Today’s hike to Lake Loramie State Park was a good one overall, although there were snags along the way. But that’s what I always tell people – every day you hike, something goes awry, whether a big thing or little one.
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When I broke camp this morning, it was below freezing and frost coated my tent, the grass and my car. Brrr! I stashed my sleeping pad, still inflated, in the car, and hastily folded up my tent. I ate breakfast in the car, too.
My shuttlers, Tim and Debbi, had camped at Lake Loramie last night, and had reservations again for tonight. I had reservations for tonight and tomorrow. When I arrived at the state park to meet them for the shuttle back to Lock 14, I asked the rangers if I could set up my tent now, if no one had been on my site last night. I figured this way my tent could dry out while I hiked. They said yes, so I set up my tent on site 98, a pretty spot by the lake that was once a reservoir for the Miami & Erie Canal. I weighed it down with gallons of water, as it was a tad windy. But not as bad as the last few days.
Making My Way Back to Lake Loramie
Once my tent was up, Tim and Debbi picked me up at my campsite, then drove me back to Lock 14. And then I was off. The first 6 or so miles (10 km) were along a crushed gravel path alongside the St. Mary’s River. It was a pleasant, enjoyable stroll. I then hit St. Mary’s, where I lunched in a pavilion with picnic tables and garbage cans – score!
Just past the pavilion, there’s a replica canal boat being pulled by a mule, which was interesting. Heading out of St. Mary’s, the path led to a series of narrow bridges over a bunch of pipes and spillways, and who-knows-what. I wonder if this is “the tumble,” something noted on signs along the canal, but never identified. It was fun.
After the tumble, there were a few more small, narrow bridges to cross. I was a little unsettled because there were so many geese here, and I know it’s the time of year when they’re protective of their goslings. And geese can be really mean and aggressive; I was attacked by one about a decade ago. Luckily, the geese behaved.
Nearing Lake Loramie
The morning had been chilly with a little wind, but the sun helped make it a pleasant hike. As the day wore on, it got cloudy and felt chillier. The path became grassy and very overgrown in parts, which slowed me down.
Around 3 p.m., I got a call from the state park staff saying that I was supposed to be on site 97, not 98, and the folks who had reserved 98 were here. Could I return ASAP? Also, my tent had been blowing around and a man saw it and rescued it right before it tumbled into the river. Yikes!
I was some 10 miles (16.1 km) from the park, so it would take more than three hours to return. I quickened my pace.
Back at Camp
More craziness when I arrived. I went to move my tent and belongings to site 97, but it was wet and muddy. I asked if I could take another one across the road. Sure, they said. So I started setting up there, but then a ranger drove up and said that was a site for RVs. I moved to yet another site. Sigh. Luckily, Tim and Debbi helped me move. And secure the tent; it was still very windy.
On the plus side, this park had hot showers that were open for the season, so I took a nice shower, ate dinner, then joined Tim and Debbi around their campfire. They are super nice people, and so generous to help me so many days. Just another thing to love about long-distance hiking!
NCT Miles Today: 19.7 (31.7 km)
Ohio NCT miles to date: 157.1 (252.8 km)
Total NCT miles to date: 2,095.9 (3,373 km)
Total NCT miles to go: 2,504.1 (4,030 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!).