Illinois River Trail: Day 3

Let’s see if I can try to keep my tenses in check with this entry.  On Friday morning we spent a quiet morning at camp, enjoying what would be the last of our peaceful solitude. None of us were ready to take off.  Even Samson was more content to just hang out at the camp. He stopped following me around incessantly since he must have figured out that I wasn’t leaving him. I’m sure he wasn’t enthralled with putting his pack back on.

Most of my clothes dried out, as I moved them around to every available sunny spot all morning. It didn’t really matter since it was going to be so hot that wet clothes would have certainly dried out anyway as I walked.

Around noon, we took off to head back to the car. My thoughts were on whether we’d get out over the mud ruts or if we’d be camping down there for the next week. The trail was hot, sunny, and dry. I’ve decided that I don’t mind hills, I don’t mind long hikes, I don’t mind the heavy pack. I really just don’t tolerate the heat. Plus, by now, I was just about out of my mind about running into another rattler. Every rock was a threat. And there were a lot of rocks.  We tapped, tapped, tapped along with our trekking poles. I think Monica may have been a little skittish as well.  The path was narrow in places with rocks piled up on both sides. Warm, nice comfy rocks. I kept my eyes on the path, afraid to look at the sides of the trail for fear of seeing another one.  I thought this must be nature’s way of helping me get over my lifelong fear: by exposing me to object of my phobia over and over, as if to desensitize me. Nice try, Mother Nature. Really, your intentions are pure, but your modus operandi is horrific.

Samson with his Muttluks

Monica and I had put Samson’s boots on. We ordered them from a company in Canada, but we hadn’t put them on him yet.  It was hot and I had put Samson’s pack back on him, hoping he wouldn’t be dumb enough to roll off the trail again.  He lagged a lot. I know he hates the heat and I was kicking myself for not getting his hair cut before we left home. Finally, I unloaded his water bottles and we each carried one. He was still dragging and would lie down in every shady spot we came across.  Ultimately, I took his whole pack off and strapped it to the back of my own pack. “That dog is manipulating you, ” Monica said.

Really? Don't you feel bad for him?

Really? Does the dog have that motivation to manipulate? Perhaps. Either way, he was free and happy, trotting along with his Muttluks on his front paws. About 2 miles in, we found a little oasis and stopped to rest,  cool off and let Samson get in the water. He ran right in.The creek was rushing down the cliff, but he went into the quieter water. When he came out I noticed he only had one boot on.  Obviously, it was gone forever, washed down the river.  I wasn’t willing to give up that easily.  A short way downstream I saw a collection of sticks and other debris that got caught up. Maybe, with any luck, the boot would be caught up in that. I traipsed down there and peered into the water. It was hard to make anything out. I thought I spotted something yellow and reached down to retrieve it, but it was just a leaf. “Pull all that out of there, ” Monica instructed. I didn’t want to dislodge it all because if the boot was caught up in there it would get washed away with the debris I loosened. I carefully picked away at it until I spotted something. Probably just another leaf. I had to step completely into the water up to my calf. I plunged my hand into the water and to my shock, pulled the boot out. And we were complaining that we could only get yellow boots when we ordered them. Turns out, any other color would never have been spotted.

Look! I'm amazing

Me = hero. Samson, naturally, was unimpressed.

We made it back to the car in the late afternoon. It was a relief to put the pack down. Even Kc thought so. We drove back to Selma on that god-forsaken road that seemed to be twice as long as when we came in.  In Selma, we parted ways with Kc and Monica and I took off toward the coast to spend a few days.

One comment

  1. I am soooo proud of you. You look great and you have really conquered alot! Dr Rothman would be proud of you too. Love you.

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