Day 23 – Long Road to Tomah

Wednesday, July 5th, 9:55 a.m. – Departed from the Sparta DNR Campground in Sparta, Wisconsin.

The Atmosphere’s Mood

Morning Conditions – Temp – 79 with high humidity / Wind – SW at 5 mph / Skies – Clear but hazy. High cirrus clouds distant SW, thunderstorms to the north.

Afternoon/Evening Conditions – Beginning around noon, thunderstorms began popping up all across the area, becoming severe by evening. Temp – Reached a high of 88* with high humidity / Wind – Light and Variable / Skies – Clear after strong thunderstorms moved off to the SE. 

7:30 p.m. – Arrived at Bloyer Field (Y72) in Tomah,Wisconsin, 18.6 miles, 47,300 steps, 134 miles remaining.

Highs Today 

  • Beautiful Sky’s, Powerful Storms – I’m a weather geek. I love the power of the atmosphere, its freedom, and the fact that there is little we can do to stop anything it does. Today, there was an amazing amount of energy in the air. The towering cumulonimbus clouds shot up up tens of thousands of feet; some of their tops even billowed into the stratosphere. Their powerful effect could be felt for hundreds of square miles as they filled skies with electricity! A weather geek’s dream…
  • Roberta and Daisy – While descending a long hill just west of Tomah, Wisconsin, I noticed a lady out mowing the lawn on a small farm site. As I got closer, I saw her stop the mower, get off and disappear. When I reached the farm’s driveway, she was headed my way with a giant glass of lemonade. Her name was Roberta, and she thought I might be a veteran she’d heard about who was walking across Wisconsin. I explained that I wasn’t, gulped down the lemonade, and we had a wonderful conversation about her two boys, the walk, the cost of education and how things are today.  I also got to meet her less than six month old blue healer pup named Daisy. Daisy didn’t always like people, but she sure does now. 🙂 Thank you, Roberta, for your kindness and generosity. It was truly a pleasure to meet you!
  • The Motorcycle Stop – In the early afternoon when I had nearly finished walking through Fort McCoy, a motorcycle with two people on it came to a stop about 100 yards in front of me. From what I could see, the driver was making some sort of adjustment or a change of clothing. What was actually happening, though, was that they were waiting for me to get there so they could ask if everything was okay. I couldn’t help but think what a caring gesture that was. I told the two of them that what I was doing was intentional. We had a bit of a laugh, I thanked them both, and we went our separate ways. On the really hot days, those check-in stops are really appreciated. Thank you fellow biker!

Lows Today

  • Hot, Humid, Slow – Time and distance are both such changeable commodities. Even though there were only 18 miles to cover today, it felt like one of the longest walks I’ve experienced so far. Steps come hard on days like this one, and there’s a constant mental battle that’s being fought. Nature had its way today, making me feel pretty darn insignificant.

Strange Occurrences – During the early part of the day as I was walking through the Fort McCoy area, there was a car broken down on the side of the road. Actually, it was out of gas. Walking past the car, I asked the people in it if they needed help. They said they were fine, and I continued on my way. Later in the evening, I walked into The Superior Family Restaurant in Tomah, Wisconsin and came face to face with Rachel, one of the people who had been in the out-of-gas car earlier in the day. Just weird…

Lessons Learned – The simplest of things can make the biggest of differences when mind and body are reaching their limits. On a beastly hot, humid day, the temporary relief offered by a cloud passing across a blazing sun feels like splashing cool water on one’s face. The cold air brought down from the upper atmosphere by thunderstorm downdrafts feels like taking a divine dip in the creek. Even on the hottest and most humid of days, nature finds ways to make it more bearable.

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