Tomorrow morning I will depart for the Northern end of the “Original Blue Ridge Parkway” at Jarman Gap on the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park to begin my “Hike of a Lifetime”. I took a 2 day rain delay while the remnants of Tropical Storm Fay refilled the springs and seeps of the high country for me so that I will have plenty of fresh water.
I have also been trying to decide how to dedicate this undertaking to a “Greater Cause”. I finally decided to dedicate it to raising awareness about Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child. After my Mother mentioned hearing of a runner wearing a Bumper Sticker for Operation Christmas Child running across the State of Minnesota to raise awareness, I decided to do something similar. I plan to carry on my Pack the Operation Christmas Child Bumper Sticker and during one of my resupply stops near Boone, NC. I plan to have some friends bring me a little red wagon and some of the OCC Shoe Boxes and we will do a Photo Shoot on the Parkway of the Thru Hiker (Me) wearing my Pack and Bumper Sticker, pulling a Little Red Wagon carrying Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes, wearing an OCC T-Shirt.
I will be thinking of all of you while I take this stroll down the Blue Ridge Parkway to visit places I always heard about but have never visited. I will reminisce about the past- both mine as a National Park Service Ranger, and of the “Boys of the Civilian Conservation Corps”, who 75 years ago, built this wonderful, scenic, most visited, and most treasured, National Parkway. As I get closer to NC, the experience should be more of a Homecoming – since I am very familiar with most of the Parkway in NC. If you can, come visit me. I shouldn’t be that hard to find. Milk and cookies are always nice as well as fresh fruit and ice. Please keep me in your Prayers for Strength, Health, and Safety. I have had the Bible Verse Psalms 121 claimed for me and I will cling to it. So long for now. Watch for the updates that will be forthcoming as I get underway.
“Sojourner” or “Rain Dance” Barlow