Saturday, June 3, 2017

Yikes! Talk about complex a routing guide! And some more serious hills start here in Chillicothe!

 "  ...Cross under US 35. Turn S on grassy bench and in 360' turn back toward corner of highway D50115 -82.8341 837 fence (no bench). At corner of fence, begin arc that leads to an opening in a pile of logs that line the north edge of this grassy fill area with no established, marked trail. Do not climb over highway fence. In 920', ford an intermittent stream in broad swale and begin long ascent on benched trail with several switchbacks. In 3900', turn SE onto old skid road that undulates and winds along a wooded ridge. In 2300' as skid road begins ascent, turn SW onto footpath that returns to the skid road in a saddle in 780'. 560' SE past a fenced microwave tower is a wonderful view of the Scioto R. valley from Hang Glider Hill. Trail joins service road and descends W to saddle where road turns sharply S and descends more steeply. At the bottom of the hill (2100'), service road turns NW parallel to CSX tracks. In 1500', service road turns W across the CSX tracks and through gate. 1.472..."  

Well, this part is certainly meant for walkers (read that - backpackers!)  Much of the guide reads something like this and although there are alternate routes for cyclists (or my cart) it is all given east to west, making it all but impossible for the 'directionally-challenged'!  I will have to do my best on roads.  They do get considerably more 'wind-y' from this point.  And hillier, too!  In about Frankfort (15 miles back) the terrain changed abruptly, from the flatter, glacially impacted southwestern part of Ohio, to the part that is sometimes referred to as the Appalachian foothills.  I have poured over the American Discovery Trail instructions for hours and do not know how to rejoin it at this point, without giving myself a headache!

Yesterday was a good walk day on another converted rail line, mostly through woodlands fragrant with honeysuckle and other flora I couldn't identify, chattery with birdsong, and alongside a river for much of the way.  I have paused here in Chillicothe to consider my route going forward and, at the moment, can't say that the way is at all clear!   Offers of camping hospitality, showers and meals continue to blow me away.  As do the amazing and kind people I am meeting:  a farming family transitioning to sustainable practices; a hard-working and crusty campsite owner who 'gets it' - lone liberal among his Republican friends; and a Native horsewoman living on her late grandmother's land beside the (former rail line) trail. This area is a rich center of ancient Native American sites, with burial and astronomical mounds dating back several thousands of years. Certainly worth exploring, though, for logistical reasons, this is most likely not in the cards for me this trip.

And, for the record - almost to a person, the folks I've met DO care about the environment! Sustainability is not simply the preoccupation of a fringe of  'tree-hugging progressives'.  Hey, even corporations are getting on board!  Updates to follow...

How far?

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