A Woeful Account of a Most Horrible Slogging of the Lyke Wake Walk
Once again I have plumbed the depths of insanity, obsession, and masochism. Having made my solo crossing this past summer I wanted to complete my reverse and winter crossings before the Golden Jubilee. Due to the fact that I live on the other side of the pond my only chance was a winter double.
Wade and Dave* drove the mobile Boots/Marks & Sparks. Were it not for their faithful ministries we would surely have perished and, in all likelihood, been lost forever to a bog along with countless other would-be Dirgers.
The simple task of a winter double crossing was not a sufficient challenge so I broke my glasses while I was getting ready to start. Now, blind as a bat, I’m ready to go. Thus it was that on January 17, 2005 at 6:02AM, Kelly and I set out from the mast at Ravenscar. As we start off my “friends” waved a shovel; at least I think that is what it was…I couldn’t really see; and once again offered their kind words of encouragement: “Keep moving Old Man. Stop, and we’ll bury you in one of those bogs.” With that I trudge off into a sea of amorphous sights, light rain, and howling winds.
We are doing the reverse first so we will have the light and while we are fresh. The winds are vicious at times and not being able to see anything other than a blur is no fun but having a partner along and knowing that hot drink, dry cloths, and medical attention (if needed) will be waiting at each checkpoint makes a world of difference. We are also able to travel very light.
At our first stop I begin to realize just how nice it is going to be having a support team! I get hot chocolate, a banana, and dry socks! Wade does his Doctor routine and insists on checking us out and shoving some mystery pills at us. They work us over like a racecar pit crew. In no time we’re off again.
With the exception of me doing a bit of bog diving, the winds and some rain we make the first crossing in fair time and good health. We arrive at the LWW stone at 2:18PM. Because the weather doesn’t seem to be getting any better I push to start the return trip while we still have light. That and I’m afraid that if we stop too long I’ll set up like concrete. The barometer has been falling all day.
The return trip is a cornucopia of miseries: gale winds, rain, sleet, a bit of snow, dark, cold, pain, and exhaustion. For the most part our world is reduced to pools of light cast by our headlamps and the glowing screen of the GPS. Having the route in the GPS is a lifesaver. Things go fairly well until Kelly trips and falls hard about a mile short of the Lion. He says he is done so Dave comes to helps him while Wade finishes the walk with me.
The walk is now a blur in more ways than just my vision. I trudge on with Wade clucking like an old mother hen. At Jugger Beck I fall flat on my face. This wakes me up enough to realize that if I stop now I’ll never get moving again, so I totter on. I finish at 6:47AM, dead tired, half frozen, and beat up. All I want now is to be warm and asleep. I’ll be happy later. Kelly is now a Dirger and I have completed the double. Thanks to Kelly, Wade, and Dave!
Thank you for all that you have done to promote and preserve the walk.
*(No last names given by request. Probably due to the countless moving violations committed during this venture)
- This little odyssey has left me with a cracked patella, a chipped tooth, and a sprained ankle. I’m miserable, but happy.
- There is a prize awaiting the next person to make the walk. I seem to have lost the GPS when I fell at Jugger Beck.
- Other than the Gales, Bogs, Fogs, Floods, Rain, Sleet, and Snow the Lyke Wake Walk is a pleasant little stroll.
- Also, I’m writing a book entitled: “Zen and the Art of Bog Crossing” Thanks again!