Trail Magic From Triple Crowners
ECT Day 253&254
Day 253: 28 miles
This morning we were up fairly early and packed up. I’ve felt so much more energized these last few days. Back in Canada our schedule was all out of whack. Some days we would wake up really early or stay up super later. That would make it really hard sometimes to wake up and get moving in the morning. My goal for this next leg of my journey is to have a good routine.
We left the church and began walking around 7:15am. Within the first few miles of the day we went by a gas station. That made for a perfect breakfast stop. I got a couple of breakfast sandwiches and a coffee drink. Beer Run was able to charge his electronics a bit. Then we kept on walking.
My body is feeling quite sore today. I’m definitely feeling the fact that I took a whole week off trail. My right foot has been bothering me a bit on and off. The backs of both of my knees are pretty sore. But KT tape has helped those area a lot. Though I will say that my calf/right knee has been feeling way better. If this keeps up I really do think that that injury is finally going to heal! It just took 2 months hiking on it day in and day out.
Leaving the gas station, we walked for another couple of hours. Then stopped off along the side of the road in a sunny spot. There is a lot of moisture in the air down here, so our gear was wet from last night. Plus, I’m pretty damn tired today! I think yesterday’s 35-mile day took it out of me a bit. It just feels like I’m slogging along today slowly but surely.
When we left there, we continued down a road which would bring us past some more stores today. The other route that we could take was basically the same distance. But it wouldn’t bring us past any gas stations or stores today. I’m enjoying carrying as little food as possible and am going to try to keep that up if I can.
We continued on and walked for another couple of hours. Then came to a small gas station and store. The building was very vintage looking which I thought was cool. There was a cute kitty outside when we got there so I played outside with her. I almost fell in love and had to bring her along to Key West. There are so many stray animals down here it’s sad. But no animal wants to tag along for the journey that were on. That’s just cruel in my opinion.
Inside the store we grabbed a couple drinks and then continued along. It was only another 4 miles or so to the next store. The time absolutely flew by, and we were at the next one in the blink of an eye. At this next gas station, we decided to take a longer break and grab a bite to eat. I got some Buffalo nuggets and a slice of pizza. I also got a Perrier water which I was craving for some odd reason.
The two of us sat outside the shop and talked to some locals. Everyone has been really curious about what we’re doing. It’s been complicated though telling people about our years. Beer Run and I both have basically been hiking all year long. But we did two very different hikes. Everyone we meet is assuming that we are doing the same thing. So we’ve just been telling everyone that we are walking from Alabama to Key West. That’s much simpler than explaining the whole situation.
At this point in the day, we were about 16 miles in and we’re hoping to do about 11 more. So after eating we got moving again. There isn’t really much where we’re heading. But if we make good time, we’ll be able to hit one more gas station before the end of the day. Then hopefully camp by a church across from the gas station in Panola.
When we left that gas station, I packed out a cup of boiled peanuts to eat while I walked. Those bad boys are a killer southern snack. After another hour or so of walking we went past another gas station. It was closed, but I was able to fill up water at the spigot alongside the building.
From there we only had another 7 miles to go for the day. I was feeling pretty sluggish to be honest. We stopped off for a quick break before pushing through those last miles of the day. Yesterday definitely took its toll on me today.
Over the next stretch of miles along the road I had a pretty close call with an off-leash dog. Beer Run was up ahead of me at this point. When he walked by this one house in particular the dogs didn’t seem to notice. But when I walked past a pit bull ran out of the yard and right at me. It was barking and ran right up to me, so for a second I thought it was gonna try to bite me. I screamed at the dog to stay back and eventually it backed down. For a second though I was a little worried. The road walking is making me damn brave.
We wound up walking until about 7:30pm. At this point we got into Panola which had a small store that closed at 8pm. We were able to grab a couple drinks there. Then walked across the street to the church. The church was clearly not operating, and the yard was overgrown. But we were able to set up there for the night.
Once I got my tent set up, I laid in there and stretched. Then I ate a little something and scrolled on my phone before calling it a night.
Day 254: 27 miles
This morning we woke up pretty early at the church. I slept great last night! I’ve been sleeping like a baby so far along the Alabama road walk. We got packed up and ready to walk again.
I was pleasantly surprised that I was feeling much less sore today. My right foot has been bothering me the last couple days. But this morning getting up it was notably better. Like always I’m just hoping it’s something that will resolve itself in a couple of days.
Once we got moving, we wound up walking for about 3 hours. Then around 9:30am we stopped off by the sign for a church. We took a short break there and then kept moving. Yesterday it wound up getting pretty damn hot. And by 10am today it was already unbelievably hot.
While we walked, I talked on the phone with my dad. Then I got some writing done as we walked the road. I felt pretty productive after all of that. We walked for a couple more hours in the heat of the day. I was sweating like crazy and wound up using my Gossamer Gear sun umbrella for most of the day.
Around 1pm we were both low on water. I saw that we would be passing by another church and was hopeful that they would have a spigot outside. Most of the churches along the Alabama road walk have water spigots to use and allow you to camp on the property. This church fortunately did have a spigot! And a couple who was parked on the property in their RV let us use the bathrooms inside.
We took a much-needed break there and were able to get out of the sun. The heat is definitely taking some getting used to. The last few days I got some hives and rashes on my legs from the heat. My body is still used to Canada. It’s an adjustment period for sure.
When we left that church, we walked for another 2-3 hours. The walking was a little brutal honestly. The road was hot and I was feeling exhausted. I listened to music and tried to get some writing done. Then around 3pm we passed by yet another church. Alabama is full of churches! Beer Run sat down in the yard there, so I joined him. We took a breather there before we kept moving.
Today a couple of Beer Runs friends are planning on meeting us along the road. They also just finished the CDT as their triple crown trail. After walking another few miles, a car drove by us and the people inside were honking and waving. It must have been them!
Sloppy Joe and Ketchup Daddy pulled off and we stopped to hang out with them. They were both super nice people and it was great to put faces to the names. Beer Run finished the trail with them and said he had a blast hiking together with them.
They brought us the most massive double cheeseburgers with fries and a drink. That was such an amazing treat after a long day of walking. We weren’t going to go past any stores or anything today either. All of us hung out by their car and I started eating the massive burger. It was one of the best burgers that I’ve had a year! I’ll even have some leftover to pack out for dinner tonight.
We hung out with Sloppy Joe and Ketchup Daddy for a while until it began to get dark. It was really nice to meet them both. I’m so impressed by couples who triple crown together. There’s no better way to know whether you’ve found your person. You really would have to love someone and be compatible with someone to thru hike together at all. Let alone triple crown together!
Around 5:30pm we said goodbye to them and got moving again. We were hoping to do another 4 miles to get to a church. The churches have been perfect for sleeping recently. Especially showing up after dark. We don’t have to bother anyone or talk to anyone. Just get there and set up camp.
We got to the church after an hour or so and it was perfect once again. There was a nice grassy area to get set up. Plus a spigot for water, and outlets to charge up overnight. I set my tent up and then washed up a bit in the spigot. After that I got back into my tent to call it a night.
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