Sensory storylines

Achy Joints Lose Out

I feel my joints aching and a desire to reach the top as soon as possible for the next view. Just a Typical Day along Offa’s Dyke Path. Most days, it would take a good hour of hiking, before I could stop thinking about how my hips, knees, and ankles ached, from the previous day’s walk.  I have always had issues with my joints, very much exercise and they start screaming, good or bad I love to push my limits. That’s why I love these walking trips so much, how far can I go? Can I climb that next hill? Can Igo that extra mile? The answer is always, yes. Such a great metaphor for life.


Typical Day along Offa’s Dyke Path

typical day starts with a full English breakfast, around 8. Then it’s time to fill the bladder of our hydration packs. The bladder holds four liters. Try to finish the day with it empty. Time to say goodbye to our hosts and find the first acorn. Offa’s Dyke is a national trail, so it very well marked, by black and white, or carved acorns, and sometimes the Offa’s Dyke coin symbol or A carved post reading OFFA’S DYKE PATH. Easy peasy. Well, sometimes the vegetation has overgrown the signs. Scum buckets steal the emblems for a souvenir. Other times the livestock have rubbed the post clear out of the ground,so one must guess which way the arrow is facing. So you may not see the markers clearly or right away, this is part of the adventure, part of the sense of accomplishment. There were times when we would cheer to see those acorns.

Not all Distances Feel the Same

Most mornings the four of would walk together until lunch and then each couple would find their comfortable pace for the remaining miles. The average mileage was around 12 a day, for this trip. At home, I can walk 12 miles in a little more than 3 hours. We would generally stop for lunch around 1. If we were walking strong we could have between 7 and 8 miles in that four hours! This is nothing like walking at home. Uneven surfaces, unsure direction, stiles to climb, hills where your heels can not physically touch the ground, and the downhills on slippery footing slow you way down. Not to mention navigating around the sheep poop!
Offers Dyke Path, Wales -

John contemplating the next hill

Home for the night.

The afternoon’s walk was a test of our strength, though refueled by a hand packed lunch we had renewed energy. Most hosts packed a lunch for a small fee. Usually, a sandwich that always in included butter, chips, a piece of fruit and a seat treat. Some we more elaborate than others but all of the lunches tasted great, after four hours of exercise.
The last couple miles we are more cautious about directions, as at this point we really do want any backtracking. 
Celtic Trails provided us a special sheet with our lodging for the night’s map, directions from the trail and a photo. Some place a phone number was necessary to arrange a ride to the home or inn that was miles from the trail, others we walking up to the door and rang the bell or stumbled into the pub and stopped for a cold hard cider.


Offa's Dyke Path, Wales -

Another Gate along the trail

The End of the Day

The End of the Day always concluded with a recap of the struggles and joys of the day over a couple pints. Kathy, Charley and we would share dinner and stories of the day, the people we met along the trail, the times we got lost and the incredible views and unusual sites we passed along the way. 
By nine the bed would be calling me, I would fall asleep with a deep sense of accomplishment and smile of gratitude to be able to have such an experience.
Follow along each day of September  I’ll be adding a sensory story, inspired by a few sensory storyline prompts, I wrote to take me back to the time and space where the reference photos were taken. These stories may not jive (coincide) with the day’s painting. Hopefully, these sensory stories will give you a better sense of the place, of our experience, and of walking across Wales.
Feel free to share this project on your favorite social media sites.

Painting # 3 –#30paintingsin30days! Painting 3-Cock of the Walk #30paintingsin30days!

I had my hands and iPhone inside the pen when Charley said, “they can be aggressive”. I had visions of a cockfight, with sweaty men all around cheering and jeering! That was it for photographing Roosters.

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