My first few days back on my walk have been both rewarding and challenging. Rewarding in that I have made so many new friends and have been to so many new places. Challenging in that it is taking my body a while to get use to the strain of walking hours on end, and I am definitely feeling all of the muscle soreness that comes with that. Thankfully I have been able to rest up in a beautiful little town called Hermann for a few days while I build a website for the Hermann Diner, one of the local eateries here.
Before I get into that though I need to tell you about the circumstances that have brought me to this point. At the last minute I decided to have my son drop me off at the Klondike Park on the Katy Trail (it is located closer to St. Louis) in order to shorten his drive and and to give me more time to rest up before resuming my trip the next day. I set up camp after arriving, and we spent a little time together before saying our goodbyes. I then spent a restful night at the park. By the way, the Klondike Part is by far the nicest park I have visited, with many walking trails, great camping spots and really clean restrooms and showers.
Early the next morning I packed up and walked down to the Katy Trail, where I almost immediately met a young lady who appeared to be in her twenties that was walking in the opposite direction of what I had began walking. She appeared to be really tired and depressed, so I stopped her and asked if there was anything I could do to help. At first she seemed hesitant to say anything, so I told her what I was doing, and she seemed to relax a little bit. A little at a time her story came out, and it was gut wrenching.
Without going into details (she asked me not to) I will tell you that she was homeless, and was walking to St. Louis in the hopes of finding a shelter there that would take her in and hopefully give her a fresh start. She had not eaten in a couple of days, and had spent the previous night sleeping in a port-a-potty with the door locked for safety reasons and to get away from bugs for the night. After encouraging her as much as possible I gave her some money and most of the food I had in my pack, and pointed her to a campground where she was hopefully able to camp free for the night. I then continued with my walk more determined than ever to help as my others as I can during my walk. I only wish that I could have done more to help her.
Over the next three days I continued walking along the Katy Trail, camping when I could find a place to camp, and meeting so many kind and interesting people. Through their acts of kindness the money that I had given her was returned to me in short order, and what happened next once again showed that God is watching over me every step of the way.
After camping for the night in Treloar I began my 16 plus mile walk to Hermann and at about the eight mile mark I left the trail to walk a short distance to a winery, not to buy wine, but to buy what bottled water I could for the rest of my walk that day. It was brutally hot, and I had drank almost all of the water I had with me. I had been warned that this was the only stop along the sixteen mile stretch to Hermann, and told that they had bottles of water for sale. What I didn’t know was that one third of a mile walk was going to be more difficult than I could have ever imagined.
After rounding a bend in the road I viewed what laid ahead, and it literally stopped me dead in my tracks. What I was looking at was not a hill, but a small mountain, and the road I was on went straight up it for about a third of a mile. To make matters worse the gravel on the road appeared to be loosely packed, and I knew from experience that the distance to the winery was going to be painful. Having no other choice I began the climb, stopping every few feet to catch my breath and to get a better hold on my cart handles. Because of the heat and humidity I was soaking wet, and just holding onto the handles of my cart because of the steep incline of the road became almost impossible.
About a third of the way up the dull pain in my hips that had began earlier in the day turned to searing pain, and I seriously began to question whether or not I would be able to make it to the top without my cart in tow, much less with it. Looking back down the trail however convinced me that I really had no choice in the matter. If I let go my cart would be destroyed, and if I didn’t make it to the top I risked serious health problems due to lack of drinking water. Gathering all of my reserves I told myself I didn’t have a choice, and after much prayer, time and extreme effort I finally made it to the top.
During my walk to the top a white SUV passed me, and upon arriving I met a lady who not only introduced herself but also sat with me while I tried to cool down. She said she had seen me struggling up the hill, and couldn’t believe that I still planned to walk another eight miles that day. Realizing I had no choice she then insisted that I accept a ride into Hermann, and waited while I took my cart apart and loaded all of my things into her vehicle. On the way to Hermann she insisted on taking me to two different grocery stores to look for items that I needed, and waited while I shopped. She then took me to her favorite place to eat in town, a local eatery called The Hermann Diner.
After eating the owner of the diner, Karri, refused to accept payment for the meal, and after thanking her, we left and continued to the Hermann City Park where I was able to camp for the night. The following morning I returned to the diner for breakfast and got into a conversation with Karri about the diner, and before long she mentioned that she really needed a new website. I told her I could build one for her, and that was one of the ways I was using to raise money for my travel expenses. To make a long story short I was able to build a website for her business over the next couple of days, was provided with many great meals that she insisted on giving to me, and just as importantly my legs and body had time to heal from the stress I had placed on them.
Wow! Once again God provided me with a ride at exactly my time of need, made it possible for me to get the supplies I needed, provided meals and the time to rest that I needed, and enable me to make a little money at the same time. I truly serve a mighty God, and am so thankful to those of you who continue to pray for me on a daily basis.
I will continue my walk in the morning, and will update my blog as soon as I am able to. Until then may God bless you and keep you…
UPDATE: I am going to spend a few extra days helping Kerri remodel her restaurant so I won’t begin walking until around the twenty eighth. Please pray that things will go smoothly and we’ll get a lot done during this time.
Always Onward I Walk,