Day 54 – IAT Mile 1091.2 to 1114.3

Last night was a blast!  Trisha and Zach took us out to a local restaurant for a traditional Wisconsin Friday fish fry and old fashioned dinner.  After dinner came the Colorado tradition of bar hopping around for shots and drinks, but I was far too tired for any of that and retreated back to our basement bed at Trisha’s for sleep.

Uncle Tim wanted to let Brianna sleep in and experience trail support for himself, so he and I hopped in the car around 0630 and headed for the trail.  It took a bit to figure out the logistics of how Tim would know where to meet me on the trail, he has a different cellular carrier and and Android with different apps than I’m used to.  It all eventually worked out and I was able to start hiking by 0800.

Tim got the chance to experience many different kinds of IAT parking lots while he waited on me to arrive.  My trail walk into Kewuanee ended on a quaint water town with a beautiful bay view.  From Kewaunee, I started the final final road walking miles of the IAT.  Tim met me about 3 miles in at a gravel parking lot, surrounded by weeds with no shade to be found before I started a 8.8 mile push into Algoma.  Hiking 8.8 road miles without a break is not something I’d normally do, but the roads were quiet and enjoyable; the walk took me less than 3 hours.

Algoma is another beautiful bit of this eastern IAT section.  The trail took me down a boardwalk over the sand and not far from the water.  I walked and watched Wisconsinites play beach games for about a mile. Tim walked the final stretch of the boardwalk with me before our lunch at a local bar.  We enjoyed cold beer and the second half of the Packers game. 

Finishing the final road miles of the IAT feels significant.  Should I have cried?  Half of me wanted to punch a fist in the air as if it were the end of The Breakfast Club movie while the other half of me wanted to look down at the paved ground and say, “you’re basic.”

A funny thing happened on my second to last meet up with Tim this afternoon.  It was lightly raining when I arrived at our designated spot, I saw our car, but Tim was nowhere to be found.  I didn’t start to get worried until 15 minutes had passed and he was still nowhere to be found, not answering texts or phone calls.  Unsure what to do, I picked my gear up off the wet ground and continued hiking.  He didn’t pass me on my way in, so the only reasonable conclusion was that Tim meant to hike in to meet me, he just didn’t choose the correct direction to do so.  My conclusion was confirmed when a dude on a dirt bike road by me and said there was in fact a Santa Claus beard looking guy down the trail.  I was 1.1 miles in before crossing Tim’s path, he going back to the car, me continuing the hike.

Our hiking day ended as many good days often do, with cold celebratory beers in hand.  We sat on large white parking lot rocks at the Forestville Dam County Park and chatted about life before the hour ride back to Green Bay.

Trisha and family have been beyond accommodating to us over these final days of our trip.  We have access to showers, laundry, a cool basement bed, food, beer, the works.  I didn’t know how things could get better, until they did, and the girls invited Tim and I to stop by a neighbor’s pool party for a BBQ dinner.  The hostess, Jen, brought me as much food as I could eat and then some.  As a marathon runner herself, Jen understood what I was feeling on an athletic level at day’s end.  Dipping my feet in a salt water pool while stuffing my face full of pasta salad was fabulous.

17.8 miles remain.

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