Today’s trek to Lockington Lock was … fine. Not every day on the trail features amazing scenery and great weather. I had nice scenery, OK weather and one fun surprise. But first, a look at last night.
As I was turning in, my weather app suddenly showed a chance of rain and/or snow overnight. No! Luckily, there was no precipitation. But when I got up, the forecast now called for possible rain in the morning. I got dressed and moved my sleeping pad and quilt away from the tent edges in case it rained while I was hiking. I was going to make breakfast, but was so cold I decided to take Tim and Debbi up on their offer of having breakfast at Morrie’s, a place just across the road.
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Heading to Lockington Lock
I got there early, and did some work. When the two arrived, we enjoyed a great breakfast. Best of all, I was warm and the temperatures were rising as we ate. After breakfast, the three of us caravanned to Lockington Lock, where I dropped my car. THen they drove me back to Lake Loramie, and I was off. It was 10:30, which is so late to start a 21-mile (33.8 km) hike. But the daylight lasts so long here on Eastern Time.
The first several miles from the state park wind through Fort Loramie, a cute little town. At one point, you have to walk through people’s backyards to access the canal towpath, which seems like trespassing. I finally spotted a blaze on a utility box, which made me feel better. After that you walk on the towpath a tiny bit, then are back on the roads for a few miles.
Technically, we should be walking on the towpath in this area. The state owns the canal and towpath. But I’m told the state initially leased the land on/around the towpath to farmers, who knew the state had an easement re: the canal and towpath. But at some point, the land was sold to the farmers, who still had to abide by the easement. Some didn’t understand, believing the land was now theirs to control. Rather than confront these people, the Buckeye Trail Association decided to be a good neighbor and reroute around these areas.
The Day Turns Interesting
Once past the cranky farmer, the path again goes through the woods. The spring wildflowers continue to brighten my way. Around mile 11, there is a shelter built by the Boy Scouts. Shortly after that, the path is severely eroded. Please be careful here. A young woman in Wisconsin died recently when she was on such a piece of trail and it crumbled beneath her.
Increasingly, there were downed trees along the way, although nothing too difficult. Then I faced several miles of road walking, sometimes with a lot of traffic. It was here that I got a message from Mike Gormley. I met Mike back in 2017, when I thru-hiked the Florida Trail. He shuttled me around Lake Okeechobee, Mike is originally from Ohio but now lives in Florida. But he returns to Ohio every summer.
Mike saw on Facebook that I was hiking the NCT now. He happened to be coming to Ohio early this year. He’d been hoping to help with a shuttle again, but the timing wasn’t quite right. Still, he managed to time his travel so that we met up today about 3 miles (5 km) before Lockington. We even happened to run into each other right where there was a farm access path where he could easily pull over in his camper.
We had a short, but nice, chat. Life is so fun and random and interesting.
Back at Camp
Had another great shower at camp, ate dinner and am writing this in the car, as it’s getting cold again. The next two nights I’ll be in a motel, which will be nice.
NCT Miles Today: 20.8 (33.5 km)
Ohio NCT miles to date: 177.9 (286.3 km)
Total NCT miles to date: 2,116.7 (3,406.5 km)
Total NCT miles to go: 2,483.3 (3,996.5 km)
Today’s most valuable gear: My Hot Hands hand warmers (this brand is the best, by far) and my Therm-a-Rest inflatable sitting pad (yes, I have the green one!).