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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Cotswold Way

The Other Half of the Fun

So, this past weekend, Samantha and I decided to finish walking the Cotswold Way (If you missed my post about walking the first half, click here). This time we had real walking sticks (technically, a pair of ski-poles that I bought for a quid at a second hand store), much lighter backpacks, and actual reservations for where we were going to sleep. Oh, and a hitchhiker.

This is Angela TheTroll, Amy’s travelling companion. We would have brought Amy, but she didn’t fit in the backpack, so we brought Angela instead.

Last time I posted about Cotswold Way I gave a day-by-day travelogue. We had a lot farther to travel (over 55 miles), and less time to do it in (3 days) than last time, so I didn’t have time to keep track of what happened day to day. So instead, I’ll just give a list of everything we learned over out 100 mile trek. But first…time spent walking each day:

Day 1: 7 hours, 25 minutes
Day 2: 7 hours, 43 minutes
Day 3: 7 hours, 17 minutes

Things we Learned:

1. Rainy weather at 5:00 AM can be very discouraging.
2. The parts of England that aren’t made of mud and sheep are made of snails and slugs (big, black, ugly slugs)
3. There is a lack of places to answer nature’s call on the Way. We would have settled for a discreet tree or wall, but most of the time we were hiking through sheep pastures.
4. You hike a lot faster when you have to pee (a lot. As in just about running. Especially when the town you thought was 1 mile away turns out to be a full 3 miles away)
5. Inns are really cool places to stay. Being in the same building as your food source is a major plus.
6. Some pubs *ahem* the ones in Dursely *ahem* do not serve food on the weekends.
7. There are a lot more hikers on Cotswold Way when it isn’t cold enough to snow.
8. Wild onions are beautiful, and make the forests look like they have white carpets.
9. Wild onions smell like…onions. Strong enough to make you sick after an hour of smelling it.
10. There is a strange plant the smells like chocolate, but we never figured out what it was.
11. It’s illegal to grab a fish and run away with it.
12. Areas with dense foliage are strangely warm and humid.
13. If you are eating an apple in a field where there are horses…you will be expected to share.
14. STILES are EVIL and should all be DISMANTLED, CHOPPED UP, and BURNED.
15. 20 miles remains, as always, a very, very, long way to walk.
16. Ski poles don’t break as easily as “grotty” wooden walking sticks.
17. Some kissing gates are too small to fit a person and a backpack.
18. Mud and thistles are strangely attracted to me. And thistles hurt…a lot.
19. Samantha likes to step in cow pies.
20. All English countryside starts to look the same after a while.
21. There is some very confusing signage along the Way.
22. Getting lost can add a lot of time to the days walking…and is especially bad if climb the wrong hill.
23. Hills are evil.
24. English Breakfasts are a great way to start a day of hiking.
25. Backpacks get heavier the longer you carry them, even if you eat all the food.
26. There are not words to describe how wonderful it feels to see the town that is your final destination.
church steeple of Painswick

27. The buses from Painswick to Stroud (next place with a train station) stop running at 5:00PM
28. A taxi from Painswick to Stroud costs about 15 quid.
29. Trains are good. Trains that have a café are even better.
30. A G&D’s brownie sundae is a perfectly acceptable dinner after hiking 50 miles.

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