|Scallion and Captain Blue at Road Fork Baptist Church|
Today we hiked 18 miles to the Ring Mill campsite and picnic area in the Wayne National Forest.
Mike and Sue Fanelli arrived at the Road Fork Baptist Church just after 9:00am. They spent the previous night at a motel in Zanesville. They brought me a big plate of motel breakfast food which I quickly ate.
Mike and I met through a mutual friend, Joe Windows, about 20 years ago in a class about caving. Although we have been acquainted for a long time we have never spent much time together. We live in the same town and know a lot of the same people. Our friend, Joe Windows, passed away six years ago. By coincidence today is Joe's birthday. Mike's wife, Sue, was an elementary school teacher for my two youngest brothers, Jack and David.
Mike's trail name is Scallion. The first thing I noticed was Scallion's small pack. It was about half the size of my pack. He was carrying six days of food in that small pack. Scallion is an ultra light weight backpacker. He teaches backpacking clinics on ultra light weight backpacking.
Scallion brought a resupply box for me that included a new pair of hiking shoes. They are brand new and right out of the box. In the old days of stiff leather boots you would need to break in a new pair of boots before taking a long hike in them. Otherwise you would get blisters. With the hiking shoes today you can pretty much put them on and go. The boots are an identical pair I purchased before the hike and kept on standby for just this reason.
We took a few photos and were on the trail by 10:00am. When Scallion hiked with the Anslingers in 2003 this part of the Buckeye Trail, the Whipple Loop, did not exist.
The route today was all on back roads which were very beautiful. We were able to hike side by side for the whole day except for when the occasional car or school bus came by. We both commented on how enjoyable the road walking was.
Having someone to talk to made the miles go by quicker. We made sure to stay alert at turns and look for blazes as to not jabber away and miss a turn. I did most of the talking as it was nice to have someone to talk to. I am sure Scallion thinks I am a motor mouth.
About three miles before camp we stopped for a break under a shade tree in the front yard of a house. The owner came over and sat down with us. He hadn't heard of the Buckeye Trail before and was surprised to know it came by his place. He gave us two bottles of chilled water to drink and filled our water bottles with tap water.
We arrived at Ring Mill campsite and picnic area at 6:00pm. We were both ready to be done hiking for the day. We opted to camp near the picnic shelter instead of in one of the three designated campsites. Under the picnic shelter there several picnic tables and lots of room. The Ring Mill campsite is along the Little Muskingum river. The river is very scenic. Scallion found some clams in the river while he was wading. We wondered if they are safe to eat.
The campsite is quiet. Nobody is here but us. We built a small campfire and gazed at the stars. We both felt that Joe Windows was smiling down on us and somehow joining us during this journey.