I haven’t been able to keep up with regular updates (sorry, Mom) but a lot has been happening. Don’t worry, I will explain everything.
We are following the 180+ mile C&O canal towpath trail. Since we left D.C. two days ago, we have had problem after problem. Grace and Max are both carrying backpacks, loaded with much of their food. Up to this point, they had not had any problems. Max has been phenomenal on the trail, carrying weight and covering miles like a champ with no sign of fatigue or soreness. The little guy is a machine! But once we hit the C&O canal, Grace’s packs started to rub her raw behind her front legs.
Kait pulled them off at the first sign of a problem, and spent a good amount of time adjusting them and talking to Ruffwear’s customer service team. The verdict was that the weight wasn’t a problem – the packs just don’t fit her correctly. Grace clearly could not continue carrying her packs without the risk of injury.
Enter problem 2: What do we do with Grace’s extra weight? Kait and I were already pretty maxed out, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable making Max carry more. We have also been warned about the risk of running out of water on the C&O. Water is 8 lbs. per gallon, kids.
Enter problem 3 (and this is a doozy:) There are supposed to be water stations every 5-7 miles along the canal trail, but The National Park Service doesn’t turn the water spigots on until mid-April. This is a problem, because we can’t afford the extra weight to carry a safe amount of water between fillups. And considering the added weight of Grace’s load, carrying more water – while necessary – seemed impossible.
Enter the solution: Mark, a guy we met quite randomly when he and his wife Theresa came down to the Potomac riverfront with their dog, Fenway, last night.
After hearing about our mission and current issues, Mark offered to help us run errands today. After much heated married couple-style deliberation, Kait and I decided that our best course of action was to get our pushcart early. We had planned to wait until we got down out of the West Virginia mountains, but given the slew of complications – and our desire to ensure the safety of our extraordinary dogs – we decided that getting the cart now was our safest choice.
Mark ran around in town and we found the right jogging stroller for the job. After delivering it to us, Mark let me take us all out for lunch (and we snuck in a quick grocery run, to replenish our ramen noodles and tuna packets.)
So now we are back. This cart is a game changer. All the weight is off of our backs, and the dogs don’t gave to carry anything. We have more gallons of water for safety. I can finally get my guitar mailed back – you know, all the important stuff. Tomorrow, we are going to cover some real miles.
This trail is amazing. It runs right next to the Potomac River, and is full of wildlife and scenic vistas. I can hear the Great Falls in the distance. I have so much more to tell you – About D.C., and our first therapy visit, and our lavish outdoor lifestyle of tuna fish and ramen – but my battery is about to die, so it will have to wait.