The Forest Ranger and Me

10 Apr

Day 21 (4/10) – 9.1 miles
Day 22 (4/11) – 4.7 miles [hailstorm scare laid us up]
Day 23 (4/12) – 12.6 miles
Day 24 (4/13) – 22.8 miles
Day 25 (4/14) – 15.6 miles
Day 26 (4/15) – 13.1 miles
Total AT mileage to date – 273.9 miles

Say you are an overeducated lawyer wannabe (named Lucie) who’s never camped a day in her life – who suddenly heads out to hike the AT. What do you do?

Find an ex-forest ranger and hike with him!

A week or ten days ago, I was telling my Aunt Leslie about my friends on the Trail: Walker the retired Navy pilot, Postman the 26-year-old NYC investment banker, Bojangles the ex-forest ranger with the forestry degree, Puffy who dreams of being an organic farmer, and so on. “Oooooh,” says Aunt Leslie, “so which one do you like? The investment banker??”

Aunt Leslie,” I responded incredulously, “do you think I’m managing portfolios out here?!” “Or am I hiking through and living in a damn forest?! Of course I’m postage stamping myself to the forest ranger!”

And so Bojangles and I are hiking buddies. Quite the pair. We hike one in front of the other. Our sleeping bags lay side by side at night. We use my long-handled titanium spoon and lightning fast JetBoil stove. We use his water filter and “road kill seasoning.” He handles bears. I do snakes. He fixes anything that breaks. I’m in charge of navigation. In the woods, he’s in his element, picking fiddlehead to add to supper. In town, it’s all me – hitch hiking is my job.





It’s nice having my own personal forester. “Hey Bo, what kind of tree is that?”


Or: “Bo! What is that noise?”

“Ruffled grouse.”

And so on.

For my own sake, I make myself useful. “You know another reason I like hiking with you?” Bo asked me the other day. “Because I don’t have to talk to anyone. You get all the information, and all I have to do is wave.”

So together we completed our 70+ mile traverse of the Smokies – the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Known as one of the most remote and difficult sections of the AT, it has claimed many thru-hikers’ dreams with its impossibly steep ascents, knife-edge ridge walks, and knee-jarring downhills. It. Was. Hard.

Oh yeah, but Tennessee, baby!





5 Responses to “The Forest Ranger and Me”

  1. vp April 15, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

    This is one of your best posts ever. Ld

  2. Anonymous April 15, 2013 at 10:41 pm #

    Libbey , LIbbey, Libbey, …oh I mean Oxy. You are amazing me!!! Did not think you would last this long, but you go girl!!! We miss you!! See ya in Harpers Ferry!!!!

    • Lucie April 16, 2013 at 6:45 am #

      Awww, I’m doing a little bit of amazing myself!! But I miss y’all, too! Tell Keller to have a truckload of cupcakes ready for me at Harpers Ferry!!!


  3. emma April 19, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

    Found your blog on a whim while searching through AT hike posts – living the dream through others living their dream. Enjoy the company of your forester friend (we’re a unique breed), and enjoy the hike!

    • Lucie April 19, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

      Awww, thanks, Emma! It is quite the adventure, and believe me – I sure appreciate how handy you foresters are!


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