It was a morning of warm goodbyes with watery eyes to the people who did so much to help us survive. Off after a face kiss, oh they will be missed.
We are eternally grateful for all of the support Penny, Curt, and Shauna have given to us. They do so much and ask for nothing in return. People love us and we love them <3.
A walk through the woods with a side of bugs, please. Bugs flew into our eyes, we snorted bugs through our noses and spit them out our mouths. At one point, Brianna was sneezing because bugs had flown up her nose and had gotten lodged there. When she stopped to blow her nose, there were two bugs along with her snot. This pretty much sums up our day.
Person reading this: Why didn’t you have your bug net on?
Me: I didn’t have it with me.
Person reading this: So it’s your fault.
Me: Yes. That’s kind of a jerk thing to say, but I’m not surprised that it’s you who would say it.
Anyone can bullshit their way through a 10 – 12 mile hike. Hike all morning, eat lunch, hike for a few more hours and done. Things get a little bit more logistically challenging when you start going over 15 – 30 mile days. We have to start earlier to beat the heat. We have to start earlier to give ourselves time to take breaks in the middle of the day, take our shoes off every now and then and just say, “F it” for a while. Our legs have adjusted to the hiking life well, it’s the feet that have to be babied along.
To hit our goal of a 20 mile average day, we have to hit an average of 2 mph. Seems easy enough, just keep in mind that 2 mph includes all time on the trail, to include breaks. If Brianna and I have a average walking speed of 3.11, then we’ve got 1.11 mph extra for use on all the breaks. We have short infrequent breaks in the morning, long and very frequent breaks as the day and our feet get more hot, as the bugs chew down our will to live.
We met another hiker on the trail today, sort of. I’m not sure what his name was, we never gave ours either, but he was driving around with his huge St. Bernard mix dog, “Lincoln”, scoping the different parking areas on the IAT. He and his son are planning a 100 mile hike in August, pretty cool! He wished us luck in a near Uper accent and we wished it back in our lower Michigan accent.
Tonight we are camped at the Timberland Hills West Ski parking area. There is a loud road nearby, but this area is a gift. All the other dispersed camping areas and parking lots we have seen did not have good camping options. Shauna brought us cold pops and is camping with us tonight!
Oh and we saw 4 or 5 more bears today. Yeah, I’m saying this all casually now that they are everywhere. If I don’t have a story for every bear encounter, we are probably handling them correctly.