On Thursday I was like, “Huh. The weekend is open, and a holiday weekend, no less. I should find something to do” and “I’ve wanted to walk this 35-mile trail since I heard about it last summer.”
So, I told my cousin, and she was on board for a Sunday-through-Monday hike. She did perform a bit of internetz-research and ask, “Why do they say this should be a three-day hike?”
And I said, “I don’t know, maybe they’re weak?”
LAUGH. Stupid, stupid pride. I reserved a campsite for Sunday night, though, bought some food, threw a toothbrush in a backpack and figured we were good to goose.
On Friday and Saturday I banded with the family to participate in the apparently never-ending project of basement revamping, since the recent flood. But, on Sunday, I went to mass, ate some snacks, then drove about 1.5 hours from home to start hiking with my cousin.
Just so you know what you’re dealing with: we’ve both hiked and packed and camped before. In fact, Hanna just returned from hiking the Grand Canyon a week or so ago. So, you’d think (like we did) that we’d be in a good place. You know, I think we would have been…IF THE TRAILS HAD BEEN MAINTAINED.
Sometimes we walked on wide trails, cleared and weeded. Other times, not so much. Think grass to our armpits. And snakes and mosquitoes and poison ivy. Oh, and NO WATER. That was an inhumane touch. I knocked on a few farmhouse doors to assure my hydration.
Still, spirits were high, as evidenced in this 20 second clip of exuberant song:
You can see our steady pace, though. We walked about that fast for most of the trail, trying to arrive at our destination before dark. A goal we FAILED TO REACH, I might add. Also evidenced in video form:
But, a happy story, nonetheless. Also, Pure Michigan being gorgeous, per the usual.
In a nutshell, then: we overestimated ourselves and took two days to hike a trail that should have been hiked in three days. We pushed, we sang, we prayed, we shared. We napped on a footbridge, yodeled to signify “vault toilets, spotted!,” discussed and evaluated at every single POORLY MARKED trail-split. We applied and re-applied bug spray. We talked about poison ivy rash: what it looks like, how to prevent it. We talked about short hair, boys, the Grand Canyon, life choices. You know, the kinds of things you do when you’re young.
At one farmhouse this guy was like, “I’ve walked that trail before.”
We were like, “Where did you find water?”
He was like, “I used a filter.”
And we were slightly repulsed since most of the water was bog-water, at a standstill and full of mosquito-eggs and mud.
Still, anytime I passed some I’d say, “Hanna! Look, some water, refill your water bottle!”
And we’d make faux-accents, “Huh, good thing I brought my water filter!”
In the end, we had the goal of: make it out in time for dinner. We may have found a shorter-cut, but WHATEVER, MAN, we had walked extra mileage both days to find water so, we took it. And we drove to town and…everything was closed. Two joggers were like, “There’s a McDonald’s near the high way.”
Hanna was like, “No way I’m ending this with McDonald’s.”
But we got in the car anyway.
And, on the way to the golden arches, I was like, “Look! A Chinese place!”
That neon “open” sign beckoned and we answered.
God bless the ESL lady who was open for us and us alone. We collapsed into the chairs, our muscles tight and aged. My brain was fried. Rice noodles were on the menu, but only with meat and I was like, “May I have this with tofu? And vegetables?”
And she was like, “OK.”
So, essentially I made a Chinese place make me Thai food.
But, you know, it was delicious.
And we ate and were merry.
And thus we spent a successful Labor Day weekend.
Great news, too, homies: the itches that cover my legs are from mosquitoes…not poison ivy! Yay!
If tired sanguines are happy sanguines, count me exuberant.