Matt's GPS tracked us at 12.5 miles when we got back to the van, when he uploaded it last night it was suddenly 11.91 miles. Either way, it's 12.5 miles because I want maximum mental boost. Plus, it was hard. Last year we built ourselves up until 18 miles in a day with a pack was tough, but not misery. After my winter of walking around the track and hopping on the treadmill, my distance walking skills are rusty.
With the time of year and the southern end of trail itself both being kind of dull, I hardly took any pictures. But one that I took was kind of interesting...
|Ben and Chan plod along...|
The trail is a rails-to-trails project, so the path is long, straight and fairly flat.
I love this sign
We stopped at the half-way point in Elkmont and hung out at the park and had a little snack before heading back to the van.
|Gina on the super high slide. 15 feet!|
|The Amazing Balancing Guy!|
About a mile from the end, we ran into a very tall man of around 50 standing in the trail. From about 100 feet away, he started making motions of be quiet and then did antlers on his head. Sure enough, he had spotted a herd of 12 deer and we watched them for a while. He bade us a good evening and started on down the trail again only to stop and wave us over after about 200 feet. There was a second herd in the next field over! There were only about 8 in there and they ran almost immediately after we saw them. I said, "That is SO COOL!" He said, "Heh heh, ain't it though." He was off to check his fence line after the recent rains, so at that point he ducked off into the woods, calling his dogs. I doubt seriously we would have seen them had he not been there.
On the way home, we dropped Gina back off and hit the grocery store and finally came dragging in. I told Jake-who had stayed home-to leave anything not cold and I would deal with it later. After a hot bath, I was feeling more like myself, it's amazing how draining just walking can be. I am anxious to get out and KEEP walking, getting in some bigger miles. I feel SO good later, it's worth the initial weariness.