Friday, June 3, 2011
I Know I'm Not Exactly Danica Patrick...
Still tired from the heat of the day before, I got a late start, not departing Pennsboro til nine. At the old Pennsboro depot I learned the railroad had run here from 1881 to 1983. The P and H, where I had eaten the night before stood for Pennsboro and Harrisville, the local line. The rails were gone from this part of West Virginia, but not forgotten. The diner I visited later in Cairo was dominated by pictures of trains - their railroad roots went back all the way to 1856, when the area was still part of Virginia.
The train may no longer be running, but at least the trail in this section had not been abandoned. The Ritchie County portion of the NBRT is much better manicured. The grass is well-shaven, rather than the scraggly beard growing on parts of the eastern end. Picnic benches stand in the shade every couple of miles, providing ample opportunity to rest.
Four tunnels on the day helped to keep me cool. Dick Bias was my favorite of the four for obvious reasons, but Silver Run has the most interesting story. The tunnel is supposed to be haunted by a woman who was struck by the train there while on the way to her betrothal. She is said by those who have seen her to still be wearing her wedding dress. I was glad not to run into her - you know how women get about weddings - she's probably still in a bad mood.
The North Fork of the Hughes River was also a feature of my day. I crossed the body of water several times as it plotted an ess-shaped course thru the hills. I seem to write about tunnels and water a lot lately. If I can squeeze in obelisks somewhere we will have ourselves a Henry James novel.
I stopped for the day just short of Petroleum, past the 21 mile marker. I have now achieved 512 total miles. When I met the Appalachian Trail hikers back at Harper's Ferry they asked me if I had a trail name. I said I don't and I wouldn't take one until I had done five hundred miles and proved myself to be serious.
That benchmark has been surpassed so I now dub myself "Mac Truck." I'm slow, I carry a heavy load, but I always get to my destination. Also, being of Scottish descent I am already a Mac. In addition, my uncle and cousin were long distance truck drivers.
Thanks to those of you who have helped me get there with your recent sponsorships and donations:
Paul and Sharon Weekley
Daniel and Maria Walls
the Staff at the Medallion, especially Maria
Tim and Fritz