Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Mapping Eight Miles

I've been easing up on a really long walk.  My daily walks have slowly moved from 2 miles to four to the occasional  six, not in an orderly progression, but  back and forth from two to six to four to two.  Today it was rainy and unpromising, but I put on my rain boots and my ancient rubber Isle of Wight raincoat and set out to see what it felt like to walk eight miles.  The first interesting thing I encountered was a drawing on the message board at the trail head:  someone had found a pair of glasses and hung them up from a large nail.  Someone else had drawn a face and head around the glasses.  Nearby on a post was a found set of keys.

I was going to start with a steep uphill trail, but as I headed up the rubbly trail I spied a large black dog standing alone and staring down at me, no owner in sight.  I slowly backed down and took the Mindy Sue trail instead.  Not fun to encounter dogs without leashes or owners.  The owner eventually met up with the dog as I could hear him cheerfully telling the dog to stop doing whatever it was doing and to Come.  By then I was headed toward the rhododendron hell, which was very dark on this gloomy afternoon.  A few drops of rain started falling.
I came out of the woods and walked down the road to the fields, which had just been plowed.  Skirting the fields I saw blue chicory, so beautiful.  I ducked into the woods at the river trail and followed the river for the second mile.  I reached three miles just at the edge of Owen Park.  Rain was coming down pretty hard, but it was easy to walk on the trails around the lakes, and I was feeling fine.  I finished up the fourth mile while lapping the lakes;  then I headed back home down the same way I had come.  My feet started complaining at mile five, and I seriously considered going barefoot. I noticed that it felt better to walk uphill because I could sling my foot toward the heel and save my toes from slamming into the hard toe of the boots.

I went back past the fields and up the road, completing mile six.  I could tell I was going to come out of the Mindy Sue trail at around mile 7, so I added on another loop, the Hemlock trail.  By now my toes were seriously screaming and I was back on my street.  I trotted on down the street to our house as I passed 7.5 miles, and I shucked off my boots and socks but kept going  and finished the last mile barefoot!  It felt so great to splash in puddles and walk in the wet grass.  Even the asphalt felt better than wearing boots.