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Monday, October 12, 2009

A Day On the Trail- Base Camping


This kind of hike that I just finished is a lot different from the backpacking we did this spring. I thought maybe it would be interesting if I explained it a little bit. For all of this hike I only stayed three places. I had two locations where I camped for multiple nights (base camping), and one home where I also spent a couple of nights. I had to do this because there aren't many places in Ohio where there are places to camp that are close enough together to walk from one to the next, day after day.

bicycle locked to pole

So how did I get back and forth to those base camps? I used my bike and car each day. See the bike sort of hidden in the weeds? It's locked to the utility pole. The plan was that I would put the bike out each day where I planned to end my walk, then drive back to the start of the walk, walk to the bike, and ride back to the car. (Or sometimes I put the car where I wanted to end, rode the bike first, then walked to the car, and went back to pick up the bike. Does any of this make sense?)

Ohio hill

Southern Ohio is very hilly. Here is a picture from a valley showing the next ridge. I didn't walk over this particular one, but I did plenty of others!

Buckeye Trail turn blaze

Most of this hike was on roads. It would be great if more of the trail was off-road, but that's not the case for a lot of Ohio. See the light blue rectangles on the pole? That tells a hiker that there is a turn, and that turn is to the right. A single rectangle means that the trail continues straight. North Country Trail blazes are a little bit brighter blue, but we all know to watch for these in Ohio.

campfire breakfast

I only had time to cook out twice, even though I went with expectations of lots of time alone. I met a lot of nice people. I think I will tell you about one encounter another day. So I did enjoy the little bit of camp time I had.

curvy road with rock

Many of the roads were interesting. This curvy hill is actually on a state highway. The rocky outcrop was practically in the traffic lane! There were lots and lots of pretty miles, but many of the pictures really don't show it.

view from Bat Roost Road

And the opposite view, from that of the valleys, is one from a ridge. Many times the scenery was really just hinted at, because there were so many trees that you couldn't see a clear long view. But here, on Bat Roost Road (no kidding), there were great views of the hills in Ohio and Kentucky. The Ohio River is somewhere down there, unseen among the hills.

I only had to ride my bike six of the days of the hike. The other five days I was given rides to spot my car. That was fine with me. Since I spent most of September sitting in a chair trying to get that stress fracture in my leg to heal, I wasn't in particularly good shape. The leg didn't give me any trouble, but I sure wasn't in good enough shape to be riding all those hills on my bike!

But one way and another, I finished all the miles I had planned, and thus all of the NCT in Ohio. My total NCT mileage is now 4082 miles.

See A Day on the Trail for a typical day of backpacking
See Young Passes 4000 Mile Mark


Rick (Ratty) said...

The thing with the bike is a good idea. Doing all of that must have given you a great understanding of the immediate conditions on that part of your journey. Which is overall more enjoyable, a hike like this or one that is more in the wilderness? I wonder about the advantages and disadvantages of both. I sometimes wonder because I tend to avoid as much civilization as I can.

rainfield61 said...

The hash groups also mark the trail for us in the forest. These are really useful for new hikers.

VanillaSeven said...

Camping is always fun :) Please ride your bike in moderation Sharkie. Pray for a speedy recovery for you.

Sharkbytes said...

Ratty- you have asked a lot of interesting questions. Maybe I should do a post with some of my feelings about that whole situation.

Hi rainfield! when you say hash marks, do you mean cuts on the trees? In lots of places here we are not allowed to do that, but the paint is usually acceptable.

Vanilla- Thank you so much! My leg does seem to be all better now. A bit of sore muscles in the thighs from the biking, but the fracture spot doesn't hurt at all!