River to River Trail – Day 2

Godwin West Trailhead to Broken Wheel Ranch
7.7 Miles

Sleep really can make all the difference!  Everything seemed better in the light of day, three hummingbirds even came to wish us god morning. We woke up later than we wanted to, and tear down took forever because of the ivy problem, but we got moving about 10:30.  We decided to snack a little, but held off on breakfast til we could find a safer space to hang out.

That place took 4 miles to materialize.  The path remained narrow and surrounded by poison ivy, sometimes reaching thigh level heights.  We took several mini snack breaks along the way, but skipping a big breakfast took its toll.  All of us hit our expecting walls, but had no option but to keep pushing on.  What really made it difficult were all the steep climbs and descents.

This stretch of trail follows along the tops of tall bluffs, and being able to look downward into the wooded valleys was gorgeous.  I wish I could capture it in a photo, but can never get the depth to translate well.

Arbor has been using a hat with an integrated bug net as his sun visor.  He just didn’t want to drop big money for the right kind of sun hat, and this has been working for him, even if it does look a little bit silly. Well, we’re sure glad he brought it because the gnats were impossible for different stretches.  Being able to take turns with the bug net was an incredible blessing.  

Ubadion’s ankle was really troubling him too.  He broke it when he was a ballet dancer, requiring surgery, and it was never the same.  There was a 40 minute stretch that he was seriously contemplating bailing on the trip at the first opportunity. (And truth be told, if he bailed – I probably would too)

Finally we arrived at millers creek, and it was as if the heavens welcomed us in.  There was plenty of space to stretch out, a cool stream to dunk our feet in, and we were able to refill all of our water reservoirs again.  The frogs serenaded us, bright yellow birds zipped in and out and the array of large beautiful butterflies was incredible.  We ate lunch and lingered far longer than intended, making it two hours before departing.  We worried that it would make us late to camp again, but we all agreed the time was worth it.

We were all feeling much better, and past the creek was a new wilderness area often used by horses.  This made the path much wider, more gently graded and surprisingly less ivy!  Ubadion even found some better adjustments on his pack, so that he was far more comfortable.  You could hear the lifting moods as we all cracked silly jokes and talked over all of our hiking challenges thus far.

The human condition really is a wonderful thing.  Being able to feel like you just can’t possible go on, but doing it anyway – and coming out the other side can be an incredible feeling.  I suspect this trip will be full of lessons like that.

We practically flew down the trail after lunch, and in no time we met the trailhead.  We walked down the road a bit, just to see the view, when a local woman asked us if we were lost.  We chatted a but about our hike, when she asked where we were staying the night.  We mentioned the Broken Wheel Ranch, and she told us it was just down the hill!  YAAY!  

We met Joe, who invited us into his air conditioned meeting room and we shared stories about our trip, his management of the campground (which had sold a month prior) and the terrific camp dog, Drifter.  He charged us only $5 for our stay, which included a glorious shower house and bathroom.  We even did a little laundry in the shower stall.  By the way, Arbor did get a poison ivy rash on his ankle, but Joe had some ivy wash in the shower house that we all used liberally and Arbor’s rash is already looking better!

Our dinners are rehydrating in their cozies, Arbor is taking his turn in the shower, and I’m typing this up before eating.  It’s 9:00pm now, and I imagine I’ll be sleeping just after eating and cleanup.

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