April 7 - Lester

I hiked 22 miles today to the Lester Rail Trailhead parking lot. All of the miles but one were on roads today.

Findley State Park was deserted this morning like last night. A park maintenance worker drove through the parking lot this morning. He either didn't see me or didn't care that camped under the picnic shelter.

The road walking and new padded insoles are taking their toll on my feet. I developed several new blisters. None of the new blisters are bad or too painful. I think they are the result of changing my shoe insole configuration. I have gotten far more blisters on this hike than I did on my 500 mile hike on the Appalachian Trail last summer.

I used my trekking poles today. For the last several days I had them strapped to my pack since the trail was all road walking. It was good to use them again. They give my arms something to do and help me keep a rhythm and cadence to my stride. They also come in handy when mean dogs run out of the road to greet me.

The area I hiked through today had lots of ponds and oil wells. I was surprised by the number of homes that had small ponds. I passed by dozens of them. Some of the ponds were quite pretty and inviting. Most had "no trespassing" signs. There must be some unique geology and hydrology to this area which makes these ponds possible.

A number of oils wells dotted the landscape. I didn't realize this part of Ohio has or had oil. Some of the oils pumps looked rusty and abandoned. Others looked new and shiny. None of them were pumping oil that I could see. Near each pump was a series of storage tanks to hold the accumulated crude oil.

I am starting to see a change in the topography. There are now gentle hills and slopes instead of wide open, flat land. This makes for more interesting hiking but also makes the road walking more dangerous. The drivers of cars coming over these hills can't see me until they are upon me. Drivers are reluctant to move over into the other lane when approaching me when they can't see over the hills.

A road construction worker warned me to be wary of traffic when school lets out. He said this is when lots of teenage drivers are on the roads who like to drive fast on their way home. He is right. It seems the youngest drivers are the least likely to move over for a pedestrian. If I get whacked by a car it will likely be driven by a young, female driver talking on cell phone.

After the end of my hike I was picked up by Sharon Farmer. I am spending the night in Berea at the home of Tom and Sharon Farmer. I went to college with Tom and Sharon at Bowling Green State University. Tom is a Delta Upsilon fraternity brother. Sharon was a member of our Little Sister program. Through Facebook we reconnected a few years ago and now remain in contact.