Thursday, August 28, 2008

"The Journey Is The Destination"

I Hope to Make John Muir Proud.

"The Journey Is The Destination"

Greetings Friends, Family, Colleagues and Others:

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 been trying for a while to decide on what to use for a “Trail Name”. In church on Sunday our Pastor dedicated the school children’s Book Bags and of course my Pack. She also spoke about Journeys, and "Kingdom, Power, and Glory” and how it was all God’s Kingdom, and His Power, and all for His Glory. The Scripture was Psalms 121. Our Pastor also gave me a copy printed out of this verse for me to take with me from the Church Family. During the sermon the word "Sojourn" came up and I think I will adopt it for now as my Trail Name – “Sojourner”. However, if rain from more tropical storms like "Fay", "Gustav", and "Hanna" continue to bring their moisture to the Blue Ridge, I may have to adopt the trail name of “Rain Dance”. Two weeks ago, while on the Parkway, I noticed that the Parkway was extremely dry due to the drought. I was a bit concerned that there would be little water available for me at higher elevations. It looks as if my prayers regarding this have been answered.

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

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