A whole bunch of things have halted my hiking on the Wabash Trace. First, it’s well into summer and thus the heat (and esp. humidity) of summer that make walks somewhat unpleasant. But second, and most of all, has been the non-stop attention my 100YO mother’s medical conditions and care needs has demanded. In fact this was really getting to me and I just had to get in a hike for some relief.
While I’ve sorta managed to keep up my exercise in the basement on exercise equipment this kind of exercise doesn’t have the positive mental effect on me that real outdoor exercise has. While I lived in Silicon Valley I did tons of biking and while I noticed (somewhat) have that relieved stress I didn’t really recognize this positive effect of exercise until I moved here to Omaha and was unable (for a variety of reasons) to maintain frequent (and lengthy) exercise. I realized that a bike ride (or now a hike) is really good stress relief; I’d start with my mind buzzing with various negative thoughts and the sheer repetitive nature of pedaling (or one foot in front of the other walking) counteracts this and soon I managed to achieve a much more relaxed state, vital for then returning to stressful situations.
So despite less than ideal conditions I just had to get away yesterday and so I used that opportunity to close one of my gaps on the Wabash as shown below:
I had to do a longer hike than just the gap as: 1) the nearest road to the gap (Gaston) has no place to park, and, 2) there is actually about a 3 miles roadless section of the Wabash starting in Silver city before reaching Gaston. So most of my 6.9 mile yesterday was retracing the section of trail heading southeast from Silver City (blue track log). But as you can see on the map I’m now down to some smaller gaps, unfortunately now an added 30 minutes of driving time further south. The tiny segment of tracklog near Imogene (manually labeled in red on the map) has about a 2 mile chunk north of Imogene and then about a 7 mile chunk south (to connect to previous segment heading into Shenandoah). Then as I’ve previously post a hike north toward Shenandoah ended just short of closing that small gap. I’m not sure how many hikes it will take to close these gaps, then leaving only the southernmost part of the Wabash to complete (even longer drive, less interesting trail).
It was interesting that while it was generally hot (although cooler than typical) and humid the Trace creates its own microclimate. While muggy most of the trail is in shade and with considerable ground moisture so it was much cooler. But midsummer has another disadvantage – lots of gnats. So spring/fall are really the ideal times for this Trace.
I’m hoping the situation with my mother will stabilize soon (as in she leaves hospital and returns to care in the nursing home so I have fewer things to do) and thus we can soon make an overnight trip to Shenandoah and close some of those gaps. Shenandoah has interesting memories for my wife and I as once we went geodashing in midwinter and got stuck on a minimum maintenance road just north of Shenandoah and so spent the night in Shenandoah while waiting for a tow of our stuck car. So returning in summer will be an interesting contract. It’s amazing that such a short trip, to basically nowhere, is now about the only kind of “getaway” circumstances allow me to do.
So now I’ve done 89.9 miles total on the Wabash with 33.9 ungapped miles from Council Bluffs to just north of Imogene (out of the 63 mile total length of the trail). And after I close the gaps on this map I should be up to about 50-55 miles ungapped so it will be fun to finally complete this. BTW: It’s difficult to get precise distances as I have to manually drawn a “route” (in Garmin’s Basecamp) over the tracklogs I actually recorded but that is a tedious process of I sometimes skipped (just do a linear segment) over some detail in the tracklogs.
But at least I got out and am happy about that, just wishing I could have done more yesterday and hopefully soon can do some more.
I actually wish I’d taken my camera (with GPS) and made many more photographs of almost all the details of the trail (bridges, rest stops, road crossings) so even after I finish I suppose I can do that as a project to repeat all these miles. Too bad I create so much CO2 (driving to trail) doing what is otherwise a healthy and green activity.