May 7 - End of AEP Land

Captain Blue in the AEP lands.

Today I hiked 22 miles to almost the end of the American Electric Power lands.

The route today was entirely in the woods on a footpath. It was a tough hike today.

My day started with me trying to find the continuation of the blue blazes near the haul road crossing. I never did find them. There was a blaze at the edge of the woods then one across an electric fence and then they ended as I could see. Using my Smartphone and Google Maps I got a bird's eye view of my location. The plan was to hike the haul road out to the main road and get oriented. Before much walking on the haul road I found the blue blazes again. From there on the trail was very well marked on the AEP lands and easy to follow. (Note: I did exchange voice mails with Herb Hulls with the BTA who knows the AEP area well. He was willing to provide me guidance but we didn't connect.)

I saw turkey hunters, fisherman and mushroom gatherers today but no hikers. I could tell it was a weekend because of all the people I saw.

The neatest thing I saw today was a huge bee hive. I came into a low area and heard a very loud buzzing sound. It sounded like bees buzzing. It was so loud but no bees were visible that I thought the sound was from a motor or weird sounding waterfall. I left the trail to investigate. About twenty yards off the trail was a large, hollow, beech tree with an opening. I could see thousands of bees coming and going and swarming on the outside of the trunk. It was a busy bee hive! I could only imagine the activity inside. It was the loudest bee hive I have ever heard.

The trail was often muddy. The soles of my hiking shoes are worn flat from almost 800 miles of hiking. It was hard getting traction on the muddy hills. I slipped and slided a lot. I would have fallen many times if I did not have trekking poles. I am getting a replacement pair of hiking shoes on Monday.

It did not rain today. But my legs and feet were wet all day from the damp vegetation.
Tomorrow I begin hiking the Whipple Loop. This is the loop you see on the map in southeast Ohio. This loop is affectionately called the Stupid Loop. I am not sure why it is called this. Maybe I will find out? The map says this is called the North Country Trail Connector. But it does not connect to the North Country Trail from what I can see. I will be going in a circle for a week or so before I start making westward progress home. On this loop I will get to see Archers Fork which I have always wanted to visit.

I am camped in a small pine forest at the edge of AEP lands. It feels remote here. I can hear a turkey gobbling and a whippoorwill  singing. The frogs are peeping too. It is a fine night to be camping.

Here is a map link to my campsite location: