I have adopted the goal of hiking the year in miles: 2,021 miles in the calendar year of 2021. Week 37 of challenge (September 3-9) was my best mileage week all year. I had great weather and the opportunity to take a couple of fabulous walks in the woods. I ended up with 69.1 miles for the week, bringing my total accumulative miles to 1,785.
Pushing a few buttons on my calculator, I see that I have 236 miles to finish the walk. Some have already begun to ask my plans when I break the final tape of this challenge. First, let me quick to say that 236 miles is still a long way and life can throw lots of curve balls, so I am hoping first of all to successfully complete the 2,021 miles. If God is gracious and allows me to do so with some days left over, my plan is to extend the challenge to 2,193.1 miles – the official length of the Appalachian Trail this year. The length of the AT changes every year as the Appalachian Trail Conservancy gains additional land and slightly changes the route. That would add to the walk another 172 miles. I will have to wait until the 2021 challenge is over to see the realistic feasibility of extending the journey. But thanks to those who have encouraged me to continue to set goals and not to sit around.
Week 37 brought a few days without daytime responsibilities and a chunk of time to hit the trail. The week started out (Friday) with a trip to the Germantown MetroPark and a hike of over 12 miles. Shortly into my day’s adventure, I met a hiker, Michael, who was about my age (a year older actually) and who was in better shape than I am. He was out hiking all 26 miles of the entire TVT (Twin Valley Trail). We started to hike together and ended up walking the TVT around Germantown and the connector trail leading down into Twin Creek MetroPark. We had a grand talk and shared about our careers, our family, and we solved 92% of all the world’s problems. I almost always walk alone if my hiking buddy Rocky (my wife Cathy) is not available. Friday was unusual but quite enjoyable.
The week ended with another glorious hike in the woods – this time it was the perimeter trail at Caesars Creek. The trail is published as being 12.4 miles, but my tracker indicated that hike was a little short of that distance. However, it is still one of my favorite hikes in the area. The loop trail does require a 0.7 mile trek along a 4-lane road including a bridge, but other than that downer, the trail through the woods and around the lake is so beautiful. I started earlier in the morning hours (about 8:10) and the cool air made the walk so fresh and energized. My favorite experience: I was under a group of trees down by the water’s edge taking a nice drink of water. It is a place where Rocky and I often stop when we are out together. So, I raised my water bottle to toast my bride of 49-years and raised my voice, shouting her name to the water, and from over head I heard this terrible scream. I thought it was a bobcat in the trees about to pounce on my head. Instead, it was a blue heron that must have been roosting in the branching just over my head and not heard my entrance to the water’s edge. My toast scared the bejeebies out of the bird and the bird’s cry made be double the current world-record for the standing high jump.