May 11 - Deucher Baptist Church

Scallion at the cave on Archers Loop

Today we hiked 12 or so miles. It was hot and humid with temperatures rising to the mid 80s.

The trail conditions improved remarkably shortly after we started hiking. After we crossed Irish Run Road the trail became a dirt footpath in the woods which was well traveled. No blown down trees, limbs or high weeds. It was a delight to hike.

We visited the sandstone cave and natural bridge on the Archers Fork Loop. Both were worth the short side trips to see them.

We followed the plastic blue diamond markers as there were no blue blazes. Many of the diamond markers were on the ground instead of nailed to the tree. This made following the trail harder. We first thought somebody was taking the markers off the tree and throwing them on the ground. But on closer inspection this was not the case. The nails for the markers were driven too far into the tree. So as the tree grows out and the bark expands it pushes the markers off the nails.

The trail had lots of ups and downs today. We could see where trail crews had constructed new trail and switchbacks to make hiking easier. The ups and downs combined with temps in the 80s wore us out. As we crossed into the Whipple section the trail went back to rough going. More weeds, blown down trees and we got lost again.

We decided to walk to road a bit. We soon stopped at the Duecher Baptist Church. We got permission to camp here. It was a fine spot high on a hill about three miles from the Ohio River.
We stopped by the house next door for water. When the lady answered the door we asked for water. She left and returned with two glasses of water. We were standing there holding all of our empty water containers when she came back. She quickly realized we wanted more than just a glass of water and filled our water bottles.

We are camped in a flat area on the edge of the small cemetery outside the chapel. Tonight is bible study night here. A group has arrived early to sing hymns. We are sitting by our tents ,relaxing, cooking dinner and listening to piano playing and hymns being sung. It doesn't get any better than this.