Day 83, 84, 85, and 86 (7/2/19 R, 7/3/19, 7/4/19 R, and 7/5/19 R)
Miles – 0
Total miles – 1129.9
My night in the hospital was not bad and I was feeling pretty good come morning. Very little pain but hospitals are great at controlling pain. We will see what it is like after I am released. I talked with the doctor about what to expect and he signed my release. I called the rest of the family to come get me 8:50. I was informed that I had to wait ten minutes until they finished watching Dr. Jeff. Rocky Mountian Vet in the hotel room! A short time later the crew arrived to pick me up and we walked back to the hotel, which is right around the corner from the hospital. I got into a bed a stayed there all day. As the day went on, my abdomen started to hurt but as long as did not move too much I could tolerate it. I had to move very slowly getting up and down. Walking about was not too bad. The nearest food is a good 20 minutes walk away. Mama Raven, Whisper, and Bling made the walk a little before lunch. Come dinner we ordered Panera.
We have been trying to figure out what we will do next. The two main options are to stay where we are for three to four days or go to New York for some time off. We’re not going to make that decision today.
We still are uncertain of exactly when and how we will get back on trail. It is sort of a wait and see situation. However we have decided to take a Pennsylvania vacation for a few days. Today was another lazy day of resting in the hotel room. Tomorrow we will do the same except for Whisper’s horse riding. Thanks to a blog follower named Canada Goose, who sent us a listing of possible horse riding locations near the AT, we found one near Carlisle. Best part of all is they are pretty inexpensive for such an activity compared to most other places. So if you read this Canada Goose, thanks for your help! We will be renting a car for transportation. Because we are AT thru hikers, we will receive a discount on the rental. Luckily the hotel room is not too expensive. Some how, all this will all work out. As much as Whisper is excited about tomorrow’s horse riding, she is going to burst with joy because, on Friday, we are going to attend the 156th Gettysburg Anniversary Civil War Battle Reenactments. After seeing an advertisement on the hotel TV for the event for this weekend, we looked into purchasing tickets. The timing of the event is too perfect to pass up. That will be day four after surgery for Papa Raven. His doctor said it will be good for him to be walking a good bit by then. All the Ravens are looking forward to going to Gettysburg!
Most of the time when we take a zero day off the trail, we are busy doing chores. There are so many tasks to attend to it really is not a day off at all. To get a day off, we need two zeros: one for all the chores and the second for resting. But it is rare to do this. On the CDT, we did this several times as we waited out snow storms in Montana and once in New Mexico when Mama Raven had a toe infection. On the PCT, we took several days off for Bling’s broken femur. So I guess this is our AT down time.
It has been a while since we have thanked all those who take the time to read and write in to our blog. As we have said before, we read every comment with great joy. We are uncertain as the proper etiquette as a blogger. Are we suppose to respond back to every comment or not? If we are. I apologise for not doing so. When in town, it seems we barely have time to write the blog, edit photographs, and attach photographs. So one BIG THANK YOU to everyone will have to work!
There is one more thank you to shout out to Karin, Denise and Grammie Emily for taking the time to mail our re-supply boxes. It is a relentless job all summer long. Thanks once again for stepping up to do it. With each box we receive, we give a silent thank you.
BLOG CORRECTION – In our Harper’s Ferry post, we mentioned James Brown. This is wrong, it is suppose to be John Brown. So sorry for the confusion!
We had a quiet morning. Papa Ravens abdomen was feeling better. Not pain free, but better. Around 10:30 everyone loaded into the rental car and headed to Winsome Farm Ranch for Whisper’s trail ride, her belated birthday present. Whisper got to ride Amber, an Arabian horse mix. She really enjoyed the ride. At one point she got to trot. Since we are backpacking, she did not have long pants. During her trotting of Amber, she developed raw spots on one leg. She was ok with that, she was riding! While Whisper rode the trail, Mama and Papa Raven and Bling were given a tour of the fifty acre ranch. As we walked around their fields, we visited horses, goats, lamas, chickens, koi pond, chickens, dogs, and one cat. It started to rain just as we were leaving the ranch. Whisper helped to unsaddle the horses before they got too wet. Mid-afternoon a big thunderstorm rolled over and the rain came down hard. The amount of water coming down was impressive. After the rain let up, the kids went swimming in the hotel pool while Mama and Papa Raven made a run to Walmart. For Saturday and Sunday, we have arranged for two days of slack packing with a trail angel in Carlisle. Ideally we would like to get one more in. This would make a full week after surgery. Papa Raven’s doctor said he sees no problem with walking. It is lifting weight that causes a hernia, not having the weight on the back. Infact he feels the hip belt on the pack will be good for his three incisions because it will provide compression, which will help hold everything together. Although it probably will hurt a bit. This is all good news and gives us hope that this is all duable. However we do not want to get back on the trail too soon and cause any damage that would create further delays. We are moving forward but cautiously.
It’s Gettysburg day and Whisper was excited. She has been looking forward to this for days. It was an hour drive down to Gettysburg and we got there about 9:15. We stopped by the National Park museum visitor center, but we needed a reservation to see anything thus we left and drove over to the field where the reenactments would take place. The clouds were low and thick, yet it was hot and humid. Today’s reenactment was based on day one of the three day Gettysburg battle. Tomorrow’s would be based on day two and so on. Thus our first battle, which started at 11:00, was a cavalry battle. Before it began we took some time and walked through the living history area. There were two encampment areas set up at both ends of the battlefield. One side was Union and the other was Confederate. First we did the Confederate camp before finding a spot to watch the first military campaign involving horses. After watching two cavalry units fight for 20 minutes, we walked through the Union camp. The clouds broke up towards the end of the reenactment, and the temperature climbed. Being from California, we do not have to deal with humidity. As we watched the war scene, we noticed a lot of people people, both men and women, using hand fans, fanning their faces. We thought hand fans were a thing used long ago. A women next to us, said she could not survive a summer without her fan. Obviously we did not have fans, but we did have our brochures. After folding them up, we fanned away like most every one else. It really helped. People also had sun umbrellas, but only those in the back row were allowed to use them because they blocked the view for those sitting behind. It was getting hot and sticky. Next up was something Bling wanted to see, a live mortar demonstration. It was fun to watch the mortars shooting at targets 100 and 200 yards away. We all enjoyed that. The next two reenactments would not start for two hours thus we walked about a bit on the Union side, before attending a 1860’s fashion show, which was held underneath a large tent and protected from the sun. We got lucky and found seats towards the front. Next we listened to Union generals talk about what had happened on that first day of the battle of Gettysburg. Poor Bling was board silly as Whisper was thrilled by every little detail! Finally the last two battles of the day, Buford’s battle at Barlow’s Knoll. It was fun watching all the soldiers yelling and firing, men falling, horseman riding, drummers drumming, and cannons firing. Just as the actual day 156 years ago, the Union soldiers did not have a good first day. After the battles ended, we headed back to our room in Carlisle. Whisper wished we would come back for the other days reenactments,. Unfortunately for her, that will not happen. We will be moving from Carlisle to Duncannon tomorrow and doing a short slack pack. It is time to be moving on. Our plan is to slack pack for two or three days so Papa Raven will not have to carry any weight. Walking about Gettysburg did not bother Papa Raven’s abdomen. The only parts of the day that did, was sitting while driving.
On right is General Grants great-great-grandson