Resting in Troutdale

Sunday, April 28: Howling winds and heavy rain awoke me at dawn. Realizing that I was in a warm, clean, dry bunkhouse, and that I wasn’t going to hike today, I quickly decided to sleep for a little longer. My tired body thanked me. Then when I did get up, I walked to the shower facility, showered, and got ready for church. Since the rain was still steadily falling, I donned my rain gear for the walk of about 200 yards to the Troutdale Baptist Church.

Ken Riggins, the pastor, taught the Sunday School lesson from the book of Leviticus. He also correlated scripture from other books in the old and new testaments. Then at 11:00 Ken delivered an impassioned sermon centered around the book of 1 Peter. Molar Man and Diane sat on the pew with me and Titan also attended. At the conclusion of the service, Ken said a special prayer for me as well as for all the other hikers on the trail. My hike has truly been enriched by being able to hear Ken preach. It was also special meeting and talking with members of the small congregation.

After church Titan and I walked back to the bunkhouse. Ken had told us that he would drive up to take us back to his home for lunch in about half an hour. Rain still fell as we drove the quarter mile to the Riggens’ home where we were treated to a wonderful Sunday dinner. Mary had prepared baked spaghetti , chicken, baked sweet potatoes, green beans, and homemade biscuits. There was also a chocolate bread pudding for dessert. Great fellowship and conversation accompanied the meal and continued for an hour or so afterwards. The Riggins were especially interested in Don’s life and illness. We also discussed his strong faith while he was sick. Before leaving the Riggins’ home, I called Linda and my mom since there is no cell service in the area.

After Ken drove us back to the bunkhouse, he picked up two other hikers at Dickey Gap, Taz and Owl. A little later in the afternoon Sun Duk arrived on his bicycle. The native South Korean recently completed his Master’s degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is on the fifth day of a cross country bike ride by himself. After the ride he hopes to reside in California. Titan and I enjoyed comparing hiking logistics to cycling logistics with Sun.

I spent most of my afternoon relaxing. I took a long nap and journaled for awhile. Then after a light supper I worked on tomorrow’s plan before bed. Today has been another special one. I did no hiking yet every minute was well spent. Once again it’s the people along the way that make the journey so rewarding. From Titan to Ken and Mary to Sun Duk, I continue to be surrounded by good folks. Tomorrow there’s the certainty that I’ll meet other special people who will in some small way contribute to my northward journey on the Appalachian Trail.

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