Wood Mountain Walk, Day Eight

by breavman99

I woke up late this morning, feeling drained of energy despite my day off. I’ve been walking with leaden legs for two hours and I’m about halfway to Limerick. Highway 13 has a wide, flat paved shoulder with a gravel verge running alongside it that looks as if it’d be good for walking, but because it slopes into the ditch, it hurts my feet. That means I’m mostly up on the shoulder.

It’s been drizzling on and off, but not enough to make me decide to get out my raincoat. That’s always a big decision: am I likely to get wetter in the rain, or in my sweaty rain gear? (All rain gear ends up being sweaty.) I’m going to lean against this bale of roadside hay for a while and rest.

Later: it’s noon. I’ve stopped again to eat and rest my feet. There must be a classic car show in Assiniboia today, because fancy old (and new) cars have been passing me all morning. I have an hour or two left until Limerick. I can see the elevator in the hazy distance.

My gait is dwindling into a bent-kneed, shuffling hobble. The blisters, mostly, I think. Once in a while I try to walk properly, but the blisters under the toes of my left foot protest. So tomorrow will have to be a shorter day, and I’ll get to Wood Mountain on Monday. My feet just won’t do another long day.

Later: I’m in the Limerick hotel, listening to old honky-tonk country music and nursing a beer. Lunch is coming. All is well.

I found my stride after taking a long break at lunch, although I’m still tired and footsore. And the storm that was threatening didn’t break, so I’m dry. Two storms, actually. The water in Assiniboia doesn’t agree with me–I think I contains Epsom salts–and I wasn’t sure I’d make the hotel in time. But I did.

I felt compelled to walk through Limerick, even though it’s not the most direct route (not that I know what the most direct route might be) after prematurely announcing its demise a few posts back. As my friend Connie pointed it, it’s still going. There’s a grocery store, a Co-op gas station and agro-centre, a community hall and a post office. Many rural communities can’t boast that many services. So, Limerick, please accept my apologies.

I’ll be happy to leave Highway 13 behind tomorrow–some drivers crowded me today and I didn’t like it–although who knows what the road south will be like. That’s tomorrow’s worry.