Sunday, November 8, 2015

Day 8 Along the Overland Trail

For those thinking that I'm some sort of super-pilgrim, rest assured, my feet hurt just as much as the next pilgrim's.  With them elevated and resting after a particularly asphalt-y day, though, I can put aside the tender throbs and report that I'm again a happy little pilgrim.  Middle America is as good a pilgrimland as anywhere... people are friendly, gracious, and generous, especially with that left-over Halloween candy that seems to work its way into the side pockets of my backpack so easily.

Walking out of the city limits along the South Platte River - described in a novel as being 'too dry to drink, to wet to plow' - I haven't let the rustling golden cottonwoods out of my sight for these nearly 200 miles.  When I've been wedged away from the banks of the river, the farm tracks and stubbly cornfields have been by and large serving me well, although I've popped out on paved country highways a few times to walk the hypotenuse rather than the right angles when necessary... the farm roads commonly seen from the air score the earth into a grid with tidy one-mile spacing - due north, due east.  Songbirds entertain me; flustered pheasants startle me; leaping deer and pronghorns delight me; and whatever little critters slither beneath the ground cover politely keep hidden from me.  Approaching the border with Nebraska, I'm traveling on the Overland Route used by countless westward pioneers back in the day, 150 years ago, and there are scattered information plaques telling some of the details, mostly where sod houses used to be, cornfields and feedlots now.

I yearn for proper winter weather as soon as possible, since carrying my snowshoes and heavy winter clothes has made for an uncomfortable first week of hazing for my legs... on the wee pilgrimages I led from San Luis to Chimayo in September and from Oneida to Auriesville in October, I carried an airy 12 pounds; it served as little training for the compacted 22 pounds I'm now hucking on my back waiting for some good cold highs.  Since it's cold enough in the morning, I can bundle up and make good time until late morning when the bold sunshine forces it off my body onto my pack, only to slow my progress.  The vistas are expansive, so provide huge areas to occupy my mind and take the focus away from my whimpering puppies.

I'm on track toward Lincoln for Thanksgiving and encourage all pilgrims to consider making a pilgrimage across America - it's really wonderful.  People are good - better than good.

   ... and Michele in Ottawa, my faithful pilgrim follower for these many years now - look for me in that neck of the woods in late February / early March, depending on the snow and weather, eh...


pilgrimpoustinik said...

I've got my world atlas out, Ann, and am following you day by day. Pax. Pilgrim George

janincolorado said...

Checking on you, and happy to see you are being cared for. Was there any doubt?!
We are working on our Spanish -- gracias.
Buen Camino. Peregrina Jan

Michèle Dextras said...

Dear Ann, I love to read your posts, you have a writing style that allows me to visualize the countryside you walk through. I would love to meet you when you come through Ottawa and maybe I will find a way to make it back. We are snow birds and we spend the winter months in Florida. I could arrange for you to stay with someone else if you like. Keep on trekking!


Darlene said...

Are you coming through toronto? this pilgrim would be happy to put you up!

Anonymous said...

That wind at your back must really help. God Bless, Fr. Andrew Kurz.

Jennifer said...

Hi Ann! It's been many days since you passed through Crook Colorado. We enjoyed having you and hope you're doing well. We are curious where you are these days? God bless you.

Petra Wolf said...

Hi Ann,wish you a rich pilgrimage. Yes, the US is pilgrims Country, the people are so great an helpful!! Mike and I am are still in India. We will be back in the US in the middle of March. See you!!