I’m going to tell you a crazy story. Well, it’s crazy to me… We will see what you think.
This is the story of Erin and Ollie and how we met.
One day I was scrolling through the wondrous Facebook. Oh social media, how I spend too much time on you. My Facebook timeline is composed of babies and dog photos, the stream of hiking and travel nurse posts from pages I follow, and Trump memes. (sorry friends if you are a Trump supporter, all my friends are liberals lol) When it comes to hiking pages, I will only post occasionally when I do something of magnitude or I need advice. Most of the time I just look at hiking pictures because I always want to be hiking. But of course I do have to work for a living, a girl has to eat somehow. Social media has been wonderful for my hiking community. I have made so many wonderful friends through posting on Instagram and Facebook and I am so blessed because of it. One day I saw a post from a girl named Erin who just finished her NH 4000 footers! At the bottom of her post, she asked if anyone was hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2020. I saw she was about my age, so I thought I would message her. We ended up adding each other on Facebook and talking gear, as all hopeful thru-hikers do.
After about a week or so, I get a message from Erin:
“Erin: Hey! I was wondering if you’d be cool with starting on the same day (or maybe week)? No obligation to stick with me of course! But I thought it might be nice to at least vaguely know someone in the vicinity while we ease into it
Me being my extroverted self with probably a little too much trust in strangers (Sorry mom and dad): I am 100% cool with that! We can still both “hike our own hike” as everyone says to do but I know I’ll feel more comfortable starting at the same time as someone else! Also we should hike a little before that, if you are interested!”
So here I am now committed to starting the AT with a complete stranger from the internet. Smart, I know. Well, over the next couple weeks we tried to find time to hike together, but neither of us could find a time where we were both free. So as these things go, our plans kind of just fizzled out and never happened. Welp, but it was whatever.
A couple weeks later, I had plans to meet this girl Sarah.
Sarah is another social media person who is now one of my best friends. (Like seriously. LOVE. HER.). Sarah and I felt very noncommittal and had a hard time deciding where to hike. On the drive up to NH, we settled on hiking Mount Garfield. Meanwhile, I told Erin I was going to be hiking Whiteface/Passaconaway and didn’t update her that I changed my plans. So Sarah and I meet for the first time driving to Mount Garfield. Mind you, we are not early risers when it comes to hiking. We get to the trailhead for 10am, which is fairly late for a 10 mile hike. We are putting our boots on and getting ready to go when a car pulls up behind us. Next thing I know the cutest dog jumps out of the car.
A little fact about me: I LOVE DOGS and they are all the cutest dog I have ever seen. I can’t help but ask to pet almost every dog I meet. Because they are all good boys and girls. I walk over to this pair of hikers and ask if I I can pet their dog. I snuggle and pet their dog, say thank you, and walk away. As I am walking away, I hear “Hey, are you Nicole?” I turn around with a puzzled look on my face and she replies “I’m Erin!” I was WOWED! Erin and I decided independently of each other to hike the same trail and showed up later than most hikers would. The rest of the day Erin, her friend Corey, Sarah, and I hiked Mount Garfield together. We all are pretty equal when it comes to speed and ability. We had an amazing day.
I knew from that point on that Erin and I were made to meet each other and I cannot wait to start the AT with her. As they say, the trail provides. It sure did for me.