With concerns about yesterday’s high tide and getting stuck on land known as Hell’s Island behind me, the true finish awaits me this morning. Low tide is at 9:30ish, and I will be able to take my time making the two hour journey to the tip of Massachusetts and back. Wish me luck, and as always enjoy the day.
Also, here’s a link to a story about me in today’s Cape Cod Times.
Mark the time, 5:15 pm. I still have about a mile and a half to reach the center, but I'm there. Ohh Happy Day!
After almost four hours of driving this morning, I am finally starting out on the final 22 miles of my cross state hike from Williamstown to Provincetown. There is heavy thick fog, light rain, and strong gusts this morning. Also there's a high surf warning along the eastern portion of the Cape facing the Atlantic Ocean, so I'm going to go with my back up plan taking Route 6 into P-town. Enjoy the day and look for more posts later today.
After taking a weekend off to rest, strategize and reflect how I plan to hike the final 22 miles from Williamstown to Provincetown, my plans are now clear.
I believe sometimes one has to wait for spiritual guidance to discern an “opening.” “You are listening to the thoughts in your head, observing external events, and focusing on the sensations in your body and seeking to understand whether the guidance or information you are getting is coming from self, parents, peers, teachers, pastors, culture or a Higher Power.”
I discerned three options in my head for completing the final 22 mile leg of MassWalk, the name I’ve given this cross state hike. I’ve also sought out the Weather Channel frequently over the last week for an opening in Tropical Storm Jose, waiting to see when it was going to pull away from the coast so I wouldn’t have to end my walk in the rain. I also sought guidance from friends on what they thought of my ideas and if they were truly an opening.
One option was to follow my friend BJ Hill’s path up Route 6 across 18 miles of asphalt. It’s the straightest route to P-town. BJ has completed two cross state hikes in since 2008 and he knows what he’s talking about. The second option, a more scenic bicycle route, is to take several back roads passing through the villages of Wellfleet and Truro on the bay side. It’s a little longer and passes by some beautiful areas, yet it still involves miles and miles of walking more asphalt.
The third option, the one I had to wait for guidance on, involves walking 18 miles of coastal beaches from Wellfleet to P-town, mimicking Henry David Thoreau’s famous 1850s Cape Cod walk. It’s also the only surface I haven’t walked on in crossing the state of Massachusetts.
It wasn’t an easy decision because of the difficulty of walking on sand. I had to put off my walk for a day because Tropical storm warnings across the Atlantic side of the Cape the last few days.
Whatever the weather does I’m finishing this weekend. I’m eager to finish at this point. I want to begin focusing next on the 46th Annual Amherst A Better Chance Fall Foliage 5K Walk/Run on Saturday October 14, 2017. I’m trying to raise $200.00 to help this terrific educational program continue its mission here in Amherst, Mass. To make donation of $25, $50, or $100.00, please visit my pledge page: http://www.pledgereg.com/146719
One other bullet point of interest before closing. I was interviewed yesterday by the Daily Hampshire Gazette about my cross state hike. The writer said the paper might run the story tomorrow (Saturday September 23) to coincide with my last day of the hike.
I have so much more to write, but I’m going to stop here so I can get to bed early tonight. I have a three and a half to four hour drive in the morning to reach the trailhead.
What does it mean to be at one with nature? Over the past couple of weeks that question has resonated within me as I’ve experienced increased moments where I’ve felt in tune and at one with nature.
“When it occurs, your perception of the boundaries between yourself and all else—the thoughts and feelings setting you off from the rest of the cosmos—seem to evaporate. The distinction between you and nature (or in the religious versions nature and God) breaks down. You become one with the universe. A reassuring sense of harmony and connection with the world infuses your consciousness. It’s an experience that matches up with the knowledge of your own dependence on and connection to the world.”
I remember having this experience early on, the very first day of my hike to be exact, when I observed birds, and bugs all momentarily journeying in some direction of their own within feet of me. I was curious and looked on, training my eyes longer than usual, with amazement as they stared back at me. Then another part of me felt annoyed by the bugs in my face and shooed them away. Maybe a trained cultural reaction. It was too soon for me to recognize their friendliness, customs, and curiousness.
The Grasshopper and Butterfly
In one instance last week while walking in five or six inch tall grass from Plymouth to Sagamore, adjacent to the Myles Standish state park, a small knot of grasshoppers leapt up about five feet in front of me stared at me momentarily and then dashed ahead of me about 5-10 feet and waited until I caught up. Then they repeated this playful turn-taking game for about 2-3 minutes before breaking off contact. It seemed much longer as I felt the grasshoppers were leading me along the path making sure I had company on my journey. I remember feeling I was not alone with them.
The other instance occurred last Saturday in Sandwich on Route 6A at a traffic intersection when a black and orange butterfly was flitting its way near me as I crossed the intersection. Forgetting where I was, I focused on the butterfly welcoming it into my personal space turning my body with the butterfly before it broke off contact, maybe alerting me to the dangers around me. It was such a powerful moment of contact that quickly and abruptly ended when I looked up and became startled by a row of cars facing me with drivers laughing and smiling as I quickly scooted out of the way of the oncoming traffic.
Walking on even surfaces or rough terrain? According to new research uneven, rough, terrain is better for your feet.
Once upon a time, we walked on a diverse terrain – over pebbles and paths, rocks, forests, in high grass, on boulders, we might have had to climb over an obstacle or two. Diverse terrain also means different loads to the very mobile architecture of the foot with its 33 joints and more than a 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. This also meant varying loads on the ankle, knee and hip joints – thus tissues were stimulated at different rates, intensities and frequencies.
What’s the opposite of this? Shopping at the mall? Walking around the paved path around a lake in your community? Where does your shoe-protected, stiff, sensory deprived foot get to encounter the symphony of inputs that nature provides? No wonder most of my clients suffer on long walks through the supermarket – once a tissue is overloaded it doesn’t take much of repeating the same stimulus over and over again to aggravate it. Galina Denzel
In practice, walking on uneven surfaces has been difficult for me since I started MassWalk 2017, because most of the mountain chains across Massachusetts run along a North-South axis. Choosing to walk in a west to east direction you’ll only find hard asphalt roads, like Route 9 which spans the state. To counter this I walk on the far shoulders of the road as much as possible. One for safety, and secondly to spare my feet from the hard pounding they would take on the concrete surfaces. Most rail trails across Massachusetts are typically made of some sort of mixed asphalt which can also be hard on your feet. Regardless, they are still wonderful to experience and they serve as a great introduction to hiking and other activities.
While the shoulder of most roadways are not the more beneficial rough terrain as described in the accompanying article, it’s still fairly diverse, and it gives my feet a lot of feedback from the unevenness.
So, What’s Your Walking Surface IQ?
To learn more about new walking science research check out this article entitled: What’s your walking surface IQ? by Galina Denzel, a Nutritious Movement certified restorative exercise specialist.
Massachusetts Rail-Trail Stats
- 67 total rail-trails
- 310 miles of rail-trails
- 66 current projects
- 323 miles of potential rail-trail
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