When I joined this project we had a small Facebook community page, this website and Rue’s personal Instagram account. Since then we have expanded the website, had a logo created, opened a storefront and launched both an APT Instagram account and YouTube Channel. We have run 2 successful fundraisers on Facebook, created an Amazon wishlist that has been instrumental in keeping Rue supplied on the trail during the pandemic and are creating new opportunities all the time to spread the word about this project. It is always a collaborative effort between Rue and I in this project.
How do you describe that moment that we met? Standing outside in a small parking lot and this stranger approaches, but it’s not a stranger, it’s that person you have known for months. I know I was in shock, and I can only imagine Rue was as well. It’s a surreal experience to finally see in person the other end of the partnership that was created months ago. A simple hug and then we were off, with a 5 hour car trip ahead of us there were no awkward moments, just laughter, stories and joy.
For 4 full days Rue rested, healed and conducted business from my home. There were zoom meetings and podcasts; there was planning for the next phase of this endeavor, and there was planning for the future of the project when he arrives home. In that time we celebrated his major accomplishments, and he explored the temporary headquarters of the APT. During this period we revisited the vision and mission of the APT to not only create a protected corridor of land and resources around the continental United States, but to connect people and communities. We were able to fulfill one piece of that mission in connecting the two of us in person, hiker and coordinator. It was a time of laughter, joy, tears, frustration, and love. Each of us leads this project with love. Love for the land, love for the people, love for the communities. It was a reset moment for both of us.
As I returned Rue to the parking lot to hike on there were tears. It’s always a challenge to send someone on their way, but I wished him health and safety and swift return to Bend. I know we will connect again in the late fall when he hikes into his hometown.