Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Loner, not alone, in Maine

So here's the scoop:  I just got a phone call from Jeff as he rode a shuttle bus to the airport in Portland, Maine.  No, he's not getting off the AT, he's riding back with Jeanine, who flew into Maine to hike with him last week.  He rode the shuttle from Rangeley to meet her and then they both rode the shuttle back to Monsoon. 
Their initial idea was to hike towards Katadhin so she could hike that part of the trail with him, but they didn't think they'd have enough time so they hiked back to Caratunk.
Loner said she was a great hiker at 10 miles a day and got her first blister on the last day of her time in Maine.  Boy, did Loner get spoiled along the way. Jeanine made the fire and cooked every night and then topped it off with dishes like pancakes and chocolate dipped pretzels.
So now you might need a little background story since some may wonder how all this came about since Loner never mentioned a girlfriend until maybe July.
I think it's an amazing story given that Loner was about to get off the trail two months ago in New York and now his journey has taken such an unexpected turn.
Loner had only known Jeanine from watching her You Tube videos on Corajeanine's Channel. 
They followed reach other's videos because they both have a passion for arrowhead hunting.
Loner had posted comments on her You Tube video blog  You Tube blog and she had commented on his videos on Carolina Arrowheads. Jeff recently admitted to me that he'd had an interest in her for about a year, but had never said anything, never wrote a private message or email to start a conversation. 
Jeanine and I talked on the phone or emailed almost everyday for about two weeks before she left for Maine.  She's such a delightful woman, full of energy and enthusiasm for life and told me she'd loved the outdoors all her life since hiking and exploring the mountains of her native Kentucky as young as four years old.
She started watching Loner videos, I'm thinking at the suggestion of one of the arrowhead collectors in Ohio, who are a real close group who get together often to go on hunts. Jeff's been communicating with the Ohio group for a couple of years now via the comment sections on their you tube channels and they are all very supportive of each other and learn form each other.
But for a while Jeanine she didn't even realize that Loner of the Appalachian Trail was also Jeff of Carolina Arrowheads.  Once she did, however, she started sending him private messages which led to phone calls in July and a short while ago, Jeff invited Jeanine to come join him on the trail.  Afterall, in the small and close community of arrowhead hunters, how many are women share the same passion which requires both patience and affiliation with the outdoors?
Three weeks ago they started making plans. This was quite a surprise to me, since Jeff is the last person I'd expect to meet someone via the computer, but once I started communicating and talking to Jeanine on the phone, I could see how it could happen.  She's such an open and down to earth person, full of ideas with the drive to put them into action and one who lives life to its fullest. As an example, this is the woman, with two children in college who does a cartwheel every time she finds an arrowhead! That's a joy in life not found in too many places these days.  Like Jeff she delights in the simple and natural things of life and they share many other things in common, interests, values and their philosophical viewpoints on life.
 Her enthusiasm is so contagious - I know she's had a powerful effect on Loner's journey and offered support, even before she went and hiked with him in person. 
The photo at the top of both of Loner and Jeanine was taken on top of Moxie Bald.  I thought the background was snow, but Jeanine told me it's some type of white moss or lichen.
They also hiked Pleasant Pond Mtn. and stopped in Caratunk yesterday. They were both sad when they boarded the shuttle today to take Jeanine back to the airport and then Loner back to Rangeley where he'll finish his hike through Maine and to Katadhin. 
It's probably going to be sketchy as far as receiving phone calls, emails or videos from now on.  And they may not get on until after he finishes his journey.  I'll try and let you know as I know. 

1 comment:

  1. Gail,

    Thanks for the update!

    It's great news to hear for both Jeff and Jeanine, finding kindred spirits is a blessing that cannot be measured. And I know this will help bolster Jeff for the last bit of trail he has to face.

    Paul T