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Mike Volpe

The Ups and Downs of Walking Through Missouri

Missouri’s landscape has changed completely from that of Illinois. Instead of the plain plains, I now encounter rolling hills and plenty of trees. The wonderful trees are extremely helpful on my walk so I can take breaks and hide from the sun. Back in Illinois, I felt as if I were walking on a hot frying pan for miles at a time.

The weather is very hard to predict. It can change dramatically in an instant. Just the other day, the sky was speckled with a few clouds until a huge gust of wind kicked up. Suddenly the sky became dark and lightening illuminated the sky. Fortunately I wasn’t far from a little creek so I hid under the bridge for about 20 minutes until the storm rolled on. Then that evening another storm came in, bringing power, fury, and hail along with it. I was grateful to have been safe in my hotel during that storm. As I walk I am always scanning the skies in an effort to learn the behavior of the clouds. This way, I can determine if I need to run for shelter or not.

 

While I am grateful for the abundance of trees, I am concerned about the distance between checkpoints along the Trail. You can walk for 20 miles and encounter no signs of life. The main roads are spread out so I have been taking country roads. I’m just a little worried about the hot weather and limited resources between places to sleep.

I’ve lost quite a bit of weight lately due to the excessive heat and my inability to consume large quantities of food. I carry extra water but it becomes boiling hot by midday. I also bring granola bars and trail mix to eat but oftentimes it is just not enough. I don’t want to carry more food than necessary since every little thing adds additional weight to my backpack; however I may need to make some compromises since my future consists of 20 mile stretches with nothing in between. Today I’m resting in a motel in Perryville, MO. When I begin walking again tomorrow, I’ll be heading westward towards Springfield, MO.