The epic journey of a sibling pair as they trek 2,181 miles from Georgia to Maine on the Appalachia Trail.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wallace of Sterling Inn

Tuesday morning Hansel and Gretel found themselves in search of another shuttle.  They identified the Sterling Inn as a good place to stay so they called and rather confused sounding girl picked up the phone.  Gretel told the girl they would be coming out of the woods at Logging Road right before the Kennebec River.  The girl on the line had never hear of Logging Road and started saying things that didn’t really make any sense to Gretel, “Well, I’ll leave Wallace a note, but the owner would really know.”  Who is Wallace?  Where was the owner?  Gretel was confused about the whole thing. 

Well Wallace called back a little while later.  Apparently Wallace does a lot of shuttling back and forth to the inn.  He is actually the inn keeper’s husband, but the inn keeper is a nurse and lives about 60 miles south during the week.  She is only at the inn on weekends.  Wallace spends his week living with his dog in some kind of a camp.   

So Wallace said he would come and pick up Hansel and Gretel.  He really wasn’t sure if where Logging Road was, but he promised Gretel he would be there. 

“We’ll probably get there around 7,” Gretel told him. 

“Well,” Wallace responded, “I’ll be there by 5 o’clock.  I’m retired and I’ll be there.”  And he hung up the phone before Gretel could say anything else. 

Now usually Wallace takes a nap in the afternoon, but he was so worried that he wouldn’t be able to find Logging Road that he couldn’t sleep.  So, he skipped his nap and packed a backpack incase Hansel and Gretel didn’t make it.  He wanted to be prepared if he was going to have to stay out there over night waiting for them.  He brought a change of clothes, some food and a stove just to be safe.  His wife was worried he wouldn’t be able to find Logging Road and might get lost.  “What if you don’t come back?”  She asked him.  “Well, if I’m gone for more than a month, you can call the authority,” Wallace assured her and he set off. 

Hansel and Gretel emerged from the woods much earlier than they had told Wallace.  At 5:30 they hit Logging Road, but don’t you worry.  Wallace had been there since 3:30 waiting for them!  He greeted them with a cooler filled with cold beer, water and soda (he wasn’t sure what Hansel and Gretel would want to drink).  On the ride home, Hansel and Gretel learned that Wallace was a retired railroad worker where he had been for 40 years.  Before that, he served in the Viet Nam war.  The drive to the inn took about an hour since Logging Road was on the other side of the Kennebec River and there are very few crossing points.  Wallace didn’t seem to mind one bit.  One thing about this lovely gentleman was very clear: he LOVED his life.  Wallace was just the happiest person Hansel and Gretel had come across this entire trail.  It just seemed as if everything he was doing and everything he had done was just the great thing ever!  Although his life might not sound so exciting to anyone else, for Wallace, his life was a dream come true!  Hansel and Gretel took a liking to him immediately. 

Once their caravan had arrived at the inn, Wallace recommended a restaurant called Northern, which was right down the road from Sterling Inn.  Hansel and Gretel invited Wallace to join them.  He cheerfully obliged.   When they walked into Northern, it seems that EVERYONE knew Wallace.  Hansel and Gretel felt like they were walking around with some kind of celebrity!  They learned that the restaurant runs a lot of rafting trips and they often call Wallace to either shuttle people around or to put the adventurers up in the Sterling Inn.  In any case, Wallace was a delight, and he positive attitude was definitely contagious that evening!  He even started referring to Gretel as “B” since that is what Hansel calls her (short for Becca, he really life name).  Thanks for taking such good care of Hansel and Gretel, Wallace!

Happy Trails! 

Hansel and Gretel with WALLACE!

Hansel fording a river with the help of a rope and some sticks... actually they really weren't very helpful. Oh well!

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