Friday, May 5, 2017

Halfway Day

Time flies when you're getting rained on.  As we finished the first stage of our journey - the farm-road section - the sunny breezy spring weather gave over to exceptionally heavy rain.  Pilgrim life...we walk in the rain.  We listen to reason when it comes to lightning blasting in an adjacent field. Farmers have been taking care of us.  We discovered in this fieldtest of ours that a key bridge is designed to let a river pass over it in heavy rain and the detour involves a long stretch on a narrow highway.  Listen to the locals. Wet weather adds 2 miles to our route.

After getting into Clinton on 81 miles of gravel farm roads, we stepped onto the Katy Trail, a perfectly surfaced bicycling and walking path, high and dry and rather direct.  It is a superb way to go, surprisingly easier on mind and foot, since no thinking is necessary beyond direction...keep heading east.

So quickly, it seems to me (but maybe not my companions who enjoy many more hours walking every day than I) we've just finished the second stage adding 77 miles to the first. This stage along the Katy Trail wends through the countryside and its old farmsteads and small towns, in some cases ghost towns.  The trail heads have very nice information panels and annotated old photos revealing the historical points cherished by the residents. Park benches add convenience for foot pilgrims.

There has been no hardship in finding accommodation within our design bracket of every 10 to 15 miles, averaging 13 miles - a half marathon - with a maximum of 16.  Seven nights we were hosted by the local Catholic church, although four of those nights we were accommodated in the homes of parishioners; five nights we were hosted by local Protestant churches; one night we slept in the local community hall, but only because it was easier for a local resident to confirm with other residents than with the church elders of the Protestant church.

We've now reached the Missouri River, the end of our second stage and a few miles short of the halfway point. From here to the destination, the Katy Trail travels right along the riverbank.  Our patron St Rose Philippine took the steamboat on the river back in the day. We'll walk downstream on the trail.

We've walked in high spirits 158 miles in 12 days and have 176 miles to go in the next 13 days.

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