20150719_07525720150719_08285620150719_13194920150719_13195420150720_065546It now was Tiger Bob’s turn to be motivated as he looked forward to being reunited with his wife in Dalton Mass. The trail has taken a flatter trajectory at lower elevation which means more wear, roots, and mud. TB bounded up the mountains without stopping until the last sharp climb. It was Sunday and well Sundays are getting tougher for me emotionally as time closes in on the one year anniversary to the death of my oldest son. I find myself often on the verge of tears and somewhat perplexed as I wonder if I am moving on or moving backwards. I am sure it is equally perplexing for those around me.

After getting into Dalton, I decided to camp at a man’s house who has offered his yard free of charge to thru hikers for 36 years. He had a five minute speech for me, particularly about keeping quiet so as not to disturb his neighbors. I asked him if he was getting burned out and he remarked that he has had problems only  in the past two years with hikers being loud, leaving trash, and disregarding his home. As I began to set up my tent the owner pulled his car into the driveway and out jumped Waiting. Hey Phantom, she exclaimed and Hey Waiting I called back to a chorus of “SHHHUUUUSH” from the owner. I just had to smile. After I got set up, I crawled in my tent as it began to thunder and rain again. This time I felt secure, somewhat content as I continued to reflect on the Sabbath and all that it now means to me. I reached out to several friends and family to soulfully sound out my thoughts and get some much needed support.

Today I packed up my wet gear, headed to the motel in town and am zeroing for the 1st time since getting back on the trail. I took one voluntary zero in the first half to go to trail days and now I am using a second to wait for Tiger Bob as he met with the organization, Mercy Flights, for whom he has raised thousands of dollars. Bee Stinger met up with us again so we are sharing a room. He is good company but it sounds like he will slow down on his mileage when we leave in the morning. This has been a good day for me to resupply, regroup, and relax for an entire day. The hotel is reasonably priced and in relatively good shape. Also I met a section hiker from Colorado, eight years my senior who motivated me to pursue my dreams. It seems that when I first got on the trail I saw so many possibilities for my life but then as time has marched on, I have discarded dreams, gotten more realistic and narrowed my scope. I am going to keep the aperture open as possible and maybe someday Sunday will smile again.



  1. Hi Phantom, I’m glad to see you’re still marching north! It’s quite the coincidence that you’ve met up with Tiger Bob. When Justin and I were hiking with you for a few days in Virginia at the beginning of June, I think I told you the story of how I met a guy during our section hike in 2014 who was from the same small town in SC where I live. That was Tiger Bob. I read in our local paper that he was back on the trail to finish…such a small world that the two of you have been hiking together. It’s amazing how often things like that happen. Anyways, I hope the trail is continuing to help you heal and that you’re still enjoying the journey. I often think about you out there when I’m experiencing a moment of boredom at my desk (like now), and I can’t begin to tell you how envious I am that you have the opportunity to do this. Take care, and tell Tiger Bob I said hello from the Emerald City.
    – Brian/Mr. Clean


    1. Just, incredible. I told TBob. He recalled wanting badly a Snickers bar and sure enough you or Justin came up and gave him one. The uncluttered trail brings to light these coincidences and clearly show that God is working. I which I could say that my son’s death is clearly in that plan but I haven’t quite got a handle on that one yet. But I’m stepping out on faith, one step at a time.


    2. A friend of mine taped a presentation I did back in the Fall and recently edited it so I could post it on Youtube.com. After going to the website, just search for Andy Davidson thru hiking thru life and you should get the 3 parts. The total presentation lasts about an hour. Hopefully it will make you laugh and think. Since I last wrote, I have to say I really miss the trail and miss conversing with y’all even more. I’ve been working on another project which I hope to announce in the near future. Until then I have dreams of jumping in the truck with Lor and Belle (our Springer Spaniel) and back packing out West this summer. (Just don’t tell my employer).

      Take care, “Phantom”

      I can’t thank you enough for all the support. Feel free to spread the workd and I apologize to some of you who may be getting this notice as a repeat.


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