Day 99 – Texas Hill Country, Monday, February 7, 2011
Going to the Super Bowl on Sunday made for an exciting and very long day. Knowing how I started out the last 99 days, jetlagged and exhausted, I opted for a late morning start as opposed to leaving bright and early. While I was running around most the morning tying up loose ends, I feel like VANilla is packed more appropriately for my next journey. I added and deleted some items, but overall, I’m carrying less with me on this leg of the trip. I think the hardest items to pack are clothing. This fall when I left, it was so hot in Texas, I could hardly force myself to pack long pants, sweaters, and jackets and frankly I didn’t have much to choose from for 70 days! This February, Dallas has been brutally cold. I’m quite certain the whole world knows this with the Super Bowl coverage or should I say debacle leading up to game day. Anyway, despite knowing I’d be on the road for the next 8 months, and thus during the entire summer, I think I packed lots of heavy clothes.
VANilla is carrying one less companion. Only Petey is along for this part of the journey. Scout is watching over us, and I have a few small items traveling with me in her remembrance. On my way to Austin, I got in touch with my friend Molly who lives just Southeast of Austin in Bastrop, Texas. Typical of our friendship, we fall out of touch (usually because I can’t find her, though email and the fact I have lived in the same place for 14 years has helped), and then when we see each other it’s like we just talked yesterday. Given my late start and the fact Molly lives Southeast of Austin and the route was to take me Southwest, I abandoned my planned itinerary.
I headed to Bastrop and stopped at Bastrop State Park for a hike while I waited for Molly and her two wonderful boys to arrive home. Petey and I walked parts of several trails, somewhat by mistake. I always thought I had a good sense of direction, but I seem to daydream when I go hiking, even with the map in front of my face, and sometimes make an incorrect turn, though I’m very aware I can always turn around if I feel uncomfortable. Every time I wander through the woods alone, I think of Aron Ralston, the mountain climber who had to cut off his arm to survive a fall in a canyon. The movie 127 Hours is his story. I have my backpack full of stuff: food, water, pocket knife, whistle, phone, and more, and then I’m thankful the places I visit generally aren’t as remote as Bluejohn Canyon.
After about an hour and a half strolling beneath the pines, crossing a creek or two, and spotting a woodpecker, Petey and I called it quits and headed toward Molly’s for dinner. Molly’s back porch provides a lovely sunset view over pasturelands. I
met Henry, her three year old, for the first time and greeted five year old Owen for the second time. Just like their mom, they are hilarious! I might also mention they are extremely
energetic…they wore me out with piggy back rides and bucking bronco! Most of all they are as loving as can be, blowing kisses to me and Petey and administering bear hugs by the
dozen. We had so much fun! Once the boys went down for the night, Molly and I stayed up much too late chatting, especially to accommodate the early morning risers! I was sad to leave, but I’m hoping Molly will be able to join me in Yosemite! ETB