Every guidebook warns of the section from Richmond to Danby Wiske. On it, you will face roads, flatness, and more roads for the better part of 15 miles. It is clear that the rights of way that Wainwright uses so effectively throughout the path are just not present in the area surrounding Richmond. And when there is no trail, you are forced to take to the streets, or the sidewalk (if there is one).
Fully aware of what we were heading into, we got an early start. On Thursday, we had decided that we would use this time to talk about some of the particulars of my upcoming trip to the National Parks, for which this blog was created. I outlined the first section of my trip, from August to December. I articulated my route (such as it is), the sites that I would be visiting, the cities where I had places to crash, etc. Once I had finished my elevator speech, he started to give state-by-state recommendations that followed my route. From books I should be reading, to historical sites, to natural areas, to gracious hosts, he outlined enough material to fill a year of travel. Sadly, I only have 4 months. Obviously I have some decisions to make. Regardless, I was grateful for his input.
With the conversation weaving between tasks upon our return to Madison and plans for the future, the miles seemed to melt away. Our path was rarely obstructed by tree roots or stones, so our eyes were always on the horizon, surveying the world around us. From the temperamental clouds to the flood plains of the Swale to the fields of barley and rye, the world was so engaging. There was so much to take in, even though we weren’t necessarily hiking towards a peak or a vista. The views were constant and the beauty introspective. It was there, you just had to let yourself see it.
Our breakfast and our conversation carried us until after 1:00 PM, when we finally sat down for a quick meal. Then it was off to Danby Wiske, another rural town with a pub and a few B&Bs. It feels good to be back in our routine!