I had decided to combine the next two sections---Sharon Creek and then Sharon Creek to Delaware as the Sharon Creek section was only 4K and the Sharon Creek to Delaware section was only 8K. On top of that, because of my slight navigation error near the end of the first section, I had decided to go back and re-hike it. This was a further 2K so, all in all, about 14K. This seemed doable.
|The "green gate" and then walking along|
another farmer's field, headed for
The rest was kind of a debacle.
Thursday was hot and when I set out it was about 34C (93F) and very humid. I kind of enjoy hot and humid so I didn't think this would be a problem. I completed the last portion of Section 1 with no problems and then set out on Section 2-Sharon Creek. The hiking here was more difficult than the first section with lots of steep hills. It was very scenic, though, and this always tends to make up for some of the difficulty. This section ends at Sharon Creek Conservation Area and I took this opportunity to chow down a little and sit for a bit. At this point I knew I was already tired but still had 8K of hiking ahead of me and figured I had done tougher things.
Well, that 8K Sharon Creek to Delaware section was brutal---some of the steepest and most technical trails I have ever been on. Much of this was exacerbated by the heat and already having done one whole section and a part of another. I started rationing the water and still had run out substantially before I was done. At one point I had to stop because I actually thought I was going to throw up. Finally I made it to the town of Delaware and at that point it would have been a short little jaunt to where my car was (which I desperately wanted to reach) but, no, in order to follow the guidebook I first had to travel down a deserted road, under a highway and then along the river before I could get back to my car.
This was where I started to have some major physical issues. This last part involved clambering down a couple of different concrete rockfalls and steep slopes. At this point, thigh and calf cramps began to set in. After overdoing it, I tend to develop excruciating inner thigh cramps and I actually envisioned not being able to make it back to the car. I gave them a few moments to subside and then I gingerly made it the rest of the way.
So.... many lessons were learned Thursday about planning, hydration, fueling and better knowing my body's limits. The trail organizers start off with a 15K section and then follow that with a 4 and an 8K section and, on paper, I couldn't figure out why the second two weren't combined. Well, now I know!
At any rate, here is another photo dump, more or less in the order I took them!
|Re-hiking the last part of the first section|
got me all the way back to Carriage Road
and Sharon Road. It was pouring rain the
last time I was here...
|A quick walk up Sharon and I'm at the|
beginning of Section 2--Sharon and Springer
|Springer takes a hard right and becomes|
Heatly Drive. Nice pleasant little walk!
|After a short stretch on Heatly, you arrive|
at the footpath into the woodlot. Lots of
deer in here and I scared a lot of them.
|Scenic little bridge|
|A little more scenery|
|And I'm at the end of the second section,|
sort of wondering what I've gotten myself
in for. Tired at this point but
|A little highway walking down Springer|
til I have to turn left into another farmer's
field. Things start to get a little rough
in this section...
|They use many of these small wooden boxes|
covered with wire mesh (traction) to
get you through the boggy areas.
|The ever-present power lines, getting|
closer to Highway 402.
|Crossing over Highway 402.|
|Just on the other side of the highway,|
these steps take you down. The pic
doesn't do their steepness credit.
|More scenery! There's a river in there you|
just can't see. At this point I was struggling
and actually didn't have the energy
to take any more pics. Hard hiking here!
|Finally back to Delaware. This is Pleasant|
Street. And it was quite!
|The deserted road which used to be part|
of Highway 2. There was a wide wooden
barricade at this point and a strip of
caution tape, all of which suggesting
to ordinary people that you shouldn't
go down there. I went down there...
|...and came across this rather hellacious|
descent into a small ravine. I'm looking
up from the bottom in this pic.
|A short walk takes you to the buttress|
for the old Highway 2 overpass
|I then ended up under the newer overpass.|
Some cool graffiti, with ladders and
scaffolds even! I was having
major cramp issues at this point.
|A short walk along the river and I am|
back at the Delaware Conservation area,
where I had left my car. Never so grateful!