The photos in this post are from a trip I took to Detroit back in March. I was in town for Mosaic, an interfatih gathering organized by my friend Todd, and I of course stopped for coffee and Salvo. Though mostly unrelated to this trip, these photos are a reflection of my love of wandering and exploring. I woke up that morning with a day ahead of me full of nothing but driving, reflection, prayer, coffee, and conversation. This is the sort of trip I hope to replace with walking trips in the future. Wow. Thank you all so much for your support over the past few days. Since announcing my trip on Monday I have received a wonderful amount of advice, hosting offers, and equipment loans. Thank you thank you thank you. Here's a few updates on the planning process:
This is one of my biggest design decisions for this trip. My initial plan was 8-10 miles a day. I’d heard that even the most serious hikers only do 12-15 miles a day on a long trip and 8-10 seemed like an appropriate scale down for my first attempt. That also seemed a little short, though. After all: assuming a 3 mph pace (which is pretty slow), that would only be 3.5 hours or so of walking each day. What would I do with my other 12.5 waking hours each day? Hmmmm.
Papa advised that I step it up a little bit (he likes a challenge) and I was seriously considering bumping it up. Then I chatted with an experienced hiking friend and he approved of my original 8-10 miles a day. He said that walking can take longer than expected once you figure in stops for water, stops for snacks/lunch/resting, stops for photos and little mini adventures. So now I'm thinking I’ll stick with my original pace. If I find myself getting a bored or underwhelmed I’ll just fill in the space with more writing and reading and picture taking.
That same friend with hiking experience also recommended that I consider not taking a tent with me. He offered me his tent but warned that it weighs 6 pounds, which can be a pretty large addition to a small pack. Extra weight in a pack, he said, can really add a lot of discomfort to a day’s walking. And I have to say that sleeping under the stars definitley has a romance to it. Sleeping sans tent brings two disadvantages to mind: fear and rain.
I’m excited to push through the fear of sleeping out all by myself. I’m less excited about getting caught in a downpour. This one is still up in the air but I’m leaning toward no tent. To avoid the rain I think I’ll ask my hosts if I can sleep inside in case of an epic rain.
Thanks to Emma (a local 2014 Owosso Fellow), I now have hosts in Durand and Byron. Check! And though I haven’t heard back from Joe Sawyer, Joe is the kind of guy who I’m pretty sure would let me camp in his back yard even if I showed up with no notice at all. (I did, after all, offer to scare the deer away from his tomatoes.) So I think I have a host in Corunna.
Are you reading this, Joe? See you on the 25th.
I am still looking for hosts in my out-of-county stops in Howell, Pinckney, and Dexter. Do any of you Ann Arbor conneted people know of somewhere I could stay? Who knows, maybe I’ll have a few nights of stealth camping. I do love making friends of strangers, though, so hosts would be lovely.
And now for a big 'ol check mark. I officially have all the equipment I need! (Or at least everything I need that I can think of so far.) Hoo-ah. Thank you to Chris Paytas, Tom Cook, Papa, and Seth Barnes for your generosity. I think I'll review my whole packing plan in an upcoming post. For now, just know that I am aiming for simplicity and an uber-light pack.
A big thank you to everyone who has responded to my trip over the last couple days - your support is so wonderful. Chris Eveleth, Chris Riley, Christian Van Epps, Justin Horvath, Tom Cook, Emma Tompkins, Chis Paytas, Spencer Klavan and of course my wonderful parents: thank you for making this trip possible!
My biggest to-do list items now are to 1) confirm hosts/locate hosts, 2) plan my meals, and 3) practice using my camping stove.