Today’s goal was Wauseon, and specifically its Wabash Park. I’d arranged an end-of-day shuttle with Trail Angel Marianne, so I once again drove to Alvordton and parked my car in the same small, gravel lot across from a church where I’d parked yesterday. Once again, I placed a note in my windshield that said I was hiking the NCT and would be back at night. I did this yesterday and today because the town is very small; I didn’t want locals wondering why this strange car from Wisconsin was parked there.
Anyway, the day began very foggy and cold. I’d purchased a new light to affix to my coat or backpack, but darned if I could find it. Since the first 6 miles or so (10 km) were on the road, I made sure to stay as far off to the side as I could, and to constantly be aware of traffic. There was actually quite a bit on this stretch between Alvordton and West Unity to the south. I enjoyed passing this snowman, as the weather has been so wintry, it seemed appropriate.
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I was pretty cold when I hit West Unity, but the trail winds through town and I found a cafe to duck into. After ordering some coffee, I enjoyed a short break to warm up. That helped a lot. From the cafe, the trail heads a few blocks farther south, then hooks into the Wabash Cannonball Trail, a 66-mile (106.2 km) multiuse trail, which you take eastbound.
This path was dirt and largely flat, and the rest of the day was uneventful, with similar scenery. One fun thing: between West Unity and Elmira, two deer were constantly on the path ahead of me. They were far enough ahead that I couldn’t take a photo. But every time I got somewhat close to them, they’d take off with their white tails up in high-alert fashion.
This continued on for about 6 miles (10 km), I think, until Elmira, or perhaps one town sooner. At this point, if the deer continued to run ahead of me, they’d have to cross a busy road. So at this point, they veered to the south and ran through farm fields. I never saw them after that.
Also, around Elmira my husband called to say I needed to call the sheriff in Alvordton. It was about my car. I thought he was going to say someone broke into it, but apparently a local didn’t realize I’d moved the car last night and re-parked there this morning. They thought the car was there two days straight, and since my note said I’d be back that night, they were worried something had happened to me. I have no idea how they were able to link the car to my husband (and the call came through his boss, no less), but it was nice to see people concerned.
Wauseon and Marianne
The trail dumps you into Wauseon in an industrial area. Once past that, it begins to wind through pleasant green space. I met Marianne when the trail hit Waubash Park, and she shuttled me back to get my car. I had planned to camp at nearby Oak Openings, but the weather was bad and Marianne generously offered up her house. I’m glad I took her up on her offer! Her home, with its special hiker room, is just lovely. The company is nice, too, as is the warmth. You meet so many kind people when you undertake a long-distance hike. It truly restores your faith in humanity.
NCT Miles Today: 21.3 (34.3 km)
Ohio NCT miles to date: 25 (40.2 km)
Total NCT miles to date: 1,963.8 (3,160.4 km)
Total NCT miles to go: 2,636.2 (4,242.6 km)
Some of my favorite hiking gear for cold, wet spring days: this Six Moon hiking umbrella and my Solomon gaiters. I’d neglected to wear them today, thinking I didn’t need them. Ha! I dumped out a handful of gravel in that cafe. I also see that the gaiters I’m linking to above are red. I’ve never seen red ones before; I have black. I may need to buy a pair of red ones for fun!