Sandals or boots for walking

In the many books I’ve been reading about taking long (multiday) walks some people advocate using hiking sandals (or even less sturdy sandals) than boots. So I thought I’d give it a try. Clearly, backpacking on rough trails with a heavy load requires good boots, but what about light loads on relatively smooth trails, like the rails-to-trails conversions I do around here. So I got a pair of Keen Newports and am breaking them in. These are sturdy walking sandals with thick soles (almost as good as my boots) so they’re not that much lighter. One idea advocating sandals is that weight on your feet requires even more energy than weight in your pack since you’re moving your feet (and not much a pack) so even relatively small reduction in weight saves energy. So far I can’t tell if that’s true but I haven’t gone as far with new sandals as previously I’d done in boots.

Clearly the sandals, even the closed toe types (which I consider essential as protection), are a bit cooler. And, at least compared to high top boots, I have more flexibility in ankle – good for sitting, not as good on rough rocky trails where twisting an ankle is possible. But the real issue may be water. Clearly tromping through even a shallow stream is tough on boots (walking on wet boots and socks is a good way to: a) get blisters, b) wear out the inner linings of the boots, as I’ve done before). But I have to wear socks, to avoid blisters from the back strap on sandals, so getting wet isn’t going to be much fun either way. And in light rain (as opposed to actual crossing water) my feet do get wet quickly, but as I’ve found on long hikes in rain, anything short of waterproof boots (bad for sweating feet), will get wet sooner or later and be semi miserable.

So I don’t yet have enough experience to declare any results. But one problem I’ve always had with sandals, these new ones included, is that somehow the manufacturing process creates some “bumps” in the inner sole (never had this with multiple pairs of boots) and so I get a little stress on bottom of feet, especially in these new sandals on left foot (two bumps). I don’t understand why this happens but thus far it’s be consistently true – never in boots, always in sandals. So I’m a bit nervous doing my longest walk, to date (planned for next week) with the sandals instead of the known trustworthy boots. Since I’ll have support (i.e. a car a phonecall away) next week I suppose I’ll try the sandals since any problems won’t be as bad as one a multiday hike in nowhere, with no support.

So actually, thus far, I think the issue is just more trendiness and fashion than actual suitability for walking, but perhaps over time I’ll be able to add more data to suggest which is the superior choice. But I’m relatively sure the most popular (and open-toed) sandals are not for me.

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Got both ends of Wabash now

Today I popped over to Council Bluffs, to Bass Pro Shops, to get a pair of Keen Newport sandals. Some people swear by sandals as superior to boots, at least for relatively smooth trails without full backpacking load. So I thought I’d give it a try. So to test my new sandals I headed to the nearest part of the Wabash, the very start of the trail in the northernmost part, so here’s the bits I’ve done now, with both the southern and northern terminus covered, at least a short distance:

Wabash3

The tiny magenta dot (at southeast end of trail) is the one mile I did at Blanchard, just near the Iowa/Missouri border but today I did the northernmost part from the parking lot at the trailhead. So now, just in case you didn’t have any other references, this is where the trail goes, just connect the dots!

So with today’s hike I’ve covered 28.7 miles, which is all out-and-back and thus only half in linear distance, of about 14.3 miles out of the 63 mile total, or 22.7% of the entire trail. The northernmost point is N41.21854 W95.81769 and the southernmost point is N40.57923 W95.22459.

What I hope to do soon, with car support is Mineola to Malvern which will fill in a big chunk of the middle of the northern part of the trail – not sure if I’ll use sandals or boots. But I need to get some miles since it is warming up and soon will be too hot and muggy for any more hiking for about four months. So hopefully my tracklog starts filling in.

It’s nice to have a fairly good trail so close to home but nonetheless it takes a bit of “expedition” to do any more segments.

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Carly Fiorina for President!

You’ve got to be kidding! While some of the other Repug candidates will fill in this primary seasons “clown car” with even sillier candidates I can’t believe Carly is even trying. Why? She got clobbered in the California Senate race. She got fired from McCain’s campaign as finance director. And, of course, she got fired from HP. What a record to run on!

Now of course she has no chance, but does she really believe she does (pull an Obama, a near-novice to beat the established candidate (Hillary, now Jeb for Carly). Is she delusional? Does she love politics so much she has to stay in it, despite having no chance> Or does she like flying around on a private plane and staying in lots of hotels paid for by gullible contributors? Does she know she has no chance?

In her recent interview she is claiming her vast business experience is her main qualification! You’ve got to be kidding – ruining HP, costing shareholders billions, getting fired (and before that partly ruining AT&T, as much as she could at her job level). And she claims she knows “economics” (come on, Carly, who are you kidding?). If audacity qualified one for President then maybe she’s a credible candidate, but exactly what does she know about being President (she didn’t even know how to be CEO of HP which is far easier).

It’s kinda pathetic really, the Stassen or Wilkie of today’s world trying to get attention. Cruz will eat her alive. And if by some chance she got the nomination Hillary will destroy her, even more than Barbara Boxer did. So, I’m cheering her on, go Carly, get the nomination so the Dems can retain the Presidency in 2016 and prevent the Repugs from melting the U.S. down to a Greece.

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Wabash Trace hiking

I’m on a roll, another long hike on the Wabash Trace in five days. I was going to go yesterday but things got in the way and I’m glad I didn’t as it was cold and rainy, even a little slushy snow. Not the best day for hiking. Today was better, clear and cold in the morning, cloudy and cold in the afternoon.

I did four different segments today. Starting from a few miles north of Shenandoah I walked down into Shenandoah and on a couple of streets, then through a park and then continued southwest well outside the town. I’d thought of taking a county road back into Shenandoah but walking a gravel road didn’t seem like run so I just retraced. However at the place where the trail started again in Shenandoah (near the cemetery) I turned south and then west into downtown instead of following the trail.

I wandered through the town (have been there before, once stranded there in winter seven years ago) and headed to The Depot, a microbrewery, bar and restaurant for a couple of bocks and a good Philly cheesesteak (lots of mushrooms and onions). I left The Depot and wandered back northeast to find the trail again from the west side. Having my track on my handheld GPSr made it fairly easy to get back to the trail, near the old railroad depot. The trail wanders through a park and then on a paved path (the only paved part so far) until crossing a river and it returns to crushed limestone.

I found a nice brochure about the Trace at The Depot which also had a drawing of it on one of their walls. I learned the Trace opened just a few years before I moved here and held the promise of bring lots of walkers through the various towns along the Trace and thus some business to local attractions. However, if you didn’t know The Depot was not directly on the Trace you’d probably miss it.

After that walk I went looking for the trailhead in Imogene, leaving only the towns of Coin and Bartlett to be explored. My total distance now is 23.6 miles (as far as the entire MoPac), but most of that is out-and-back so probably I’ve covered only about 13 miles of the entire 63 miles. Here’s my updated maps with just the segments I’ve done:

Wabash2

Now I need to explore the southern terminus and get a segment in Coin and I’ll be done with the entire extent, then leaving the connections between these segments. I’m dreaming of doing a two-day and much longer trip (comparable distances to the requirements of a long walk, like across Ireland or the Camino). Leaving Council Bluffs I believe there is a B&B in Malvern (found a brochure for it at The Depot), about 18 miles. Then the really long haul from Malvern to Shenandoah where I could spend the night or get my shuttle back. But that’s fairly ambitious (average 20 miles/day) when I’m somewhat sore, definitely a bit tired, from just 11.5 miles today. I know I could have pushed on for more today but it wouldn’t have been that much fun and who knows how my legs would feel.

Can I really do the daily distances required for any of the long multi-day walks? Who knows. The stories of many walkers imply they hadn’t done the kinds of distances (in training) they did on real trail (and a few of the stories are from people my age) but I’m actually walking longer distances, albeit easier (flat grade, light pack) than I ever did in my 20s and 30s backpacking. Is this just a dream I can do long walks?

Well, despite burning a quarter tank of gas to do this it will be hot soon so I hope to at least fill in some of the missing parts of the map before summer weather. Mineola (the little L shaped segment) to Malvern is long but probably doable, but I’d probably do that with a shuttle rather than an overnight in Malvern unless that B&B is really wonderful or fairly cheap. But it will be a while (I doubt this year) before I can show you a map of the entire trail.

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Started a new walking tracklog – 1

Naturally being obsessive about collecting data and making maps on my next opportunity I had to get out and start supplementing the trail I reported in my previous post. Only two days later nothing has changed (like not a hint of green, fairly depressing winter dead) and the weather was about the same.

Unlike the MoPac intersections of roads and the Wabash Trace are less predictable. The trail generally heads southeast and thus crosses many roads, but that portion of Iowa is not a routinely divided up in section line roads as Nebraska is where the MoPac ambles through on a generally westward direction. So finding trailheads is a little harder and thus deserved its own exploration.

I had found a GPS track for the northernmost 22 miles (of 63) but other maps (DeLorme, Bing, Google) are somewhat unreliable about showing the Trace; in fact, at times it just disappears even though I know it continues. Trying to follow it on satphotos is hard as it is usually under cover of trees. So walking the Trace is trivial to find it, but knowing where to intersect it by driving and then knowing parking will be available is a bit more work. And that’s what I did yesterday, at least the northern third. So here’s my updated map (still a pain to do as I have to use old computer with older software to upload tracklogs and waypoints and then edit then in suitable manner to export to cloud, then fire up other computer to “import” then (in the odd way BaseCamp works):

Wabash1

The waypoints are all my measured locations and the magenta segments are my walks vsw the black segment is someone else’s tracklog from the Net (only about 1/3rd of the Trace) which I’ll replace with my own data.

The trailhead shown as MVP is where the first walk started but we never went far enough to intersect another road. So my first stop was on 240th street at the south end of that previous segment. I only had to go about 1km to overlap 20Mar’s hike, then I reversed and went a bit south to establish a line so only 1.9miles total.

Then on to Mineola (whose trailhead marker is obscured by the W260th waypoint which is about 1/4 mile east). I’d originally thought it was 14 miles from the northernmost terminus of the Trace to Mineola, but actually it’s only a bit less than 10miles, so that changes my future plans. There is a biker bar / steakhouse kind of place, called Tobey Jack’s in Mineola that would make a good meetup place with my shuttle ride, but I want to do a one-way that is longer than 10 miles. Fortunately the rest of my exploring yesterday will solve that. So my main hike was from the Mineola Trailhead (an actual parking area and signage and place to pay the fee) for 3.1 miles (round trip) mostly to northwest back toward Council Bluff. At one point my handheld was down to only 3.7km back to the W240th waypoint which seemed to close, but now that I know the distance all the way from northern trailhead to Mineola is only about 10 miles that small gap makes sense.

I failed to turn off my handheld upon leaving Mineola by car to Silver City so that’s the cyan tracklog on the map, that short bit of driving. OTOH, the black line that forms the hypotenuse of that right triangle is the Trace, per the tracklog I found on the net.  You can’t see it on this map scale but I did do 0.8 miles out-and-back in both directions so to mark where the Trace passes through Silver City.

And then on to the southern terminus of the tracklog I found (and show on the map), to Malvern. The only one of these three towns with any kind of store so a quick stop for cold drink plus getting directions to trailhead which took a tiny bit of wandering around to find exactly. The trail in Malvern has been paved with concrete (don’t like that, but the runners do) and I knew my only tracklog stopped in Malvern so I elected to go slow (thus my segment is brighter magenta since it’s not overlaid on top of the other tracklog in black). That was actually quite a nice segment. The concrete ended in about 500m and then it was a gentle uphill climb through a fairly deep cut (remember this is old railroad so they flattened the grade with cuts and fills, providing a nice isolation to today’s trail).

So with that 3.7mile segment that made the whole day’s four segment hike about 9.5 miles, in the range of what I’ve done other places and about half of what I’d need to do for any true long walk. My longest, to date, outside walk is about 11.1miles, again about 1/2 day for long walk. So I want to push this closer to 15 mile range. There’s nothing that fits that on this trail, but I can at least push it about to about 12.5 miles by going the reverse direction of Malvern to Mineola and meeting up with my shuttle ride at Tobey Jack’s.  Based on this route I have another option of starting at MVP waypoint and going to Malvern and so picking up about 18 miles.

But next week it appears I’ll have some time along so instead I intend to drive down in the vicinity of Shenandoah and actually walk the Trace from northwest to southeast since its location is somewhat vague from various map sources. If I’m not too tired from that bit I’ll go look for a Trace segment that crosses Iowa184, north and west of Shenandoah to get some segments on the middle third of this trail.

While it will be nice for spring to arrive and see winter’s dead brown replaced by green that also means the humidity will be arriving. My only other experience with Wabash Trace was seeking a geocache. I don’t recall exactly when this was but it was nearly mid-summer and it was miserably hot and humid and buggy along the Trace, which might be why I never came back, not the best introduction to Iowa walking.

Shenandoah presents another alternative for a longer (≈20 mile) hike. Park the car (at some safe location for overnight) about 20 miles away, either northwest or southeast. Walk to Shenandoah and actually spend the night (the only town with accommodations) and then return the next day. Not sure I’m ready for that yet, but that would be the closest simulation of long walk in England or Ireland and I need to do that under controlled conditions to see if my 69YO body can be stretched that far.

Actually Shenandoah is the location of an interesting memory. One time in January we set out for a quick day of geodashing. The weather was cold but not brutal and clear. A few miles north of Shenandoah I was so intent on figuring out how to drive through a mud puddle I failed to also notice the Minimum Maintenance road sign – BIG mistake. My two-wheel drive Suburban had no chance against Iowa mud (Minimum Maintenance usually means no more routine application of new layer of gravel so road reverts to the nature clayey soils of Iowa). Iowa mud is incredibly sticky (walking it soon ends up with 10lbs of mud stuck to each foot) and simultaneously incredibly slippery (seems to violate physics, but this is what the stuff does, virtually as slick as ice).

So I walked about a mile back to highway where I could get cell reception, called AAA, and waited for tow truck to arrive. Little did I know that AAA contract does NOT support rescuing you on Minimum Maintenance roads. But a couple of young kids were blasting the tow truck out with another kid in his 4WD pickup. The towtruck driver was wise enough to not even try to go on the road where my car was stuck, but the intrepid (and foolish) other kid piled us all in his pickup and headed up the road to use his winch. As I’d managed to slide my car diagonally across the road the kid had to dodge it and got too close to edge of the road and so we ended up at 45° in the ditch, now two vehicles stuck. We climbed out through passenger-side window and again walked 1/4 mile of muck back to waiting tow truck and now four of us (in seating for two) head to Shenandoah.

Back at the service station the older and wiser owner basically said we were screwed BUT it was expected to freeze overnight and that would turn the muck back to ice and so maybe he could get us pulled free early the next morning. He suggested the motel and they did give us a ride. Naturally not much of anyone is staying in Shenandoah on a weekday in mid-January (oh, not true, just remembered the week before had been a campaign stop for Democrats in the Iowa caucus, so about 2007 is this event – had we be stranded in Shenandoah the week before we’d have slept in the street). So we have a plan, a place to stay overnight and (hopefully) a way to rescue car next morning.

But what we don’t have is much cash. Now for various reasons, based on past need, I carry a couple of hundred dollar bills. Fine for car repair or motel, but not much use trying to buy a six dollar dinner. So, as we also had no clothes, and discovered they did sell booze at the nearby Walmart (ugh, perhaps my first time inside a WalMart) we headed their to buy some overnight supplies and bourbon and thus spend enough WalMart would take the $100 and our change would buy us other things. Another problem solved. So now it’s a walk to downtown Shenandoah (now beginning to get rather cold and we didn’t have our full winter clothes), but we found a place to eat (yes, needed the cash, didn’t take plastic), found an ATM (different bank, wouldn’t take our card, so yes, good idea we’d gotten little bills at Walmart) and went to a movie. Back at the motel we used some extras from a pack of cheap underwear as bathing suits and so hit the hot tub (while well below freezing outside) and then settled in for a little bourbon before bed. A bit after midnight and knock on the door. The kids from garage again. Rather than wait for morning they wanted to go retrieve car NOW. They’d already rescued the other kid’s pickup and knew the muck was now frozen. Fine, except having not expecting to go anywhere I’ve had a bit too much bourbon. The cold air sobered me up some and we drove to my car, not even needing towtruck as the kids giving me a little push got the Suburban unstuck and I just drove out on the now frozen mud. All the way back to town I left the windows wide open to be blasted by the cold air to keep my head clear as possible since the last thing I needed to end a bad day was a DUI from local Iowa sheriff. But being as careful as I could I soon returned to motel, now able to sleep in the next morning.

So Shenandoah turns out to have fond memories, a day gone bad, but rescued by some luck and ingenuity. And now I carry a few twenties in my wallet I never spend so they’re a reserve. And I really look for the Minimum Maintenance signs, now even with Subaru AWD I’m not going to risk Iowa mud ever again.

So what adventure (or disaster) might a long hike to Shenandoah bring – is it cursed for me? If I wait much longer, of course, then a tornado or nice golf ball sized hail storm might be my option. Who knows, but that is the point of the walks – adversity is inevitable and so resourcefulness (and endurance) rises to the challenge.

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Started a new walking tracklog

It’s always been nearby but I’ve somehow avoided walking and collecting tracks for the Wabash Trace in western Iowa. It’s a well-known and high-traffic trail and easy to access but I’ve never started my process of segment walking the entire thing. According to various websites it’s about 63 miles long so almost 3X the MoPac I’ve been doing. But never to late to start. This one has some potential for a three day walk, even with some accommodations along the trail (thus requiring less support), but it’s still not possible (at least walking, bike might be possible) to do the entire thing end-to-end in a single multiday walk. But now that I’ve finally gotten started on it I guess I now have to finish it. Here’s a map to show the context:

Wabash

This trail is east of Omaha, across the Missouri River in Iowa. Its northern start is just off US275, near the Iowa School for the Deaf, as shown with the grey line (a partial GPS tracklog I found on the web). The waypoint, MVP (no not Most Valuable Player, but Meadowview Parkway), is where the trail intersects Meadowview Pkwy (a ritzy exburb of Council Bluffs, Iowa) just off Pioneer Trail road:

WabashMVP

Unlike the MoPac, which is located in farmland where there are east-west and north-south section line road every mile and so lots of intersections with the trail, the Wabash is located in more hilly country (Iowa’s Loess Hills) so streets are irregular and thus parking spots for section hiking are a bit more difficult to find.

On the first map the magenta segment, overlaid on the grey trace, is the small portion I did yesterday, 4.1 miles out-and-back. As my SO was along this meant: a) slower walking pace, esp. after large lunch (reubens and OskarBlues Old Chub Scotch Ale), and, b) a much shorter distance (I probably would have done, alone, about 8 miles). The first part of the trail is flat and boring so that’s why I choose (via satellite map reconnaissance) to start at MeadowView Pkwy, which is a good starting point.

Now that I’ve started this I’m glad I did (I’ve known about this trail for over 10 years but never explored it). It’s hilly and more rural, esp. starting through the Loess Hills than the MoPac. As it goes further to the southeast it will get out of the hills and into traditional farm country. The Wabash is a bit more developed than the MoPac (more rest benches and picnic areas, even a Turd Totter) but no signs of water. At this time of year it’s very dead in appearance but in a month or so as it greens up it will be nice (some nice views). OTOH I have done a small section of this trail (once geodashing) in mid-summer and the heat and humidity are oppressive, so I guess I need to get busy and pack in the miles ASAP, esp. during the spring. Later I can consider a fall multiday through hike on it with at least some support.

Now that I’ve started this one, with one exception, this will now complete all the trails within a couple hours drive. It’s unfortunate: a) there are so few trails, and, b) I have to create so much CO2 to reach them for an otherwise healthy (and green) activity. So I’ll be grinding out the GPS tracks.

WabashMVP-1

Here in the full segment I did you can see my tracklog deviates a bit from the biking tracklog I found on the Net, esp. in this blowup:

WabashMVP-2

Getting 300% GPS coverage in order to smooth my tracklogs will require around 200 miles which is almost 3X as much as I’ve done on MoPac so I’d better get moving. The only tracklog I could find (the grey one, clearly smoothed) only covers the first 22 miles. Furthermore my normal map doesn’t show the trail very well and the other maps online are not very high resolution so getting a better GPS track might be useful (again, not exactly hard to find or navigate this trail but getting more information may be useful to others especially finding ad hoc trailheads). Google does note the trail and it is possible to trace its entire length (haven’t done that, but looks doable). It’s difficult to see the trail on satphotos as most of its length is under heavy woods and thus not highly visible. So a good track might be handy even though this information is already known.

On this point I’m a little surprised at the paucity of good GPS tracks for various trails. I guess people don’t care, crude maps being sufficient. On manufacturing trails like this getting lost is not an issue (unlike some trails I’m looking at in the UK) but it’s still nice, for a data freak like me, to have complete information. Finding where the trail intersects roads in rural Iowa, just in order to get to the trail, can be a thrill.

So hopefully I’ll be getting longer maps. Unfortunately my only mapping tool (for GPS tracks) is Garmin’s awful BaseCamp software (hard to use, not very good features) which won’t even upload tracks from my eTrek, so I still have to use my old laptop that has working software for the uploads. Hopefully it won’t die before I complete this.

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Finished my last walking segment of MoPac

The MoPac Trail, west of Omaha, nearer to Lincoln than here is my best available trail for real walking so I can do something outside instead of just treadmill. It’s an old railroad right-of-view, abandoned, that reverted back to Nebraska. Before I moved here they’d built some of that right-of-way (under last Democrat governor) into biking, hiking and running trail. They have right-of-way to Omaha and importantly a couple of bridges, but haven’t built even one more mile in 16 years (even though much of the funding is contributions and private, the state still has to do it and I guess exercise and being outdoors is not a Repug priority).

Anyway, at least it exists. I’ve hiked (and backpacked) in a lot of places so this trail is not exactly exciting and scenic but it can be pleasant. It’s trivial to find so doesn’t exactly need a GPS track or map (does show and labeled on Google Earth) but now I have one anyway. Yesterday I finished the last segment I hadn’t previously walked (I’d bike it all but not yet walked all of it). So here’s my recorded data, with geographical context:

MoPac

The magenta line is my tracklogs with the one straight jobs near highway 63 from last week when snow drifts were simply too hard and so I walked back along gravel section line roads. The other cyan traces are my driving and recording logs since the smaller roads don’t appear on this map data. Interestingly 34, otherwise known as O street (main street of downtown Lincoln) is slightly offset from where I measured. I don’t understand this as both the map data and my handheld recording of data are both from Garmin and use the same datum, but they don’t align.

MoPac(O crossing)

Zooming in the X is where the trail crosses 34 (both measured with handheld GPS and plotted from Google Earth) but Garmin’s data (due to the offset to north) claims intersection would be further east. Now, in fact, yesterday I parked my car at the green dot labeled 190 (where 190th north-south street) crosses the trail and that is, without any doubt north of 34. So Garmin’s map data is wrong (or projected wrongly in their app). There doesn’t seem to be any east-west displacement (longitude) as my track driving north on 34 (a bit to east of the above image) aligns with the Garmin data.

The other points I noted with my handheld was marking a waypoint when standing at the various mile markers, e.g. 8M-1, 7M and 6M. I’m not convinced these are quite accurate (the posts, not my measurements) as I don’t know exactly how this was surveyed.

Now I’ve done 77.7 miles, always out-and-back in my recorded tracks. Some sources claim 26 miles, others 22 miles, possibly the confusing is whether the trail is just labeled “east” MoPac (starting 84th street in Lincoln) with a local city extension going further to the west. The furtherest mile marker I’ve recorded is 17M and that’s certainly more than 5 miles to the end of the trail (not sure if there are more markers and I just didn’t record them, only recently started doing that record), so let’s go with 26 miles. That means I’ve got about 300% coverage (a bit less since some of measure tracklog segments are not on the trail). That’s not enough to generate a really accurate track but I hope to do so someday.

Yesterday was a pleasant hike, good weather (hiking in summer is pretty miserable) and better than last week where I had to clamber through (sinking in) snowdrifts. A few muddy spots and quite a few ruts (which wear down) where bikes went through the soft areas as the drifts were melting. Since this is an old railroad, some declivities are filled and there are cuts through the acclivities so that the grade is quite level, with bridges over the significant waterways. So with a good surface (packed limestone aggregate) and flat trail this is easy walking. But some amount of land surrounding the trail is owned in commons and thus allowed to revert to nature so parts of the trail can be quite isolated from nearby (really near) highways and all the cornfields and at least create the illusion of a woodlands natural trail (not exactly the AT, certainly not the PCT, but better than the urban Keystone I’ve mentioned, under this tag, in Omaha).

So now I’m done with all the segments and I want to move onto something longer. Trouble is then I’ll need a shuttle. I’ve thought about doing the entire length but given my longest hike to date is only 11 miles, 26 miles is too ambition. But 15 is probably doable and if I start in the country, to the east, I can end my hike at an OK Mexican restaurant with reliably cold beer and decent margaritas while waiting for my ride back to the car (any takers if any locals read this? as a shuttle partner).

I hate the idea of burning a couple gallons of gasoline and emitting the resultant CO2 to do something healthy (and green) like hike, but alas, it is my only choice, short of an extended duration long walk somewhere else in the world (which I still dream of doing but haven’t worked up to yet).

So while I’ve been on a lot more interesting trails, thank you Nebraska for at least doing your best and creating this one. Lots of people use this trail and I’m sure we’re all thankful that walkers get some attention and priority from a state that isn’t exactly either an ourdoor state or certainly a green state. But count the blessings where they exist.

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