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CC’s Outdoor Journal; Beeman and Momo
GRAFTON NOTCH- Driving to Newry the other day to meet with the subject of an upcoming story, I noticed I had a little time before I had to be there and pulled off at Newry corner. As I sat in my truck going through some notes I happened to look up and there were two hikers on the side of the road.
Remembering what it was like to have hiked only two days in Grafton and needing a ride out on the third day with aching knees, I put down my notes, cleared my seats and pulled up to the adventurers.
SCORE! I was so excited to be connecting with a couple of thru hikers and to get their story. It’s so interesting to hear all about their adventures and what brought them to the Appalachian Trail. Finding out where they come from and how long they’ve been on the trail is almost always the conversation starter, plus, I like to know what their trail names are.
They were ever so grateful to be getting a ride back into Grafton Notch where they had left off the previous day to go to Bethel for supplies and some homestyle comfort before continuing on their journey.
Linda “Momo” Gundal was a native of Massachusetts, but now lives in Germany, and Quentin “Beeman” Henderson, was a native of Britain, but has lived on the island of Nevis in the west Indies for the past 25 years.
It turns out that they started separately in Georgia, walked to around Virginia and North Carolina, a little shy of the halfway point in Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Pennsylvania, and then came north to summit Katahdin and see how far south they could get before their deadlines to be off the trail.
Momo, named after the German fantasy novel written by Michael Ende, in which a child brings back stolen time from time thieves, similar to the author’s American favorite, The Neverending Story.
“It’s just such a great story,” noted Momo.
After giving me a brief summary of the book, Momo stated, “Can you imagine having a time savings bank and being able to get it back with interest?”
Momo was giving herself until the beginning of November to get as far as she could. She stated that she was a software engineer in Germany, gotten bored with her job and decided to go for a walk.
“I read that the Brazilian natives who live in the Amazon rainforest believe that in order for their souls to catch up, they must stop periodically. I think it’s a great idea that you do or go as far as you can and allow your soul to always catch up.”
As for Beeman, it turns out that he is walking to fundraise for the Nevis Heritage Center.
In his native British accent, he stated, “We have a rich heritage, in fact, someone you look at everyday, your own Alexander Hamilton was born on the island of Nevis. We hope to preserve the history that’s there.”
Beeman is a keeper of bees, as his name suggests, but you will have to look him up by visiting www.beeman-walks.org to get the full feel of his passion for bees.
Beeman has been around the world twice by walking and hitching rides and is an avid hiker. He noted that he just thought hiking the AT would be a good experience.
He is only in the United States by virtue of his visitor visa and will have to leave in the next couple weeks. “I will get as far as I can. That’s all I can do.”
As the two gathered their belongings out of my truck, I grabbed a quick photo of them before their purist personalities headed out across the road to walk the path back into the parking lot and head up the trail toward Old Speck’s 4,170 peak, where they planned to find a place to slumber for the night.
Driving out of the parking lot, I was reminded of the Dr. Seuss book, Oh the Places You’ll Go: Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away! You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
That’s how it begins, but the ending is even more inspirational as it states, “And never mix up your right foot with your left. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed). Kid, you’ll move mountains!”
I love it! May you move mountains with whichever direction you choose.
If you have an outdoor adventure you would like to tell me about for possible print in CC’s Outdoor Journal, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.