I need to address my 26.3 mile hike for the Alabama Make-A-Wish Foundation experience. There was so much going on that I really haven’t had time. I first need to address the few days leading up to the hike.
I was on a work trip to St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Because of the flight time and layovers, I was scheduled to leave early Thursday morning and arriving at home late Thursday afternoon. This would allow me time to recover from traveling, see the family, re-pack, rest, and then make my way down to the hike Friday afternoon. Well, that was the plan….
When I got to the airport Thursday morning, it was a zoo! The airport on St Croix is rather small and several flights were leaving around the same time. I quickly turned in my rental car and walked over to the airline check in line. The lines were long to check in to check in and drop off your checked bag. Once inside the airport, I had to go through Passport Control (another long line), TSA ID check (yes, another long line), and baggage and personal security screening (another very long and slow line). I finally made it to the gate area as my flight was scheduled to begin boarding.
People were just standing around…. No one was getting on the plane. That was interesting. As we continued to stand and sit around, I saw the pilot on the phone at the check in desk. That was not a good sign. He was supposed to be on the plane getting it ready to take off. After several minutes, he made the announcement. We were delayed due to a mechanical issue.
Initially, that wasn’t a big deal. I had a 3 hour layover in Miami, so I was good. Then he continued…. The part needed to repair this issue was not on site. They would have to fly it in from somewhere else. It would be awhile – several hours. I still waited somewhat patiently… Finally they announced a part was located in Miami and would be inbound. On the next inbound flight at 4 pm. Crap. I quickly got on the phone with the airline. I would not be able to make it home that day. After waking up early and getting just a few hours of sleep, I now had about 7 hours to kill in the airport. If you have ever been to the St. Croix airport, you know there’s not much there. I informed work and family of the delay and plan B.
Once the part arrived on the next flight, our plane was repaired and test and we began boarding. The 3 hour flight to Miami was uneventful. Once we landed in Miami, I stood in the customer service line for several hours to print my new boarding passes, got meal vouchers, etc., then went to find my luggage for a much needed change of clothes and shower. Once I got to baggage claim, my luggage was nowhere to be found. I got to wait in another line only to find out my luggage was on the plane I was flying on the next day. Yay.
I finally found the shuttle to the hotel and checked in around 10 pm. A much needed shower was in order, but I had to put my dirty clothes back on the next day. My flight departed at 6 am. Once again, another couple hours of sleep and back up to make it through airport security. I boarded my flight to Miami and was happy to be on the way home. We landed in Charlotte, and I had 20 minutes to go from E terminal to B terminal to catch my next flight. Of course, I made it and was headed home. I finally landed around 1030 am on Friday after leaving for the St Croix airport at 5 am the previous day.
I drove home and got to visit the family for a couple of hours before driving down Friday afternoon for the hike. I left my large suitcase after pulling out the essentials and just packed the smaller overnight bag for the things I needed the next few days. I didn’t even have time to pack my backpack for the hike. I just threw everything in the car and decided I would pack it once I got there.
Around 5 pm I finally made it to the hotel and checked in. I took my luggage and hiking stuff to the room (after initially leaving it in the parking lot). There was a scheduled dinner at 6 pm. I attended the dinner in the same clothes I left St. Croix in the previous day. I knew once I took another shower I would be unable to stay awake much longer. After a bit of food and visiting with fellow hikers, I headed to the room for a shower, fresh clothes, and sleep.
For the third day in a row, wake up was early. Check in for the hike was at 4 pm. I was up by 3 am to take another shower, eat breakfast, drink coffee, and double checking all of my gear. I checked in, we loaded the vans, and was headed off to hike shortly after 4 am Saturday morning.
To be continued…..