Friday, August 19, 2022

Day 134: Leaving Whitehall

Sept 1: I took my time getting out of town. My spot at the Whitehall Town Hall had been quite cozy so I wasn't especially motivated to leave, but leave I finally did. At around 7:20am.

The smoke from the day before had largely cleared during the night, and I hoped it would stay away for the rest of the day. (It would.)

On my way out of town, I stopped by the grocery store for a couple of items I had forgotten to purchase yesterday evening, and then I followed the paved road west out of town.

I started by using walking directions provided by Google Maps, but my GPS and maps included a different route that split off several miles away which I estimated cut off about 10 miles of walking--quite a substantial shortcut! Even better, this other route followed little-used gravel roads. Definitely a shortcut worth taking!

The first few hours, however, were along a moderately busy paved road under the blistering sun. Eventually the route ducked under I-90 once again--the third time I passed under the Interstate. Shortly thereafter, the road became gravel and few vehicles passed me after that. It was a much improved experience!

The third (and last) time I'd pass under Interstate 90.

The trail, however, started heading uphill, climbing higher and higher. Even this wasn't entirely bad, however, as it meant I got away from the wide-open fields for crops. Now there were small bushes and trees to provide shade when I stopped for a rest. There wasn't a lot, but it was better than nothing which is about how much I had before. And the amount of shade opportunities increased the higher I got in elevation.

The fully-loaded pack I carried was pretty miserable heading into the mountains, however, so I grumbled about that. There was always something to complain about--one of the things about long-distance hiking is that there's always something to complain about. Which can be a blessing when you feel like complaining about something. =)

By the end of the day, I covered over 20 miles, and my GPS recorded over 4,000 feet of elevation gain which also meant the ambient air temperature was quite a bit cooler than it would have been had I stayed in Whitehall for the day.

Near the end of the day, I finally reached a real trail! No more road walking! At least for the time being. I had no doubt there would be more roads in my future, but this gave me a chance to set up camp off a road near Halfway Creek.

Near the end of the day, I finally reached a real trail again!

Too bad I wasn't be in town to see the Suicide Squad!

These crosses marked a death on the road, but I preferred to think they were people in vehicles who managed to get themselves killed and not pedestrians who were walking along the side of the road and were hit by vehicles! But there was never any information about that, so I could only guess.

See my shadow walking over the highway bridge over the railroad?

I didn't have super detailed maps of the area, so it was nice finding this at a trailhead along the gravel road. It wasn't perfect (it was meant for motorbikers, not hikers), but it had a lot of information that I didn't have before.

Looks like a tree bashed in this gate at some point!

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