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Monday, July 26, 2010
Bess is on the left and Marie on the right. I know I haven't really introduced Marie, but you've seen her in lots of hiking pics. I should probably give her a complete entry. But today we'll do Bess. Her full name is Elizabeth Arden. Really, I'm not pulling your leg. The famous Elizabeth Arden was a cosmetics magnate, but ours goes by Bess, and she's famous enough in our small circle.
She joined us in 2000 on a hike of 106 miles in western NY. She is a long-time friend of Marie's. Marie worked with kids with disabilities most of her career, and met Bess, who works with people with low vision issues. I think she helps them find resources for work and independent living opportunities.
Bess was at a point in her life where she wanted to take on a physical adventure that was a significant challenge, and she wanted to do so with other women. Somehow, Marie and I qualified (grin).
That hike was one of the most difficult of any along the NCT with a never-ending series of tall hills with trail that just went straight up and down again. This section is part of the Finger Lakes Trail and their nickname for it is "The Western Wall." We hiked in early July and it was hotter than any of us would have liked. Despite the challenges, Bess never complained.
Included here is an excerpt from my book, North Country Cache, which includes Bess:
" Bess has been our early riser. Often she is outside doing exercises before even Marie is awake. She stretches and bends 'to get the tension out.' It's fine if it works for her, but if someone tried to force me out of a warm sleeping bag to exercise with the birds I'd be too tense to spend the day with.!
She has also turned out to be a companion with a great sense of humor. She adopted a stick with a Kokopelli silhouette and named him George. George traveled with us for several days until he lost a leg. Knowing that this would make it difficult for him to hike (not to mention making it difficult to distinguish him from the other sticks in the forest), we sadly bid him adieu and gave him a proper hiker's burial."
From chapter 53, "May the Road Rise to Meet You."
I will get a post up every day this week, but may have to back off on commenting on your blogs as much I would like. I have to get this media finished, and there is way too much to do yet. That's a deadline that can't be fudged.
One piece of sad news. Although you haven't met her, I have another good friend named Betty. Her husband was diagnosed with cancer last fall and I found out today that they called in Hospice on Thursday. She and the family have been totally focused on his care for the past 9 months. She said in an email, "Sam's time to grow wings is coming very close." I feel so bad for her. They are not much older than I am, and were high school sweethearts. I've rarely encountered a couple that were so much in love after 50 years of marriage. If you are one who believes in prayer, just say a quick one for Betty tonight, please.