March 26, 2024

At last! The Atlantic Ocean!


Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.

-Earl Nightingale


Today is supposed to be a beautiful day, with highs almost 60℉!  Phyllis, Waldo and I leave one car at the same spot we did on the last leg, then leave the other in the spot where we the loop begins.  This time, we’re taking the northern ark of the loop.  It runs through Duxbury to the trailhead about 13.7 miles away (officially).  It’s foggy and a little nippy as we start out at 8 AM, with temps in the high 30s, but things are going to get a lot warmer in the next couple of hours.

The first part of our trek runs along a rural road.  Waldo assumes his place on point as Phyllis and I set a pace designed to generate some body heat in our septuagenarian bags of mostly water.  There’s not a whole lot of difference between the country we’re going through now and what we passed through last time.  There are, after all, only a few miles that separate the two paths.  It’s all low sandy country, with lots of white pines, ponds and bogs.  It’s not long and we’re off into the woods on a carpet of fallen oak leaves.

There are many fallen trees that we pass as we wend our way through the forest.  A quick glance tells why.  The downed trees here are not old and diseased, snapping somewhere along a rotting trunk, like they are along the rail-trail.  These trees have been felled at the root.  Large discs of lateral growing roots and soil are tipped up on edge and held there by their tumbled tree trunks.  A kick at the soil explains it all.  It’s sand, not that different from the beach.  Mature oaks and white pines don’t have deep tap roots, so strong winds can easily tip them over — there just isn’t enough integrity to the sand to keep the roots in the ground.  There are places where several trees block the path.  That’s no big obstacle for younger bones and sinews, but when you’re of an age where you don’t go down unless you have a good plan about how you’re going to get up again, you need to approach these obstacles a bit gingerly.  I absolutely hate the fact that I have to carefully plan how I’m going to navigate these encumbrances instead of just hopping over the damn things without a second thought.  Old age sucks.

We pass one older gentleman, going the opposite direction, who is also following the Bay Circuit Trail.  He is alone, though, and has to do it by backtracking.  Using a paper map that can be bought online from the Appalachian Mountain Club, or REI, he selects portions of the trail and checks them off as he finishes them.  It’s reassuring that we’re not the only gray hairs out here meeting the challenge.

We haven’t gone far and I strip off the rain jacket I started with and tie it around my waist.  A little further done the trail and I open my jacket to cool off a bit.  About halfway to the trailhead and I’m sweating. I take off my jacket and stuff it in the pack I use to carry Waldo’s water.  In the process, I take out one of the water bottles and offer it to Waldo.  He sucks it down and empties it – about a liter.  We’re both hot.  Phyllis is shedding clothing too, but keeps on a light wind breaker.  I glory in being able to walk in shirt sleeves again.  And it’s still February!

Most of the path is easy going and Phyllis and I go back to the “36 Questions to Fall in Love.”  We start off with number 20, “What does friendship mean to you?” and, after beating it to death with overthinking, go on from there.  In the process, we did wander off trail, as per usual, so added another half mile or so to our trek.  The last question, number 36, is, “Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it.  Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.”  Phyllis and I have many hundreds of miles underfoot and have discussed, in some form or other, many of the subjects broached by these questions.  Because of that, none of these question have proven to be particularly probing for us, but, still, it’s interesting to go through them and they provide a basis for ongoing prattle as we plod along.

By the time we’ve finish the questions, we’re back on the roads and the day starts to get a little chilly and breezy for my state of dress.  It’s such a bother to have to take the pack off and pull out my jacket, so I decide to just suck it up and continue on.  My back starts to bother me by the time we hit the 10-mile mark and when we get to the trailhead, 14.7 miles from where we started today (along the wandering way we went), I’m pretty sore and stiff.  But we did it!  We add it all up, as best we can and, over the past three years or so, we have walked around 260 miles on and around the Bay Circuit Trail.  We’re done.  I walk to the seawater in Kingston Bay, just a few yards away, and dip the toe of my boot in, just to make it official.  Another half-mile and we’re back to the car.

Waldo is curled up on his car seat and sleeping, so Phyllis and I decide to celebrate by going to a Korean restaurant, in nearby Plymouth, for dinner.   By the time we’re done, I’m exhausted.  Waldo is still napping when I get back to the car.  It’s another hour and a half drive to home, then dinner for Waldo and my recliner for me.

I’m sleeping well tonight!


Done at long last!

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