On to the ADT

                               On the way from Sandy Point State Park to Annapolis, MD

It seems to me that since Epiphany (the celebration of  the wise men from the East journeying to see the Christ child) is only two days away in the church calendar, it would be a great time to start a journey of our own.  Have you ever heard of the American Discovery Trail? (ADT)  It runs from the Atlantic Ocean in Delaware to the Pacific  in California.  It is a trail cobbled together from country roads, bike trails, forest service roads, hiking trails and sometimes city streets.  One can walk all of it, or bike some of it, or even drive parts of it, I suppose.

Anyway, my husband and I have downloaded the maps from Delaware through Ohio and our hope is to whittle away at covering the miles and seeing the sights.  Okay, I should be honest.  It is really my obsession, not his.   He bikes some.  And drives to spots to do photography.  And explores.  And provides navigational support, since the directions are not always easy.  And waits hours for me.  And picks me up when I am done.  What do I do?  I WALK!

The great news is that I have unwittingly covered 168 miles of the ADT when I hiked the C & O canal trail in 2008.  (The ADT is made by linking together existing scenic and historic roads and trails.)  So I’m thinking that a good winter project on some of my days off is to tackle the Maryland section from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge through Annapolis and on to D.C. where it joins the C&O in Georgetown.

Today was my first Friday off in ages when the sun was shining.  Hurray!  So I bundled up with my merino wool baselayer and insulating down jacket covered with a windbreaker to withstand the windchill, and we were on the road shortly after sunrise.  We drove two hours to Sandy Point State Park where I gave Rick orders to take pictures of the huge bay bridge and I headed out on the road.  It was great to get my walking rhythm back.  The territory of today’s walk was more populated than one might hope: lots of residential homes, some businesses, some large estates, yachts and boats in the water.   And yet there were wildlife surprises.  I passed a highway crew cleaning trash along the road.  One guy was just staring into the woods.  I greeted him as I passed and  he said, “There’s a fox out there.”  He pointed out through some bare,  gray-barked trees where a red fox was standing on a log that crossed a tidal creek.  The fox paused and stared at us for a moment before disappearing into the underbrush.   Then, with mutual “Happy New Years,” we humans went on with our labor and walk.

What does this have to do with wise men searching for the Christ child?  They had to follow a star.  I had to follow a set of written directions and I managed to get lost.  I still say a road sign was angled the wrong direction, but the long and short of it is that I took a wrong turn and had to call Rick to see where I was.  I ended up backtracking after going about a mile out of my way.  Would following a star have been  any easier?

The wise men confronted danger;  when they went to Jerusalem, they spoke with Herod who was a murderous loose canon.  I, on the other hand, only had to be extremely cautious and alert when the roads were busy and the shoulders narrow.  I faced no dangerous political leaders, only fast cars.

The wise men were in strange territory and had to depend on hospitality.  I could have used some hospitality.  I didn’t feel like I could sit on private property to eat my packed lunch, and so I just kept walking for the longest time.  I should have stopped at the one church yard I passed and presumed upon their hospitality, but it was just a bit early for lunch break.  Oh, well; now I know to take an opportunity when it presents itself.  I suspect that some people thought I was a homeless person walking on a road and carrying a pack. I refused to stare at them staring at me.  It is hard to be a walking traveler, so tonight I can sympathize with the traveling men from the east.

The wise men ended up finding the child Christ after their search.  I don’t know where this walk, done in pieces, will end up. I will keep you posted.   But today, my husband climbed out of the truck to greet me as I walked into the park under the bridge that leads to Annapolis.  That works for now.