For years, Heather Bolint dreamt of hiking the Appalachian Trail, a course that runs 2,190 miles from Maine to Georgia. In June of this year, that dream was realized. She couldn’t have anticipated what awaited her in Pennsylvania, however. Three months after starting the trail, Bolint picked up an unusual hiking buddy…
Bolint recently wrote on Facebook:
“So this happened. Yesterday I found a ‘Polish crested’ rooster in the middle of the trail near a road with no houses.”
According to The Dodo, Bolint is an animal lover and a self-proclaimed “chicken whisperer,” so it seemed like fate. Reportedly, the rooster was just “standing there” when Bolint came across it. Knowing he wouldn’t survive in the wilderness on his own, the hiker picked up the farm animal and kept trekking. “I was able to scoop him up,” she said, “and decided the only thing to do was to start hiking with him.”
When Bolint wandered across the rooster, she was just north of the Mason-Dixon line. And, it was hot out. Despite the heat, the rooster (named Eddie) remained calm and nestled close to her.
“I held him in my arms and continued 15 more miles in 80 degree, humid weather until the sun began to set,” she said.
Apparently, Eddie became something of a celebrity to other people who crossed Bolint and her hiking companion. They didn’t hesitate to take plenty of photographs. Incredibly, Eddie barely made a peep. He “was quite content with just sitting in my arms or in my raincoat while we hiked,” said Bolint.
When it got dark, the hiker and Eddie made camp. Fortunately, the rooster had no trouble making friends. “A nice guy at the campsite (and fellow chicken lover) gave him some of his dog’s kibble to eat. I also fed him oatmeal, nuts and apple cores,” Bolint said. When it was time to go to bed, the bird peacefully slept in her tent next to her. “Then we got up at midnight to continue hiking to Harper’s Ferry in the coolness of the night (and to beat the rain),” she added.
46 miles later, Eddie and Bolint reached the Appalachian Trail Conservancy headquarters in West Virginia. By that time, they had traveled 27 days together. When they entered the building, the staff were stunned to see the unique-looking rooster. One remarked, “Now we’ve seen everything.” It is believed Eddie is the first rooster to have ever hiked the Appalachian trail.
Fortunately, Eddie is now safe. He found a new home at the Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary in Poolesville, Maryland. According to Bolint, he seemed to enjoy the car ride. “I wanted to make sure he was happy and healthy, and living a life he wanted,” Bolint said. At Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary, Eddie was renamed to ‘Mason’ and is now living the good life.
“When people saw him they instantly smiled, and sparked up friendly conversation,” Bolint recalled. “I’m so grateful that I got to experience life on the trail with a rooster, and to witness the joy he brought to others.”
“This little guy was the sweetest rooster,” she added, “and totally stole my heart.”
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