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Books, Balance, and Beethoven! July 7th '23

And, Suddenly, One Month In!

“It rained for four years, eleven months, and two days. There were periods of drizzle during which everyone put on his full dress and a convalescent look to celebrate the clearing, but the people soon grew accustomed to interpret the pauses as a sign of redoubled rain.”–One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Some numbers:

I figure we are about 508 miles in, give or take.

As I was trudging along the Erie Canal Heritage Corridor (as it’s officially named) today, I considered that at

360 miles, it represents a full 1/10th of our entire walk!

I finished my 5th book yesterday, a “filler book” to get me through VT—Edward Abbey’s "Hayduke Lives!” and have moved on to my first New York author—William Kennedy and his “Ironweed.” It is set right here along the Canal during the Depression years. Sad and gritty.

Oh, the rain. We get a day or two of sun and then the rain returns. My ginger snaps are perpetually soggy!

So, if we’ve done 500 miles in the first month, what does that mean for our self-imposed schedule? Not a whole helluva lot. I did understand that we’d need to cut ourselves some slack these first few weeks. We’ve averaged about 20 miles a day for the days we actually walked. I think we had 5-6 days off, due to thunderstorms, or lay-off at a friends house, far from our route.

I hope that we get up to about 25 miles/day eventually. Both of us feel capable of more miles. But, no real hurry. It’s more important that we 1) don’t get injured, and 2) enjoy the process!

Yesterday the Erie Corridor trail was super busy with Sunday walkers, runners, and bikers. Today, Monday and rainy, we had it all mostly to ourselves.

We leave the Hooterville Campground (as we call it...see photo of signs on tree) in the morning. We’ll miss, only a bit, the drama, the endless partying of our neighbors in their semi-permanent tarp/pallet/is-there-an-actual-trailer-in-there-somewhere?/tent encampments.

We’re hoping to score some free spots in the corner of some volunteer fire department lots eventually. But, with the extreme shortage of personnel, it’s hard to even get a-holt of anyone.

Well, time to lay our heads on the pillow and listen to the steady taptaptap.

On to Month #2!

A Walker’s High, or, In the Zone

We are, of course, still on the Erie Canal Corridor trail. I’m listening to my New York Book, “Ironweed,” by William Kennedy. A character in the book (set in Albany in the 1930’s,) the protagonist’s girlfriend Helen—also a bum—is apparently about to die. She’s a former classically trained singer and piano player, and she steals an album from a record shop and goes to her rented by the night room, planning to die. The album is Beethoven’s 9th, and though she doesn’t have a phonograph, just holding the record in her arms, in bed is enough for her.

The scene inspired me to turn off the book, and load the symphony onto my phone. I put in my second earphone, cranked the volume, and within minutes I was marching down the trail, through what is left of the forests after the highway and canal and railroad builders were through with it, waving my arms around like a conductor, euphoric. During the choral section I broke into a run and, though I was good half marathon into my hike, I was feeling no fatigue or stiffness. When the choir soared, so did I. Tears flowed. Luckily there were no other people on the trail.

It truly is divine music.

I advise anyone of you who might be reading this to put on your best headphones, or fire up your 1976 vintage Harmon-Kardon amplifier and turntable, and crank the volume up HIGH and give it a listen. You won’t be sorry! Let me know how it felt, in the comments below.

Julie, who I'm sure got tired of hearing me go on about Owen Meany a couple of weeks ago, is rereading it today. She says it's time, after 30 years.

She created cards (printing at Walgreens as we speak) that we can hand out to people whom we encounter, to steer them to our basic information. Still trying to figure all this out.

We got in 22.5 miles today, and only got a little rained on.

(a farmstand at which I bought a pint of blackberries and talked with the nice family. They took a picture of my butt, er, sign on my butt.)

(one of the famous locks on the Canal.)

(There were about 50 cool signs along the trail, created by kids, to motivate bikers, walkers, etc.)

(Oh, the glory of Ludwig!)

(HOOTERVILLE! Enter at your own risk.)

(This is so cool. A church in Sprakers, right on the Trail, that opens its doors to travelors.)

(We won't!)

(We will!)

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2 commentaires

09 août 2023

If someone saw you, in the early gesticulations inspired by Ludwig, they might have given you some Narcan. Yay!

Jess Koski
Jess Koski
09 août 2023
En réponse à

That would make my day...My trip!

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