A river runs through it.

01/13/24 – DAY 235 – MILE 1609

Today, I finished the northern East -to- West leg across the top of the county, crossing over the Withlacoochee and Little Rivers in the process. Peters, Cat, Beatty Mill, Franks, and Meeting House Branch Creeks were traversed as well. Tomorrow I’ll head South to the Withlacoochee River again where it crosses US 84 West (just the other side of Ousley) on my way thru Clyattville, to the Florida line. It looks like the Jumping Gulley Creek will be the last drain flow I’ll step over as I make my way back to the starting point, east of Dasher. Currently, I’m roughly halfway round this cooked wheel on the Lowndes wagon which means, I ain’ta gonna make it to the 2200 mile target without teetering along the spokes of a few county roads. And that’ll take a few more days.

Which reminds me; A friend, Stuart Smith, asked how could it possibly take that long (18 months) to walk that distance. I now realize that the answer is more complicated than my wisenheimer quip, “well, ya gotta do laundry some time”. Inching along at an average of 8 miles a day is only part of what contributes to my slow motion. If I were in the remote wilderness of the Appalachians, the ONLY thing there is to do is eat, sleep and walk…there –is- no laundry (outside of the occasional rinse & ring of that Tee you’re not wearing). There’s no trips to Home Depot with the associated repairs, no yard work, no trips to town for provisions, no cooking, no do’in dishes, no trash to take, no vacuum to run, no automotive or mechanical detail, no attending appointments, no answering callers and doing their bidding, no paying bills, no hiring contractors, no tending pets and family (in that order), no tedious errand to run, no gettin round to that honey dew,  no barber, not even a proper bath, (outside of the occasional “Possible” which is washing UP as far as possible then washing DOWN as far as possible). Then there’s the inescapable lures of modren attractions like dinner or a movie (with $30 popcorn), kneeling in worship before the blue eyed cyclops to take in the game and to rant when –that- presidential candidate appears, or being consumed as prey by the algorithmic appetite of beasts that dwell inside the net. I even had the temerity to leave town once. Then there are pleasures which are simpler but equally time consuming like reading a book or going for a walk…or taking a damn nap! Basically, the thru hiker just Eats – Sleeps – & Walks. I call it the Tortoise and Hare comfort tradeoff formulae, (the arithmetic of which is not nearly as complicated as the “blubber math” cited in an earlier post). It postulates, The number of minutes the hare saves by accomplishing a task in hyper-efficient time, is filled with an equal number of new tasks he’ll feel compelled to do. The more time saved, the more to get done. Conversely with the tortoise, for every extra minute he spends getting a job done in half time he has an equal number of extra sounds to take in, sights to behold, fragrances to analyze, herbs to savor, and vibrations to absorb. Consequently he’ll arrive at station, on average, in about 80 years, looong after the hare gets there in only about 4. The tortoise is the wiser for realizing that crossing the finish line, as is true for the hare, is a certainty. It’s all about the journey, not the race.

Let’s go for a slow walk.

Quote of the week: 

Annabel Street     –52 Ways to Walk

“Go for a walk in the rain. Walking in rain awakens our sense of smell. Rain releases scents from trees, plants, and soil imbuing the landscape with startling complex fragrences. It comes from compounds created and released by a group of oils that plants secrete to prevent them growing too vigorously in periods of dry weather. First noticed on dry clay (argillaceous) soils, where it is most marked, this pungent earth-after-rain scent is known as petrichor.” *

  • I remember as a child growing up around a dirt road and that very smell emitted from the dirt, just as rain began to fall, lingers still. So remember, leaving your comfort zone doesn’t always entail the shock of  a polar bear plunge or a sweat lodge. There are more temporate “discomforts” that yield equal delights. Don’t be too cowed by comfort to seek pleasures hidden by discomfort.