Hiker Challenge Section 4 – Day 2: More Roads

Just Walking a Road

I slept well the night before and woke up around 6:00. The other guys were already starting to pack up and we were all finished by 7:00. I went to the café area, filled up my water bottles, ate some breakfast, and then headed out with the same group.

This day was 13 miles, and all roads again. Roads and my feet do not get along, and even walking in Skechers didn’t help my feet! I seriously considered just leaving and not walking this road! But I stuck through it and finished it.

There were no large uphill climbs on this section of the road, and instead, we had another long descent. After this climb down the hill, we stopped at a small, abandoned park near the Kentucky River to have a light lunch and rest before finishing up the last four miles.

These miles passed quickly by, and at the end, we all waited about 15 minutes for the shuttle to take us back to Lago Linda. The worst part of this whole section is that the shuttle drove the same road we walked right back to our cars. The Trace is a multi-use trail in several locations, I should have driven my car super slow on this section and called it done.

I made it home with no issues and had a nice treat of an empty house. My wife and daughters took a trip to Ikea, so I was able to rest around the house for the evening.

Let’s talk about dogs.

The worst part about these road walks in Kentucky is that they are all country roads, with houses right next to the road, and lots of dogs! Ask anyone who has hiked this section, and I am sure that they will have a unique dog story to tell. Luckily, I have been able to avoid any serious encounters that lead to harm, but it has been close a few times.

For the most part, the dogs will bark at you and run at you, but most of them will stop short of getting too close. I have read up on how to safely de-escalate a situation with dogs and I come prepared with pepper spray. I only had one encounter that was close to being dangerous, and that came within a mile of Lago Linda. Right when I turned onto the road that leads to Lago Linda, I encountered two dogs that were super aggressive and quickly had me pinned. Their owners were working outside at the time and came over to get them quickly, so I was able to avoid a worse situation.

If I hike the Sheltowee Trace again in the future, I will definitely skip this section if it is still routed the same way. The trail association is working with local landowners to re-route the Trace off of these roads, but as of now they have not had any success. The road walking is not worth it to me, and neither is dealing with these dogs.

Foothills Trail Update

I am about a month away from my Foothills Trail thru-hike. Along with the recent Backpacker Radio episode that covered Chaunce’s thru-hike, I bought a pocket guide and a map to help me plan my mileage. The pocket guide has a useful outline for five, six, or seven-day hikes, and I used that to build a rough plan for campsites. I intend to hike the trail in six days, but I do not like the guide’s six-day plan, which included a 17-mile last day, going up and down Sassafras Mountain. That seemed a little off to me, so I used Far Out to zoom in and look at possible campsites and create specific routes. I created six routes of my own and ended up with no days over 15 miles and what look to be some pretty good campsites. I will be staying at Laurel Fork Falls and a site close to the top of Sassafras Mountain! If the weather holds, I should end the hike with a pretty epic sunset and sunrise.

I wasn’t sure how much advance notice I would need to provide to shuttle drivers, but I took the chance that the earlier the better. I chose to use Taz for my shuttle, and he had one spot left on the day I would be starting! On our initial call, he was very informative and easily guided me through some first steps, with advice on where to stay the night before, the shuttle procedure, and the food caching option. I felt very comfortable talking with him, and even though he is a busy guy I did not feel rushed at all!

While I don’t need to make any major gear changes or updates, there are a few minor things that I decided to add to my gear. I went ahead and purchased some toothpaste tablets, compressed tissues, and some freeze-dried meals. I use an alcohol stove for my cooking setup, so I also purchased another small bottle to take with me to carry a little more fuel. I usually just need one ounce of fuel to boil two cups of water, and my current bottle holds eight ounces of fuel. I will need to cook at least 12 times while on the trail, so I needed a way to take a little more fuel.

Now I am planning my travel to the trailhead and where I will stay the night before. There are several small towns within 30-40 minutes of the trailhead, so I will probably opt for them so that I can start out with a hearty breakfast the day of!

I have also started exercising more, focusing on some calisthenics and leg-strengthening exercises, and that has been going extremely well so far. All in all, I am pumped for this trail and will be counting down the days!

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 2

  • Ed : Apr 2nd

    When I bicycled we used to carry a small airhorn (boat horn/party horn) for when the dogs got aggressive.

    • Richard Murray : Apr 3rd

      Yep, that is one thing I had heard about also! I forgot about it when it came time to hike this section though. But it is certainly something to think about for future hikes.


What Do You Think?