|Boys Town campus|
My first full day and I've already gone and gotten into a big hurry. Fellow Furman Alum Gretchen, class of '87, is hosting me along with her family tonight and I wanted to arrive in a position to reach a camping spot for day three before she picked me up for the evening. Therefore I skipped the dilly-dallying of the ADT, which meanders through a series of trails and city parks, and cut to the chase.
The expedited route meant slamming straight down the throat of Dodge Street, a major east-west thoroughfare. I don't particularly recommend that any sane humanoid take this road. Crossing Interstate 680 was particularly dangerous, although my mind was eased for some reason by the fact that I met a fellow loon job headed the other direction.
After two hours of urban mayhem I reached the relative safety of 144th street, a busy street, but at least a bit into suburbia and removed somewhat from the throngs of autos on Dodge. This area is known as Boy's Town, after the famous orphanage founded here in the early 20th century by Father Flanagan, a visionary priest who believed all boys regardless of background, race, or creed were deserving of an opportunity. According to the priest, “There are no bad boys. There is only bad environment, bad training, bad example, bad thinking.” Agreed sir.
After several miles on 144th I reached Chalco Hills Recreation Area and decided to dabble a bit in an environment not surrounded by concrete and shopping malls. The park is based around Wehrspann Lake, a body of water constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Some nasty weather was starting to blow in (literally - some gusts nearly knocked me off my feet) and I was in reach of tomorrow's destination so I decided to use my lifeline and call Gretchen for pick up. She arrived just in time - a steady hale had added itself to the rain and wind.
We returned to West Omaha where I met her three children: Chris, Carolyn, and Carter, as well as her husband Ken. Like many folks who have taken an interest in my tale they had traveled extensively, mainly because of their work, which took them to Oregon, California, the UK, and many other places in between. We had many hours of interesting conversation, especially about the Paleo Diet which they had been trying out with great success.
The weight loss program is based on the theory that ever since the invention of agriculture our diets have been different from what our body is genetically prepared to respond to - grains are the main culprit. As a result we have developed diseases like Coeliac, diabetes, and Crone's since our body isn't able to digest the food properly. Perhaps one day are systems will adapt, but evolutionary change takes many thousands of years and we just aren't there yet.
After an incredible dinner of Irish stew, an unbelievable pear cake (I kind of wanted to throw the rest of it in my bag), and a couple of local brews we said good night. Nothing eases the pain of the trail more than a soft bed and some good company. Even more so as I may not be as lucky again for quite some time.
16 miles/1822 total miles