This was one of my more difficult hiking days. The weather was gray, rainy and 40 degrees all day long.

I began in the town of Holt and headed south on a 3.5-mile road route toward the Yellow River Water Management Area. It was drizzling most of the time, but nothing too bad. The wind was at my back — yay!

Nancy said trail volunteers were supposed to have trimmed back the trail in the Yellow River area yesterday, but since there was some rain yesterday she wasn’t sure they got there. First, I missed the turn (it wasn’t well marked) and walked about a quarter-mile out of the way. Then, when I got in, it was clear the volunteers hadn’t made it.

The trail was pretty rough, and full of prickly plants that tore at my billowing poncho. Then a steady, heavy drizzle began to fall. I was soon soaked and cold. The rain stopped after maybe an hour. At that point I had to ford a creek. I had planned to take off my boots and shoes and wade across in sandals, but my boots and socks were so water-logged, it didn’t matter. So I plunged through.

When I got out, I had so much water in my boots I had to stop. I actually poured water out of my boots and then wrung out my socks. When I put them back on, my feet got tremendously chilled. I also had only thin, cotton gloves to wear. Not smart of me, especially since I have Raynaud’s Syndrome. I tried to wrap my gloved hands in plastic bags to help protect them, but they still got soaked.

By the time I stopped for lunch, I was pretty miserable. I got out my hand warmers, which helped my hands. But my feet were frozen. So when I started hiking again, I was half-jogging on the trail. That helped; my feet warmed up.

After 11-ish miles the trail spit me out onto a connecting road route of 6.5 miles. The first portion was in a neighborhood. Nancy appeared, bearing a steaming cup of hazelnut coffee for me. WOW! She is so awesome. That put a spring in my step. Then THREE people stopped their cars to see if I needed a ride into town. Restores your faith in humanity.

My final 2.1 miles were along a highway under construction — which was great, because I got to walk on the new portion cordoned off from traffic.

When I reached Nancy, I was chilled once again and so glad to be done. That wonderful woman handed me a contained of hot soup for my dinner tonight! She is honestly so awesome.

Snowshoe

©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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