November 21, 2023

At the start of our walk.


Pain is temporary.  It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place.  If I quit, however, it lasts forever.

-Lance Armstrong


48 hours after our last BCT walk and we’re at it again, starting from where we left off in Sharon.  I only had one day to rest, but Phyllis’s schedule is tight, the weather forecast is good and I can’t pass up the opportunity to put another leg of the trail behind us.  Our next opportunity won’t happen for two weeks, so I really want to go today.  As we start out, my low back is a little sore, but not bad.  My climbing muscles have no soreness at all.  I have high hopes that the walk will be, more or less, pain-free.  We have 11.5 miles to go to Easton.

The temp is about 40℉, with very little breeze.  The sky is overcast, so shadows are vague and ill-defined.  From the car, the path stretches out before us, broad and well-defined.  It looks like it might have once, and may still now, be used by cars.  There are no ruts to suggest that it has recently been used by motorized vehicles, though.  The trail is flat and, here and there in the low places, are muddy patches covered by leaves and pine needles.  In some of those spots, you can see the underlying quagmire and in others, not so much.  I misjudge one footfall and pull my boot out covered in black thick slime up over the top of my toes.  Waldo’s paws look about the same as my foot, but it won’t stick to them.  In an hour, his feet will be white again.  He has self-cleaning paws.  Wish I could say the same for my boots.  In several places, someone has put down wooden planks to avoid the mud.  In other places, we have to seek out the high ground, rocks and branches to avoid the sludge.

As we progress down the trail, we’re surrounded by white pines and no leaf-bearing trees.  In these places, the ground is covered by pine needles.  Then, further down the path, oaks and American beeches dominate and we’re walking on leaves.  In both, a pastel tan hides the almost black earth underneath.  The deciduous trees, while not yet totally naked, are well on their way to hibernation.  I can see farther through the woods than during late spring and summer, when so much is blocked by the greenery, but not all that far.  The trunks of the trees are packed tight enough together that line-of-sight is blocked within a short distance.  Most of the trees are new-growth, although we do see some pines that are about one hundred years old or so.

As we walk along, we pass a few people and dogs.  No bikes, though.  I suppose a mountain bike could go through here, but I see no tracks in the mud to suggest they have.  None of the people we pass are walking the entire BCT, they’re just locals out for a short walk in the woods.  We stop and chat with them and many say that one day, they would like to do the whole thing.  I feel like telling them to do it now – to wait until you’re old hurts.

Waldo is obviously really enjoying himself.  He romps up and down the trail, on occasion exploring the territory off to the sides.  Despite the fact there are thousands of sticks out here, he doesn’t pick up many.  I think he does that to treat anxiety, a sort of a security stick kind of thing.  But he’s too excited and happy to be out here to be anxious enough to need a stick.

Phyllis is an energizer bunny.  She uses walking poles and is cautious about the uneven slick ground.  That slows her down a little.  Otherwise, she just goes and goes and goes.  She has recently kept herself in good shape by doing a lot of bicycling.  It’s only been a week since she returned from a cycling tour in Normandy, France.  I cannot think of a better companion to be out here walking with.  The best part is she enjoys it as much as Waldo and I do.

Halfway through and my low back starts hurting again.  It slowly worsens and I can tell it’s all sore muscles – but not the climbing muscles that hurt last time.  I guess I didn’t spend enough time resting and got back in the saddle a bit too soon.  About three miles from the end and my muscles are in spasm.  They’re so tight that I’m heeling well to starboard and can’t straighten up all the way.  It’s painful, but not overpoweringly so.  I carry on, slowly, and Waldo and Phyllis are patient with me.  They stop and take a rest when I find a convenient rock to sit on and stretch out my back.  Soon enough, we’re back to the car, I’m sitting in the seat and the pain is gone.  That means it’s muscles that hurt and not something else.  I just need to build up my strength by doing more of these walks and going up and down hills more often.

Our next leg is in two weeks, weather permitting.  We’ll be going 11.9 miles from Easton to East Bridgewater.  I have two weeks to prepare.  After that, we’ll only have five more legs to do before the end.  I’m not sure how many of those we’ll be able to finish before the first snow falls, but we’ll do what we can.  After we’re done?  Who knows.  But I’m not ready to hang up my boots yet.

And Waldo certainly isn’t.


I’m listing a bit to starboard toward the end of our walk.

Leave a Reply