Wednesday, October 13, just after 7 am, Jo, Donica, Jay and I took our first steps in the dark out of Calumet. Northbound on Hwy. 41.
The wind cut a bit, but we knew we'd warm up soon both physically and from the sun, who's orange haze would glow on the horizon in less than an hour.
First stop would be Slim's Cafe in Mohawk for a gooey, buttery omelet. Gurgle, gurgle said my tummy. Don't worry, only two hours and 6 miles to breakfast. I could hardly wait.
The rising sun soon took over the stars in the black sky. The hundreds (if it could really be hundreds) of automobile headlights bounced off our reflective vests on their way to work. That would definitely be the most traffic we would see all day. Thank goodness.
Breakfast was heavenly. TV 6 was there to do a little interview with Donica and film us walking. I can't imagine its too exciting watching people walk. But we were excited. The sun sparkled upon us, and smiles graced our faces. Six miles into it, it was time to start our walk.
Four people is really a nice group to have (not that I would object to more or less) because it gave us a nice variety. We could all talk in a bunch. We could spread out and keep to ourselves. Or we could walk with different partners. This rousing display of events got us to Phoenix faster than I would have imagined. 17 miles down. We were all in high spirits.
Then we had that stretch to Delaware. Delawhat? Delawho? Where the hell is Delaware anyway!? I'm hungry! The skin on the balls of my feet is rubbing off. Delaware is always late. Good thing we were all slightly delusional. We laughed much of the way despite Delaware's inconsideration for us. Thank goodness Ed, Jo's husband and our supply runner, (thank you, Ed!) shared his bag of giant cookies from Slim's. Mmm, giant cookies. Still. 3.5 miles to Delaware. Delawhat?
But the stop at Delaware is really the best. Karen waited there for us with fold-out chairs, homemade hoagies, chips, grapes, Snickers, water, ibuprofen and her wonderful coffee. Oh, she is an angel.
And I swear, the next 8 miles to Mac Frimodig Park were the best. For me, at least. We felt surprisingly, rejuvenated from the previous stop, the sun's warmth and our blue streamers found along side the road that we fastened to our packs and wrists just so we could watch them blow in the breeze -- entertained like cats -- we marched on, soon unable to feel our stumps of feet pounding the ground.
The sun set into Lake Medora to our left, and soon we were in the dark. Literally. It was sort of fun, though, because by the last 5 miles, we knew 1 out of 3 cars that passed. Honk and wave my friend, honk and wave. That's all I ask besides moving over a little so no one gets clipped.
Then the Mountain Lodge took forever to get to us. Where is the Lodge? I wondered if someone moved it for a joke. It sure is illusionary, walking the stretches that we usually drive by so quickly to our destination. Sure makes you pay attention!
After smack, smack, smacking our numb feet down, down, down the last mountain, we were met by the loved ones that came to greet us.
Home. Home. What a wonderful journey home it was. I can't wait to do it again next year.