I can hardly believe it. Can I start back at the beginning and do it all over again? Well, yes, I could I suppose, but I’m not that crazy, not in the same hiking season at least.
|Saba Alemayehu and me at Silk Jones in the Ithaca Commons|
At this bar, where trivia night was in full swing – who ever knew trivia could be so rowdy – Saba and I met up with Marina and Marietta. These two women are graduates of SevenSong’s School of Northeast Herbal Medicine located in Ithaca. SevenSong was a guest teacher of mine when I attended the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine. He is a wealth of information and sarcastic humor, both of which I appreciate and the latter so rare and much needed in the herbal world. I managed to meet up with these two herbal ladies through the one and only other distance hiker I met while hiking the Mountains to Sea Trail last summer. I had remembered Sprout telling me she had lived for some time in Ithaca so when I knew I was coming through, had looked her up. She in turn contacted some like-minded folks for me to meet up with.
Thank you Sprout for arranging, and Marina and Marietta for attending a blind date with this hiker! Again, thank you Saba!
Before hiking out of Ithaca, I also had a chance to chat with Lee Rayburn of WHCU 870 AM and 95.9 FM about my journey thus far. Here is the link to the short radio segment: http://whcuradio.com/morning-newswatch/meet-the-botanical-hiker/
|A creek crossing along the FLT - one of the benefits of all this rain, plenty to drink and beautiful streams|
Once out of the city I was welcomed back to the trail with a good flash and boom of a thunderstorm, complete with winds and dropping tree limbs. Soaked and all-too-late taking cover in the Chestnut Lean-to I received a message from Robin Carlisle Peck, she said that she and her husband Paul Warrender (who supported me my first day in Ithaca) thought it a good idea that I come back to their house for the night given the weather. Done.
And so I spent yet another comfortable night in the Ithaca area, able to once again do laundry and dry out all my gear (that I had just finished drying out the day before) as well as a giant burrito for dinner and a cold beer in the evening lounging about with now good friends, Robin and Paul. I considered just staying in town for the Grassroots fest which I attended several years in a row in my late teens but then decided I might never leave town if I did that!
|Joe McMahon by the Shindagin Lean-to. This lean-to is perched above a rushing waterfall and is complete with log benches and a large handmade round wooden table.|
|The first of Joe's stone scultpures I saw - not far east of the Shindagin lean-to|
|More of Joe's Piles of Rocks|
|Here Joe and his friends got creative, building a stone wall around this Ash tree that may not be here forever, but perhaps the stones will remain standing.|
|Connie and Andy|
|Brooks, I am sad to say that we are done. Back to the drawing board on lightweight but durable kicks to wear when distance hiking.|
So far those $55 Sauconys out-performing the $120 Brooks. Go figure.
|Kit and Coy|
“Heather!” I had hiked miles since Ithaca…who could this be?
I was soon greeted by an adorable pup named Coy and his owner Kit. Kit had found my blog online and had been following along for sometime. She knew that I was in the area and would be passing through, quite literally, her backyard soon, and so when she happened to see me breeze by her window, she dashed out to say hello. We had fun chatting and I was grateful for the human (and canine) interaction to take my mind off my crumbling shoes. It was so nice to have met you, Kit! I’ll have to stop by again when I have more time and less miles to do!
And I leave you with one more pic...now we didn't actually make friends, in fact I nearly stepped on him, but we are sharing the same woods and like the same things like lean-tos, although he likes to eat them whereas I like to sleep in them.
|Porcupine on his way to scurry up a tree - I got to watch him amble nearly to the top when I lost sight of him|