So here it is – THE day. In a couple of hours Mike and I board the first flight which will take us on a paradoxically westerly direction – to Detroit. Then we board a KLM flight over the north friggin’ pole to Amsterdam. Finally, tomorrow morning, we’ll wing across the North Sea to Manchester UK where trains will cart us to the Cumbria coast at St. Bees.
The preparations for this trip have been great fun. There were a few trips to REI to stock up on things like head lamps, water filtration kits, first aid things and more woolen socks (an absolute necessity!). I have studied orienteering videos on Youtube to refresh map and compass skills long forgotten since my Boy Scout days. The guide books by Arthur Wainwright himself and his apostles Henry Stedman and Stuart Butler have been great sources of amusement, education and detailed guidance about the path – all 192 miles of it divided onto what seem like 10 yard segments. The there were the dining table planning meetings of two brothers who reunited only a couple years ago after Mike’s sojourn in the Navy when he saw the world. I hope I speak for Mike too when I say that his return has been a wonderful rekindling of a relationship that was cemented during the 15 or so years that we shared a small bedroom in Cranston and during countless adventures as kids exploring the wilds of Point Judith (in the day when Point Judith still had wilds to explore). And now, in our 70’s and with good health (knocking on wood) we head off on one more exploration of England and the limits of our endurance.