Man it is freaking hot in the Midwest. I knew that having lived here before and it is not been disappointing me. I have salt tablets and gatorade mix to help replenish and hydrate. I am drinking at least 150 ounces of water a day, usually around 170 ounces. I drink two camelbacks of water a day plus 1-2 water bottle full. When I am moving in this heat it seems like I am constantly drinking. I got light headed when I stopped yesterday but I sat down down for awhile and just drank. It really is hard to stay hydrated.
This has definitely been one of the hardest things I have ever done. One day or a few days worth can be a challenge but rucking up and doing it day after day is a trial. I still don't wish for the cold at all but well.. cooler would be a relief.
I sent my sleeping bag back home with my girlfriend I haven't been using it for awhile. There is no point, at the most all I need now is to throw my wet weather poncho over me if even that. The one piece of equipment I have missed since I set out is my poncho liner. The Army poncho liner is the best piece of "snivel" gear ever made. Lightweight, soft, comfortable and warm, it's the military equivalent of a wooby, and a damn good one. I left the military with pretty much a full set of TA-50 at least all the stuff that I would use in the field. If you have your own stuff you don't have to mess around with hours of cleaning it to inspection ready and turning it in is much easier when you go to your next post. I couldn't find my poncho liner before I left and I think I may have accidentally put it in a Goodwill donation.. I sure didn't do it on purpose. I stopped at a military surplus store looking for a replacement but the ones they had were about as heavy as my sleeping bag and not made out of the stuff. So sad, I lost my favorite piece of snivel gear.
When I started out on this I had a fairly loose plan on what I was going to write about and do. Like writing about places and such, but as I have went along people or things that happen just have seemed far more interesting to me. That is not to say that there have not been some cool natural sites but people and events have been what sticks out to me. When traveling to other places I often skip the big landmarks and look for out of the way places and look at people so I am not shocked at what has gotten most of my attention. Unless the trip involves a beach then I am just happy to plop down on the beach and play in the waves..
I had two out of the ordinary encounters yesterday. One with "heil schnizzler" and the other with a snake. Actually they were both very similar except snakes are nicer.
I was hiking through a small town. I will leave out the name except it's in Iowa.. you never know who might read this.. A young guy came out of his (assuming his) house and onto the front lawn. Which was a good thing, I needed water. I asked him if I could get some water from his hose. I passed muster because he said I could.
He was shirtless and had that kinda white trashy look about him but in a bad way. Now some people would argue that there isn't such a thing as a good white trashy look but who am I to judge someone. You know you can get into socio economic stuff, like they just don't have the education/money etc.. and are stuck in some bad conditions. And I would agree with that. Just because someone wasn't lucky enough to have had money or the ability to get out of a situation doesn't mean they are a bad person etc.. Having said that and after taking a closer look at him I went ahead and judged him as bad white trash.
It didn't take much of look, he had two giant lighting bolt/SS tattoos, an 88 tattoo and a bunch of others. The reason I passed muster with him to get some water was that I was white. If you aren't familiar with lightning bolt/SS tattoos it is a neo nazi tat and the 88 tattoo stands for the eighth letter of the alphabet. 88 = HH which equals Heil Hitler. I had to stop myself when I saw the 88 tattoo I almost blurted out "Heil Snizzler" which is always pops into my head when I see that stuff. I don't think that would have turned out as smoothly as talking other random things I might say, like accepting a job haulin bricks or eating cats. That and I kept wanting to say my girlfriend is chinese.. neither of which would have been a good idea. So I had a quick pretty uneventful conversation with him and moved on. Not exciting but it never really occured to me I would end up asking a neo-nazi for water on this trip. Did I still take the water? Hell ya, I was thirsty.
Then I ran into a snake, well another snake. I was walking in a path that had some over growth on it and I was looking at the tracks in the mud. There were raccoon and deer tracks so I was looking around for raccoon or deer, the raccoon tracks were pretty fresh looking. I don't look at my feet most of the time when I am hiking. You can see ahead of you and still look around. If you are always looking at your feet you miss everything else. My girlfriend can validate that, I say "look a deer" she looks up from her feet and says "where?" Then I point to where the deer used to be standing...
This time I missed the snake at my feet while I was looking around. I am not sure if I would have seen it if I was looking down though he was pretty well camouflaged. I heard it before I saw it. It moved when I was right beside it. I heard and stopped where I was because I wasn't sure where the snake was. I was pretty sure it was a snake but not where it was. It was about a foot and a half from me off to my left and it had a nice big diamond shaped head. That's when I thought crap a diamond head snake is probably poisonous. I am not sure how big it was, it was buried in the grass pretty good. It was shaking it's tail in the grass and looked like it was in an S shape. Luckily there was a decent sized stick on my right and I bent over and picked up the stick. Then I stabbed the snake with the stick and roasted my prize over the fire toasting my victory. Not really. I flicked the stick at its head to distract it and then hauled ass hoping it wasn't some kind of super snake that was going to chase me down and bite me for fun. I looked up snakes and it turns out it was probably a bull snake. They flatten their heads out in a diamond shape and thrash their tail around when they feel threatened to imitate a rattlesnake. I head some kind of snake body/tail movement but there was no rattle. So basically a non-threatening snake made me run like a little girl.