


He sure is turning into on incredible pup. It is taking lots of work, but the frustrating moments are happening farther and farther apart.


After my family, the AT really is my happy place. I love all outdoor time but my favorite is when I am surrounded by those 2” x 6” white blazes and all they represent.

The next afternoon Bruce joined us for a morning hike. The three of us repeated our earlier hike which took us approximately a mile and a half to where the road and AT intersect. There we found hikers waiting to hitch a ride to town for resupply, rest, and a host of other hiker needs. While we were there chatting a young man stopped and offered a hiker a ride to town. We chatted before he took off and he informed us he’d be back about lunch time with trail magic.


We all dispersed our own way. Back at the cabin Bruce and Wye Knot puttered around doing stuff and I cooked breakfast while Ziggy slept in is crate. Time flew and it was tome to walk Ziggy again. Back to the road we went to check out the trail magic and to meet any hikers.


The trail angel was there as promised, surrounded by grateful hikers. He offered us each a cold one and Bruce enthusiastically accepted one while trading sodas he packed out to share with hikers. It was so much fun to be around the hiking community. We learned the trail angel’s name, Whitney, his history, story, and about his upcoming AT hike, as well as his place of employment, a local brewery.


We also met hikers from Maine, what a small world, and another hiker, Spice, who recognized me from the documentary Walking Home.


Again, we went our own ways, hikers headed to town, we headed back to the cabin, and Whitney stayed to bless more hikers.


Before we knew it, Saturday afternoon had come and gone. Lorie had joined us the night before and took to the trails for a wet hike to wear Ziggy out and do more training with him on the AT. This time we went in the other direction. Ziggy was awesome. He did so well, we even let him off leash where at only 17 weeks old was 100 percent on voice command. Wow! The only time he was slightly obnoxious was when we met a group of four hikers, Pilsner, Agent, and two others who insisted I unleash him so they could play with him. I had just tethered him before that so he wouldn’t jump on them in excitement.



It was a fabulous visit so far, finally getting back to see Wye Knot and Lorie, putting paws on the Appalachian Trail, and meeting awesome hikers, but the best was yet to come.


After our wet hike, we cleaned up and headed to the pub for dinner where Whitney was bartending. We wanted to see him again and introduce Wye Knot to him.


Every author’s dream is to have a best seller. Obviously that isn’t happening with my books. But I have discovered something more valuable than fame or fortune as a famous writer. I may not be on the NY Best Seller or Amazon list but my riches come from another place.


When I did my first public signing I gave a book away to a newly graduated teacher. Ever since then, once a month I have given at least one book away. I chose last night to give Whitney a copy of my Happy Hiking. After we ordered our meals, we went to the bar to see our new friend. After introductions with him and Wye Knot, I handed him my book as a gift. No fame, fortune, or riches can replace the joy that comes from seeing someone’s eyes lighting up when you do something unexpected for them. Joy truly is in the giving. With that said, there was much joy in the complimentary brews giving to us in return.


We are headed back to Maine now. Prince Ziggy is once again a wonderful travel companion as he rests in the back. It will be another long day behind the windshield and back to our home routine tomorrow.


My next post will be Season 1’s finale. I will be taking a break from posting until August. We have our son’s July wedding to focus on.


Happy Hiking,


Emily and Ziggy