Last night Joseph and I had a conversation about bogs. We knew we didn’t want to get “bogged down” but didn’t know exactly what that meant. Twenty-four hours later, I know exactly what a bog is. A bog is spongy ground cover that soaks up the rain. The thing is, you’re not sure it’s soaked until you step on it and your foot sinks irretrievably. In fact, it sucked up Joseph’s shoe at one point today, and I realized I’d lost the bottom half of my walking stick on another occasion!
There are stones along the way to ameliorate the difficulty of the bogs. I felt as if I was playing a perpetual game of hopscotch. And I can’t remember when I’ve done so much broadjumping. Never, once I think about it.
Another challenge of the bogs is the uneven level of the ground. Because you may or may not sink, it’s easy to twist your ankle. I didn’t twist my ankle, but I did fall. In fact, I fell twice! Joseph and I laughed so hard we didn’t make it up again for some time. But I must say, it was the softest landing I’ve ever experienced. The spongy earth embraced me warmly and whispered “come to mama!”
We climbed 1500 feet today to stand on the backbone of England, what we call the continental divide in the states. The water flows east on one side and west on the other. At the top are “the nine standards,” cairns that are centuries old. A cairn is a human made stack of stones, often used as markers. The wind was so furious we felt like we’d tip over. It was a stunning view, and we felt jubilant that we’d arrived. The rain didn’t appear in full force as predicted or obstruct our view. I was grateful.
We’re staying at an old hunting lodge at Keld in the Yorkshire Dales. The village consists of several stone buildings. We have survived Day One, 14.5 miles. Hopefully we can get a good night’s sleep. Joseph, still suffering from jet lag, fell asleep at 8:00 last night. The only problem is he woke up ready to hike at midnight.