Today’s goal was Lantana Drive, some 18 miles (29 km) away. Maura was going to pick me up at 4 p.m. at Budget Car Rental, where I was dropping off my car. To make sure I’d be there in time, I arranged a 7:30 a.m. Lyft ride from Doncaster State Forest. I prayed the car would come on time.
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But first, a look at last night. The forecast called for storms during a two-hour window overnight, so I put everything away in the car (stove, sit pad, etc.). I didn’t drape my towel over my tent to block the light from the campground street light since I didn’t want it to get wet in the rain. Of course, it didn’t end up raining. But that was just as well.
Striking Out for Lantana Drive
Anyway, I got up at 5 a.m. and broke camp, ate a hasty breakfast and made my way to Lantana Drive. Thankfully, the Lyft driver was just 10 minutes later than promised, so I was able to start hiking at 8:22 a.m. This would help in my battle against the brutal heat we’ve been having.
My first few hours were great. While I was walking on county roads and small highways, they were largely shaded and it wasn’t too hot or humid. Still, after two hours I had to change my shorts, which were dripping sweat down my legs.
Battling the Heat
After I’d logged half the day’s miles, the path wound onto more open roads with little shade. My hiking umbrella was a godsend. After this experience, I will never hike in hot weather without one. The temps hit 95 F (35 C).
The highlight of the day came when I was passing some wetlands. A Great Blue Heron was standing on the side of the road just a yard (meter) away from me. Just as I realized it was there, it saw me and took to the air with a great flapping of its wings. I couldn’t get my phone out in time to take a photo. Rats. But how cool! And how crazy that while I’ve seen a lot of Great Blue Herons before, the closest I’ve been is here, on this rather urban hiking trail!
I drank about a gallon of water today, much of it with electrolyte mixes, yet still didn’t have to pee. I changed my shorts three times and my shirt twice (although both could have been changed more).
Day Is Done
Thankfully, I somehow was able to keep up my 3 mph (5 kph) pace. I finished around 3:15 p.m., then washed up at my car (discreetly, of course), which was parked in a cul-de-sac.
From there it was to Budget to drop off my car, where I met Maura. She drove me back to her place. While we were driving, there was a deluge. Thank goodness I wasn’t hiking or camping.
The forecast calls for another five days of this horrendous heat. I hope I can make it.
Today’s Miles: 18.9 (30.4 km)
PHT Miles to Date: 175.6 (282.6 km)
PHT Miles to Go: =574.4 (924.4 km)