I’m generally a purist. If I’m going to thru-hike a trail, I like to hike it from one end to the other. No interruptions, no switching back and forth. But not this time.

Due to my not-quite-healthy feet, I didn’t think it was wise to do 80 miles straight on blacktop (western bifurcation). So today I did the last 12.5 miles of the western bifurcation, up to Chaffee Creek. Then I started in on Chaffee Creek and headed west. I’ll pick up the rest of the western bifurcation next week, when I briefly return home to catch a performance of “The Newsies.”

The bifurcation miles I did were actually quite lovely. The day was sunny and cool, and the scenery in this part of the state is just beautiful. A lot of fragrant pine forests and pretty, bucolic scenery.

The trails were wonderful, too, of course. They’re some of my favorites. Who doesn’t like hiking through a giant culvert under I-39?! And how can you not enjoy Mecan River? I like the river portions, naturally, but I also love the expansive rolling field at the end. I was able to hike the new little piece of trail — I believe part of Mecan River — that was recently added off of Cumberland Avenue. Nice! I like the furniture in the Greenwood segment, too.

Tonight we’re staying with Agnes at the Mecan River House. The place is great, and Agnes is a gem. So friendly and hospitable. (She always lets me wash my hiking duds, too.) I highly recommend it if you’re in the area.

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