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Monday, November 11, 2013

Don't Look a Gift Horse in the Ear

I'm definitely out of shape for long hikes. Who cares? There was a really biting wind with temps in the 40s. Who cares? I'm still happy, but I do hope I warm up before I have to go back to my wet tent.

Here's my campsite with my tiny Fly Creek one-person tent. Not exactly that idyllic spot in the forest, but in Ohio, when you can get a free place to camp at all, you take it. This is on a farm. The owners let Buckeye Trail hikers camp there. After all, when it's dark and you are inside your tent and out of the wind, who cares what the view is outside, right?

campsite at farm

Well, I don't want to look a gift horse in the ear, but this site has one drawback I wasn't sure I could overcome. The farm has grain storage silos on a scale with the ones for our county co-op near my house. Seriously. I encountered the owner this morning and thanked him for letting people camp. I asked him how many acres they farm. The answer? 3000. It's a family business. The problem is the grain dryers are running full blast, and even though it's not right by the tent, it sounds like a jet engine. I wasn't sure I would be able to sleep at all, but I did finally slip into unconsciousness.

The last of the fall farm tasks are being taken care of. That includes the last of the corn harvest. I watched this combine eat away at a huge field next to me as I woke up this morning.

harvesting corn

But corn isn't the only thing being grown. There was plenty of evidence of wheat fields, and oddly enough, this seems to be a field of parsnips. That's a lot of parsnips!


On a fairly gray day, one has to look for little gems to brighten things up. This crabapple looks as if it's already decorated for Christmas.


How far did I walk? I turned around at a road corner seven miles from where I began. That was my tentative goal, and I made it. Of course, I had to walk back. I thought I'd eat lunch at the halfway point, but there was no where at all to get out of the wind. That wind was something! My core was plenty warm, but I had to keep gloves on and my hood up (and tied) all day. I took a short rest, ate a granola bar and had some water. Then I knew where I was going to eat lunch. A little less than halfway back I had passed a sign with a parking area in a woodlot. I knew this would be a place to get out of the wind.

Fuller Preserve

Just because it was off-road trail, I wanted to hike the path through the preserve. It possibly added a half mile to my day, but it was pleasant. I followed that trail to the far edge of the (very small) preserve, and found a log to rest against to eat lunch. It was nice to take off the gloves and untie my hood. I'm telling you, lunch tastes SO good in the middle of a hike. A fox squirrel was very surprised to see me, but I didn't manage to get his picture. I left him an apple core to compensate for the interruption. I love little preserves like this, and it seems to be part of the county park system, but I wonder how much use it gets since it's so small.

Northwest Ohio is the former Great Black Swamp. That's why it's now such rich farmland. That's also why it's so flat. When I was still three miles from "home," I could see my destination. The red arrow points to the grain bins beside my tent. The four large ones just to the right of that, all the same height, are the Haskins elevators, another half mile beyond that.

Ohio farmland

Finally, I was getting close! You can see the tan tent to the left of the grain wagon, and the silver car to the right.

farm campsite

Just in time! It began raining as I turned the corner to walk the last quarter mile. I hopped in the car and went searching for a different local restaurant where I could eat. Actually drove to the next town, Whitehouse, and found Papoo's, where they were fine with me taking up space for hours, working on the computer, drinking coffee, eating pie, and finally ordering the Greek dinner, which was very good! And, they have free WiFi that comes on as soon as you boot up- no muss, no fuss.

Papoo's in Whitehouse Ohio

I'm going to play it for all it's worth. I'll stay here till they close and then go back and find out how wet the tent is. It's supposed to get really cold tonight. But there is always a warm car if I get desperate.

Walked just under 15 miles today. I'm stiff but not crippled. Hope conditions are such that I can walk again tomorrow. Supposed to be even colder but not raining. I'll play it by ear.

See Waterville Ohio, Try #2
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Lin said...

I actually know how loud those grain dryers are! I can't believe you slept next to one. :) Glad you found a warm place to hang out until you have to go back to the tent.

Ann said...

I'm exhausted just reading that. I'm also wrapping my blanket a little tighter around myself thinking about how cold it must be out there.

vanilla said...

I really enjoyed this tour; yet I am so tired from just thinking about the day you had.

Walk on!

Secondary Roads said...

Quite a hike. Quite a farm! Sylvia harvested parsnips today. Can't wait to post a photo of those monsters.

Sharkbytes said...

Lin- I would have sat in the car. Although this little tent is high enough to sit up in, reading would have been more enjoyable in a warmer locale.

Ann- wrap tight! Maybe you kept me a degree warmer.

vanilla- I hope to do just that for a long time to come

Chuck- I wonder if they leave these in the ground till spring. The tops seem small for harvesting time yet. I'm still not positive of my ID, but what else could they be? Some odd kind of radish?

RNSANE said...

It sure is flat where you are walking!!! I am so used to the San Francisco area and it's hills. Even Mumbai has hilly areas.

I think Papoo's sounds like a great place to enounter at the end of the day - free wifi, coffee, pie AND a Greek dinner.

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