Another morning, another rainy day. Why!? Why does Massachusetts, my home state have to be the gloomiest, most dangerous days of walking on the whole trip? I guess the trip decided to test me the most on my final days. At this point nothing was going to deter me from walking, not even this rain. I told Sherri and Buster that I was going to be headed off regardless of the weather and without any hesitation they could see I was serious. Buster headed off to work as I prepared everything I had for a wet day of walking. I knew I was going to be miserable and soaked but it was something I needed to get through. I always think to myself, the more I do today, the less I have to do tomorrow.
Sherri and I made our way about 11 miles down the road to where I ended up yesterday and pulled into a gas station where we unloaded my stuff, snapped a couple pictures, and said our goodbyes. I got myself situated, ran into the Mcdonalds next door to use the bathroom, came out ready to go. I stepped outside and got my vest out, knowing with the visibility and rain, I was going to need it. I mentally prepared myself to be soaked and began walking. The only thing that truly gets soaked are your feet. You have to wear shoes that can breathe with the amount of work they are doing, unfortunately that translates into shoes that let in a whole bunch of water because of the mesh. It is the beginning stages of your feet getting wet that is uncomfortable. Once they are wet it is kind of like a wetsuit, wherein the water warms up and it is what it is. Also with the jacket I had been wearing my whole trip, it is such a waterproof material, you begin to sweat a little bit because your body can’t breathe. This aspect of walking was the most uncomfortable. I can relate it to having a fever, in the sense where you feel cold because of lack of material but you are sweating because your body cannot breathe. It can get quite frustrating finding the comfort level on a cold, rainy day but exerting force over long periods of time.
I was only a few hours into the walk and I stopped on the side of the road, under an awning of a building and made a call home. I knew later on in the day my brother was going to come pick me up because I was going to be only an hours drive away from home but if I wanted to get picked up now it may be about two hours but at least I would be out of the rain. After speaking with my mom for a little bit she convinced me to keep walking and push through. It was a difficult decision being so close to home and having the mentality “Oh I can just do this part tomorrow when it is nicer out.”. I had the ability to get picked up but with some encouragement I kept pushing on. “Just get it done. Just get it done.”. The rain did not stop for hours and some times it picked up to a point of a downpour. “I am where I am and it is what it is!”. Positive self-talk is key for a trip like this. You cannot always have someone on the other end of the line telling you that you can do it. “I have been in worse positions, you are so close to home, get it done!”.
I was finally making some good head way and the rain began to slow down till the point of almost stopping completely. I made a decision to cut a section of route 20 out and go down this side road that would cut maybe 3-4 miles out. Looking back on it, this was a stupid decision and one that caused me some anxiety for about 30 minutes. I was on a dirt road but saw on the map that it eventually connects to 20. I was pretty much walking through the woods but had already committed down this path and trusted in my decision. I crossed over what seemed to be the Pike, while on this crappy road in the middle of the woods which was kind of odd. I then had to make a left onto the road with no sign but from strictly a map point of view, was the correct way to go. Once again, not a smart decision. At this point I was wishing I was back on the paved 20 and dealt with the few extra miles. I honestly thought I was going to be attacked by a bear. The woods were fairly dense and there was no one around. I think I looked more behind me than looking forward. I had my bear mace ready to go. I finally started to make it out on what to be more of an industrial road. I was seeing big dump trucks hauling something to and from a work site. I was getting more and more comfortable seeing more and more house finally until I got to the point where 20 reappeared. I could finally relax a little bit more and be more focused on getting picked up in a couple hours.
I pushed hard the last few hours and finally met up with my brother on the side of the road in the town of Russell. I was so happy to see him and be able to spend the hour ride home just chatting with him. He recently purchased some land and two large barns in our town of Charlton and it was exciting to hear him talk about them and his plans with them. Even though it had only been about two weeks or so since I had seen him last at my brothers wedding it had seemed like months. To know I was going to be home in about an hour or so just put me in such a good place and I could finally start to see the end in sight!
Day 147 (Miles 3072 - 3102) Lee to Russell