Day 10 (sorta): McKittrick to Gore
The first day back on the trail and all went well.
For those who read this blog in September of 2006 when I walked the 163 miles from Clinton to McKittrick, you will remember that I had to bail with badly blistered feet. I think that most of my problems last year were the result of carrying far too much weight in my backpack. This year I had a plan.
My wife, Theresa, agreed to drive our truck and meet me along the trail each day, so I didn't need to carry nearly the load that I struggled with last year, all I really needed was what I would use that day on the trail. And while I was walking, she was hitting the shops and, more importantly, the wineries along the way. So now we have at least six bottles of wine to drink. Why didn't I think of this last year?
So on Sunday, July 8, we headed for McKittrick to pick up where I left off last fall. I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive about starting this all over again. There is just something about going back to the scene of where it all fell apart before and taking off again. I was anxious to get started, but also was a little daunted.
I wanted to knock out a short 7-miler to tune up for the longer days ahead, so, I decided to do this little stretch on Sunday and tackle the longer routes throughout the week. Since Gore is barely on the map and basically is a dirt road that crosses the trail, I decided that it would be easier to head out from there and find my ride back at McKittrick. Also, we would then be closer to our stop for the next two nights -- Herman. OK, so I wouldn't be going west-to-east, but I was still covering the same stretch of trail.
The walk is pretty uneventful. You begin along a stretch the trail that has a creek following alongside, then work your way out into the classic bottom lands landscape: corn on one side, soybeans on the other. Of course, since it was early July in Missouri, it was 90-something degrees and very humid. If you plan on hiking OR riding the trail, I can't stress enough that you take LOTS OF WATER. I may be a little obsessive about this, but I would much rather have too much than not enough. In fact, it is just plain fool-hardy to be out in this type of weather without lots of moisture.
One of the highlights of the day was "finishing off" another county. It may not seem like much, but when you cross into a "new county" it gives you a sense of accomplishment. Going into Warren County from Montgomery County made, I believe, the eighth county that I have walked in on this adventure. "Big Whoop" you say? Well, come on down to either end of the trail and start walking. I promise that after you get a few county lines behind you, you feel like its a big deal. ;-)
As I was nearing the end of this admittedly short day on the trail, I felt some of the old confidence start to come back. I wasn't overly tired, my feet felt fine, and I was starting to already feel nostalgic for the trail that I would soon finish off.
I still haven't totally resolved to my own satisfaction what I will do after I finish the trail. Stay tuned for the next day's hike!