What About Shorty?

As you may recall, I carried a photo with me on the trail of family friend Shorty Jordan. Shorty’s wife, Marlene, contacted before I started hiking and let me know that Shorty had always thought about hiking the AT but passed away before he had the chance. So I got a photo of Shorty from Marlene and carried it with me throughout the journey.

At times, especially when things weren’t going so well due to bad weather or some other hardship, it helped me to think about Shorty being up in heaven and watching over me. I imagined that Shorty and Palmer, the Princess’ father, were up there together pulling for me and encouraging me on. Palmer was a hiker too and we did a lot of hikes together when he would visit our family when we lived in Southern California. So I never really hiked alone.

Anyway, when I got to the summit of Katahdin, I pulled out Shorty’s photograph and wrote this on the back, “Shorty Jordan hiked the AT with Walker. March 27 – August 4, 2013.” I got a photo at the Katahdin summit sign with me and Shorty then I carefully removed a few small stones from the rock cairn that marks the summit and placed the photo inside the cairn. I replaced the stones and now Shorty’s photo is permanently located at the summit of Mount Katahdin, elevation 5267 feet. Here are some photos…

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About The Man in My Shoes

Since retiring in 2012 I am enjoying the freedom of being able to make my own decisions about how I spend my time and am taking advantage of the opportunities that I have to spend more time with my family, explore, learn, and pursue my dreams and goals. I look forward to writing about these pursuits and hope you enjoy reading about them.
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24 Responses to What About Shorty?

  1. John in Milwaukee says:

    congratulations Walker. my sister in law and niece are still out there. been fun following you journey, good luck.

    • John, Thanks a lot. I’m glad to hear that your sister-in-law and niece are still out there. Do you know where they are now? I am 99% sure that I remember meeting them at Blue Mountain Shelter in Georgia on my third night on the trail. That’s the same night I met Buffalo who I saw many times throughout the hike. Walker

  2. Gigi Jordan says:

    Thank you ! We have all enjoyed your blog. Sunday I was visiting the AT office in Harpers Ferry. This time in looking thru the black binders of the hikers on the trail # 219 ” Walker ” 5/27/13 brought the binder to life with remembering stories from your blog of various hikers and their trail names. I could of added a note Walker completed the AT Trail today August 4 th in Maine. Walker made this journey extra special by pending my Dad’s picture on the Summit of Katahdin he carried in his wallet 3/27/2013 to 8/4/2013. Again a big hug goes out to you and Princess for including us on this journey.

  3. Annette says:

    What a beautiful ceremony to complete your AT hike. You brought tears to my eyes telling how you gained inspiration from Shorty and Palmer throughout your hike. May I add Poppie and Lallie to those Spirits who were watching over you?

    • Mom, Of course we’ll add Poppie and Lallie to the Spirits who were with me. There are many others too. I had a lot of support! Thanks for all of your great comments on the blog. I think you win the ‘biggest fan’ contest! Love, Walker

  4. Robin Horseman says:

    Walker, my name is Robin Horseman, mom of thru hiker “Pigpen”. Just wanted to say congratulations on your journey! I really enjoyed reading your blog as it kept me up on what was to come for Dan:) I know he really enjoyed hiking with you as he talked fondly of you often. Dan, or “Pigpen”, should be completing his hike sometime around August 12th. Looking forward to hearing all about his journey in person!! Best wishes, and again, CONGRATULATIONS!!!

    • Robin, Thanks a lot. I really enjoyed hiking with your son and hope to see him again. He must have really been covering some miles if he’s finishing up in less than a week. I wish I could be there to see him at Katahdin. He’s a terrific young man and I know that he has a bright future. It’s really interesting to me that while we were hiking together I felt like we were good friends of the same age, when actually he’s a year or two younger than my own son. I guess the trail is a great equalizer. Anyway, you’ve got a great son and I know you’re very proud of him. As I wrote to Brian, please send me your mailing address. Take care, Walker.

  5. Dana Prophet says:

    What a good friend you are! SHorty would have loved it. We are hikers too so I get it. I’m Marlenes cousin from Calif.

  6. buddyjohnson1 says:

    This is so endearing and capsules as well as anything the person you are and what you mean to the people you meet along the trail of life

    Sent from my iPhone

  7. Great job. I live here in Maine and can tell everyone Maines part of trail is most demanding. Recently a hiker named inchworm went missing and shes still out there somewhere. Please say a hikers prayer for her. I walked across US multiple times in 70s and appreciate the spirit of the determined hiker. Hardest sport in world to do alone. Great job here Im glad I found site but sad someone went missing for me to find it. God bless.

    • Swift Eagle, Thanks a lot! I loved Maine. My home state of Virginia and Maine were my two favorite states. My wife said on the drive home, “I don’t think I’ve seen the last of Maine”, meaning she wants to go back. We both enjoyed the coast near Acadia and the area around Katahdin. You mentioned Inchworm…I knew her and her husband, George, and had dinner with them in Andover and Rangeley. It breaks my heart that she is missing and apparently now they are scaling back the search effort for her. Another thru-hiker I was with in New Hampshire and Maine, Gummi Bear, hiked with Inchworm on the section into Rangeley and told me the next day that she thought Inchworm was the sweetest person she’d met on the trail. I agree and I think everyone who met her, even for a short time, felt the same way. God bless you, Walker

  8. Annette says:

    Your photos are great and that is a beautiful cairn…a fine resting place for Shorty’s tribute.

  9. Frances Dowdy says:

    Congratulations, Tim! We have enjoyed hiking the AT with you vicariously! Wonderful photos to commemorate the end of your hike and your tribute to Shorty.

  10. Pat Bishop says:

    Thank you, Tim, for the wonderful thing you did for my friend Marlene and for Shorty. I got goose-bumps when I read your blog. Hope Shorty enjoyed the trip as much as I enjoyed reading about it. Thanks again for your kindness.
    Pat Bishop

  11. We so enjoyed coming along on your adventure. Since we are now in a habit of reading your blog, Steve told Annette tonight that “even if Tim is just riding around on his lawn mower in Virginia cutting the lawn, he is going to have to post to tell us all about it!!!” We’re hooked! We enjoyed our morning coffee with Walker! So thankful you had a safe trip and thanks for sharing it with us. Loved imagining you walking along with Palmer and Shorty. I’m sure that was comforting in times of complete solitude so far from the noise of life. Palmer was – as my Dad would say – first class.

    • Thanks, Susan. I have one or two more posts in mind and I’ll try to get them up soon. I’m having a lot of fun playing in the garden, cleaning up and putting away my backpacking gear, reading, relaxing and just enjoying being back home. It’s kind of weird having so many options for things to do with my time. It used to be so simple…wake up, pack up, walk, set up, cook dinner, sleep – then do it again.

  12. I found your blog this evening and after several hours I’m finished. I’m excited to hear your adventure and sad that my reading is now done. Outstanding job and what determination! I feel like I know you a little and those you met on the AT. Congrats!

    Jason from Long Island, NY

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