Day 53 – IAT Mile 1060.3 to 1091.2

Hiking to exhaustion everyday sounds difficult because it is difficult.  I do so enjoy being purposefully tired.  Earned days off feel amazing.  Short days that leave me with gas still in the tank feel hollow.  Food tastes better when you are truly hungry. Water is sweet as wine when your throat is dry cracking from thirst.  When the Bible refers to the miracle of turning water into wine, I wonder if that wasn’t just Jesus depriving his followers of food and water for long periods of time.  Perhaps the real lesson is less about God having his son use parlor tricks to impress people and more about appreciating the necessary little things. A pretty big leap that doesn’t really work with the books, I know

The physical work of hiking for 12-15 hours a day is so different than my employed work life back home.  My job in IT often leaves me mentally exhausted with no satisfaction of the physical.  Hiking satisfies my physical need for work and leaves a little left over for the mental.  It’s hard to say if one is better than the other, mental exhaustion brings a level of satisfaction with it as well; using wits rather than brawn to bring change into the world.  I’m glad to have a farm to return to with much work to be done when this adventure ends.

Less than 75 miles of IAT trail remained when I started hiking this morning.  x3 25 mile days is easy enough, right? Brianna found a way to cut 3 road miles off today, too… so today was even better mileage than we had hoped!

The morning was overcast and cool after the violent storms raged through the area all last night.  I had been looking forward to the second Tisch Mills segment, starting the day off with trails is usually a nice way to ease into a mostly road walking day.  What I found in Tisch Mills made me thankful for the road walking that followed.  Storm water flooded the overgrown trail in every spot.  Long grass full of stinging plants, poison ivy and thorn bushes stung and racked my legs.  If I stopped to look before I stepped, a cloud bugs descended eagerly upon me.  Not my favorite segment.

Rain had been forecast to last all day today, though we only got a couple afternoon hours of it.  I attempted to use my sunbrella as an umbrella but quickly found out that mosquitoes will use the cover for shelter as they feed on my face, so I put it away and just accepted the damp day for what it was.

Today ended up being a great day for hiking with the Keewaunee River segment as my end of the day trail; a 2-track of hardened dirt that allowed for big afternoon miles.  Keewaunee is a flat walk with tunnels and bridge walks that more than made up for what happened at Tisch Mills.

40 miles remain.