April 10 - Boston

I hiked 23 miles today. It was an exhausting day but it was filled with milestones. Today was my toughest day on the Buckeye Trail yet.

Jim drove me back to the trail around 9:30am. Renie was not with him. Her young nephew had a serious car accident last night and lost an arm. I felt badly for everyone involved.

The first 10 miles were road walking. I took my time enjoying the nice weather and light traffic. After the road walking ended I came to "the turn". The turn, marked by a standard double blue blaze, meant the end of the Great Road Walk from near Toledo to near Akron. In the round numbers the last 180 miles have all been on roads except for about 20 miles. The next 60 miles will be almost entirely off roads. However, literally an figuratively, being off roads did not mean I was on easy street.

I soon came to end of the Medina section. At the end of the Medina section a hiker can head north on the Buckeye Trail to Lake Erie or head south to Akron. This is part of the BT is called the Little Loop. The Little Loop is a loop off the main circuit. It is over 200 miles long. I chose to hike south to Akron. Once I get to the bottom of the Little Loop I will flip-flop back to the intersection and hike north to Lake Erie.

This intersection marked the point where I have completed one-quarter of the Buckeye Trail.

The last 10 miles of the day in Brecksville and Cuyahoga Valley National Park were on trails in the woods It was very strenuous for me. The map says the Buckeye Trail undulates gently in this section. I say it goes straight up and down. No switchbacks, no grades. When the trail wasn't steep it was usually muddy. (I chose to hike the BT in spring so I expect mud.) It is a very beautiful area with a surprisingly remote feel.

The temperature soared to around 80 degrees today. I hiked in shorts and a t-shirt for the first time. The heat and the hills exhausted me. I got thirsty and ran short on water. (The water faucets are still off for the winter.) I decided to drink some creek water, treated of course. I discovered I only had enough Aqua Mira drops to treat a half liter of creek water. But that enough to keep me going.
Later I met a couple with two children near Blue Hen Falls. Without me asking they offered me three bottles of water. It was much appreciated. I am sure I looked a little sunburned and parched.

I made it to the Standford House at 8:30pm. It was already dark. The Standford House is located on an old farm. It is youth hostel and allows camping. They are still closed for the season. My cousin and his fiance, John Spitzer & Erica Shade from Stow, stashed a gallon of water here for me along with a root beer. Three hikers came out of the woods and gave me a quart of Gatorade, a soda pop, and two protein bars. I could finally rehydrate. I drank three liters of liquids in no time.

I set up my tent in the chicken coop turned wood shed. Rain is forecasted for the morning. I will be dry here. I ate supper and went right to bed. I am one tired camper. Life is good on the Buckeye Trail.