Friday, 7 June 2013

Wonderful day on the trail

May 31 - Wonderful day on the trail.

The day began at McDonald's with a Sausage McMuffin with egg and a coffee. Surprisingly good coffee. Good Morning America was on the TV with closed captioning turned on, so I could follow the news while listening to (on the internet) Madely in the Morning on CFRA with headphones to catch up with hometown news. I see Rob Ford and Mike Duffy are still making headlines. :)

Julia had suggested I make a donut out of moleskin for the blister surgery I performed the day before. I cut away be blisters-on-blisters remnants and put Polysporin on them and they had dried over night but pressing on the scab was a bit painful. 

I had some callus pads that I had bought for the first set of blisters and they look like foam donuts so I used one of those. I taped it in place with my new waterproof tape and then taped up all the other problem areas as a precaution. 

It did the job!  After 13 miles and 6.75 hours of hiking there were NO new blisters! and no further damage to old ones.  Bangarang. :)

There was one beautiful stretch of trail that followed a stream gently downhill for about a mile. The trail kept crossing and recrossing it. Very pleasant. There were some tough climbs but with my feet cooperating, they were more joy than chore today. Hope that attitude lasts!

I wanted to hike as far as Atkins VA where I had to cross I-81 using an underpass. There's a restaurant there called The Barn than has a 16 oz Hiker Burger at a reasonable $7.99 hiker price. But I didn't want the burger as I had a bag full of food. What I wanted was to camp before I got there and then walk down for breakfast in the morning and have some real coffee. 

I was hiking along when the trail left the woods at a county road right next to the Lindamood 1870s schoolhouse. A sign said Hikers Welcome. I went in and it looked just like the schoolhouse in Anne of Green Gables. 

Then the trail went across a field full of a crop that smelled like Cilantro. (I am not a fan.) And then I was back in the woods. And then I was back wading through one crop or another.  And then the woods again. 
Rhododendrons starting to bloom

And that's how I missed breakfast at The Barn. I was switch-backing between old apple trees and scrub brush when I realized I was out of the woods for good until I got down to the interstate. No trees big enough to hang my hammock. 

I continued on down, realizing as well that I'd now be forced to climb back out of this huge gap and walk a lot further than I had wanted to go. If there were more fields on the other side, it would take even longer and be harder on the feet that were barking at me to stop already. 

I crossed a railway track and looking to the right, saw something about 100 yards down the track that didn't compute. It looked like a motorcyclist still wearing his helmet dressed in full leathers and lying on his back beside the tracks. His limbs were akimbo like he'd been thrown from a train. 

Sigh. I knew it was B.S. but I had to go look. I walked about 30 yards before I could see the 'helmet' was a white bucket thing which, from my perspective, was foreshortened and looked more round like a helmet. It had some black stuff inside and the open end, partially blocked by his 'upper body' which was just one of several black garbage bags stuffed with who knows what, made it look like a face shield on the helmet. 

Mystery solved and no dead body to have to contend with, on I went on a pretty boardwalk that wove through a swamp. And then I was walking onto a rural highway and the interstate loomed ahead. 

It was a little more than a half mile before I was off pavement again and as feared, there were more fields. About two miles of them. But then I saw solid forest ahead, climbed the last stile of the day and picked two suitable trees 30 yards from the fence line. 

It felt good to ditch the shoes. The tape was right where I had put it that morning. My problem may be solved. 

Later that night I woke up and spotted twinkling lights from the hammock. I got up to look over the top of the tarp towards the fence line and farm field - I'd rigged my open side toward the forest - and there they were by the thousand. Fireflies!  Hundreds of little bright explosions went off every second from near the ground to up to more than 20 feet up. Fireflies doing their mating dance. Beautiful.  It was like a Walt Disney movie. :)

It was a good day on many levels.

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