Friday, May 20, 2011
On the Road Again
May 20: After a day of rest I was rejuvenated and ready to go again. The rain has stopped, at least for 24 hours, a record for West Virginia as of the last couple of months.
Along with my risen spirits came a new outlook on my surroundings. West Virginia is incredibly green. I'm surprised they don't use the color in their flag or for their state university. Maybe they are just sick of seeing it all of the time.
Of course, there is Marshall University, they wear green. I remember watching them humiliate Furman on our Homecoming one year. For those of you who don't know, schools are supposed to schedule a cream puff for Homecoming so they can get and easy win and all the alumni go home happy. Not so with Furman - we scheduled the best team in 1-AA at the time - they had some guy named Randy Moss and a young QB named Chad Pennington. Randy Moss had two hundred yards, three touchdowns, and smoked one ounce during the game. I think we lost 51-0.
Now what was I saying about West Virginia before my alma mater got me so upset? Oh yes, the land is verdant and hilly. Rivers and streams flow in angry brown torrents almost everywhere. Add in the constant rain and an impressive variety of bird life and the state reminds me a bit of Costa Rica thus far.
Today's walk took me out of Keyser on a boring and busy highway, but after a few miles I was back on country roads, heading through the tiny towns of Ridgeville and Antioch. For future ADT travelers Antioch Methodist church has a wonderful covered picnic area right on the road where you can rest your weary bones for a moment in comfort. I am just starting to enter the mountains and cities will be basically non-existent for the next few days.
Deer, butterflies, and birds abounded on today's stroll. My favorite find was a woodpecker with a crimson head, white middle, and black bottom, not large enough to be a pileated and not small enough to be a downy (the only two species I can recognize). There are seven different species in the area so pick one of the middle-sized ones and you have a one in five chance of getting it right, kind of like the SAT, but without the downside of losing your college basketball scholarship if you get the answer wrong.
Even in a area as rural as I went through today I managed to bump into a piece of American history. Nancy Hanks, the mother of Abraham Lincoln, grew up in a home just off of my route. A memorial to her now stands in the spot.
I was getting tired near the end of the day when providence shined upon me in the form of a local man named Daniel, who first offered me water and then when he found out I had no place to stay tonight, offered up his home to me. He and his wife Maria were incredibly kind and welcoming, I consider myself incredibly lucky to have stumbled onto such wonderful people. I was warned the people in West Virginia are incredibly nice, I guess I better just get used to it :)
14 miles/319 total miles