Some days you just never know what you’re going to find yourself faced with. Today was one of those days.
The day got started normal enough. We were out the door after breakfast at 8:15. Because the traffic has been so heavy with little to no shoulder to walk on for the last couple of days, we decided to follow the Google Maps walking route today. It was a few miles shorter than the driving route and the elevation change was not significant, so after a very few miles on the busy highway we were off into the hinterlands of central Italy, depending on the judgement of Google Maps and blind luck to get us through.
Our first problem arose when the halfway point came and went with no sign of a place to eat lunch. We pressed on and finally about 1:00 decided a candy bar was going to have to do. Then as the roads began to turn from pavement to gravel to dirt, and we were descending we knew there was a possibility we might have some challenges ahead. And sure enough, after walking around and through several mud holes covering the entire road, we came upon what seemed at the time like an obstacle we were not going to be able to conquer. Up ahead, the road ended at a fast running creek. The water was about knee deep, was running pretty fast, and was what could only be described as glacial melt. We stopped dead in our tracks and after several “oh crap’s” and “are you kidding me’s”, we started trying to figure out how to get ourselves out of this mess. We studies the GPS for a good 20 minutes but it was just too far to turn back, and after Dave walked up a completely dead end trail, we decided there was only one thing left to do; so off came the shoes and socks, up rolled the pants legs, and off we went across the worlds coldest water filled creek, holding shoes and socks in one hand, walking staff in the other, and doing our best to not slip down on the very slick rock-covered bottom of the creek. When we successfully reached the other side our feet and legs were beet-red from the cold water. After giving our feet time to dry it was back on with the shoes and socks and onward with this back road adventure.
When we got to within about five miles of our destination, we found ourselves traversing up and down what I would describe as a wash down a steep hill. While Google Maps must have thought it was a walkable trail, it was so thick with vines and other undergrowth, a machete would have been more handy than a walking staff. But at the end of the day we made it to our hotel about 3:30, hungry, muddy, and pooped. Unfortunately, all the restaurants in town were closed and the hotel’s restaurant didn’t open until 7:30 so we had to wait another four hours to have dinner.
One other little side note. For the last couple of days I’ve been having some left foot pain. Specifically, when I take a normal step, ie. heel-to-toe, two of my toes have a very severe nerve-type burning pain in them. So all day today I walked on either the inside or outside of my left foot. It was just too painful to take a normal step. Suffice to say, by the end of this challenging 21 mile cross country adventure my foot had had it. By late in the day, two of my toes had just gone completely numb. Luckily, I talked to our good friend and Physical Therapist back home in Paris, Susan Davis, and she gave me some good advice on what the problem was and how to get back on the road to happy feet.
Tomorrow, we’re walking about 17 miles, this time along the highway. We’re still on track to be in Rome by Sunday. Thanks for following.