In the early winter of 2020, I found myself mailing small packages of goodies to Rue, treats my children picked out, a simple card, and a few pieces of artwork lovingly crafted by my children. Only a few weeks into joining Rue and the American Perimeter Trail Project Rue left a message, he was out of food and money, walking into west Texas empty handed; in that moment I knew we needed a new plan to keep him fed, thus the Amazon wishlist was born. Thanks to the generosity of the APT community we were able to provide him with food and money to continue hiking. As we transitioned from winter to spring we found ourselves faced with a completely unexpected impedance: the Covid-19 virus and lockdown.
Suddenly those resupply boxes changed from important to critical. They were his lifeline, as Rue made the decision to continue hiking, but practice social isolation to protect the communities in which he would pass and himself. Boxes were mailed every 5-7 days to free standing, small post offices with often a short amount of time between receiving the address and having to mail it before my own local post office closed. We found a rhythm in the boxes and the APT community watched and contributed. My garage was slowly taken over by tubs of food, and my children delighted in the amazon deliveries, marveling at the love and generosity of strangers.
Over a year later and I find myself back into resupply mode. There are amazon deliveries, piles of boxes accumulating in my living room, waiting to be transported to the garage. Boxes arrive and I sort and track the contents, noting from whom it came, the quantity, and now to what recipe it corresponds. A short month ago Dani and I hosted a meal assembly for Rue where we assembled around 50 meals for him. The goals of prepackaged meals to increase his calories and nutrients on trail while making it easier for me to pack boxes. Every box that I mail to Rue has meals, a surprise treat or 2, and at least 1 handwritten letter. The simple letter is way for him to be physically connected to people, a tangible reminder of the people supporting him. Countless boxes sent and with each one I mail it with a prayer to arrive safely and swiftly. We have had fewer issues with our resupply boxes than many thru-hikers on known trails.
As we progress through this last section of the first scouting hike, I ponder how different it will be when my garage is not full of food, my doorstep loaden with packages, and my living room staged with boxes. For now, I set those thoughts aside and focus on filling those boxes with your love and generosity so that Rue can successfully complete the first hike of the APT. My role is more than hike coordinator and vice president, in this moment I am the bridge between this beautiful loving community and Rue, and I thank you all for the opportunity.