The Duck blind was suitable shelter for the evening. It had a gaping door which let in alot of rain and wind, I patched it over with a tarp. It was raining something fierce in the morning. So i stayed in there till about 10. Hoping that it woud pass. Which it did. There wasn't much to do in there while i waited though. Except watch ducks out on the pond. Lucky little guys, being coated in a natural film of oil must be nice. The rain don't matter to a duck. When the clouds cleared a bit i packed up my gear and struck out for the trail once again. which was just across the road. The trail took me across a little bay and into a shrubby area. It was still drizzling on and off but it didn't soak through the Harris tweed. which was pleasing.
On i hiked until i got to St. George, where i stopped for a sandwich in a little shop. I talked to a man who was running for council, and a lady who swore she would never leave the rock. They were nice people. Right ready for idle talk. alot of gossip. I listened for a while after my sandwich. It really wasn't that entertaining so i took my leave, and went in search of a Library. It turned out to be attached to Town hall, in this plaza which hosted all the mucicipal offices, including the Volunteer Fire Dept. I wrote a bunch of emails. Then I had to leave as the library was closing. It was raining again when i left and i didn't feel to much like walking so i found the town lounge and sat in on some more gossip. The rain let up again fairly soon so i didn't have to hang out long.
Back to the trail to see if i could add at least another 10 kms to the mere 12 i had already clocked. It didn't happen. I barely made it to St. Teresa. I set up my tarp along side the trail there, and slept unsoundly on the gravel once again. The wind played with my tarp for most of the night. making it rise and fall. dampening my face everytime it lifted. Half way through the night the wind stopped and i saw the fattening half moon poke through the clouds.
The next morning was sunny and cool. I started out early hoping to make up for the weak preformance of the day before. I passed a few houses and stopped to ask a man for a splash of the ol nectar of the gods. he obliged and I was soon on my way. It was a gorgeous day for walking. The blue skies were exhilirating. I ran into a few trestles that were out so i had to ford the streams. I got to a part where the whole track had been flooded out by a beaver. I mistakenly thought that i would be able to inch along the side on the sedge bed, but that proved to be a terrible idea. The sedge gave way to mud and i got double soakers. Once my feet were wet though i just waded across. Splashing through boggy beaver water up to my knees.
I hiked on to Robinsons by mid afternoon. Upon making it to the paved road noticed a sign that had become all to familiar to me. I had been seeing them for the past 400 kms or so. It was advertizing a place called "Pirates Hideaway." All of the other signs i had seen, had GPS Co-ordinates at the bottom of the sign. This sign was different though. Instead of Longitude and latitude numbers it had 2kms posted underneath. It was pointing down the road. I checked my map and the road was eventually going to curve back to the trail. So i decided to take a side adventure to see where pirates hide these days. It didn't take long to get there. It was pretty much up and over a hill. The hide-away turned out to be a hotel/bar/general store/ Gas Bar. "Oh yeah" I said to myself, "they must be some of them capitalist pirates." I went into the store and bought an Ice Cream but not without giving the lady behind the counter a good yarrring. I asked about the pub and when they opened for food. It wasn't due open for another hour so i went out side with my ice cream and sat down in the sun. I found a popsicle stick, and tried to make small insects walk the plank. They had grippy toes and were able to walk upside down when i pushed them toward the end. The bar-tender let me in a little early, along with some people who were jonesing to play the VLM's (therein lies the pirate thievery). I ordered my usual, and wrote in my journal till it arrived. I caught her almost put some of that icky cheese on it, but i managed to stop her just in time. Not a bad burg. But they're hard to screw up, unless your name happens to be Mc Donald.
I didn't get my supplies at the pirates hideaway though. There prices were completely unreasonable. They wanted a whole $1.89 for their cans of chef. outrageous. Instead i asked if there was a Store in St. Fintan's. The lady at the store said that it had better selection, and it was right next to the trailway. Why did i stop here then, gees had i know that i would've been there by now. I guess advertisment works well, especially when you get anticipation building by introducing thought several hundred kilometres away. St. Fintan's wasn't that far off either just a mere 12 kms or so. I got there while the sun was just starting to get lazy about its beaming. The store was pretty good. I inquired about a phone, nope, i inquired about some postcards, nope. The price of a can of chef was just $1.35, excellent. I bought only one. the stuff really is disgusting. It'll be the post-apocalyptic brand of choice I think. good when there just isn't anything else around. I also purchased some Fruits and a bunch of carrots there. The only stuff that i could be sure hadn't sat there since the opening of the store. I think thats the toughest part of any adventure. Eating out of Gas Stations and backwoods general stores. Eating what can be found.
It makes me wonder how the people without cars survive in towns like that. Do they subsist on the chef, good ol' campbell, and that vile minute rice? Do they know what a fresh cracker tastes like? Or has the BHT added to maintain freshness, reassured them that the food is still in its freshest state? How about the peanut butter? Stuff so old that no amount of added chemicals can keep it from seperating. Whatever from St. Fintan's to Port-aux-Basque there was only 93 kms left. Then I would be back in the land of Big Box stores and consumer freedom.
After making a postcard from a travel brochure, i left the store to hit the trail for a hardcore evening of walking. I wanted to make up for the previous day where i only walked maybe 20kms at best. I stopped on the outskirts of town for a piece of fruit and some carrots. A couple out on their own walk passed me by. They were being tailed by an orange Calico. "Thats the first cat i've seen that likes to go for walkies" i commented to them. "Oh he's not ours, he just started following us." they replied and continued on their way. I finished my snack, rolled a smoke and followed after them. It didn't take long to overtake them, as they had short legs and had just turned to head back. As I passed them again I stopped to pet the pussy and have a few more lines of dialogue with them.
We went our seperate ways, I down the trail for more adventure, and they back to their home and television. About 4 minutes later I hear some meows coming from behind me. The cat having not gotten his fill of adventure, was following me now. He was a little ways back. I stopped and let him catch up. I gave him some more pets, and told him that I wasn't going back to St. Fintan's, and he might not like walking 30-40 kms a day. But he didn't seem to comprehend, so started walking again, and he trotted on along beside me. Stopping every few minutes to sniff at something, or try and see what just made that noise in the bushes. At one point he went chasing after a rabbit that was twice his size. Lucky for him it got away. I kept my pace. Slowly he started to slip behind me. When he got 10 feet behind he would meow until i stopped to let him catch up. I told him again that I was going to try and walk 20 kms that night. He just purred and rubbed up against my legs till I petted him some more. Then i started walking and he'd stay right beside me for a while. Slowly slipping back. Until he was to far and started to meow, and I'd stop again, or slow down till he caught up. This game continued on past sunset. It got to be a little annoying, and i started to hope that he would stop following me. But everytime i stopped to give him pets, he would be so affectionate that i just couldn't bare to leave him behind.
We got to a bridge as the last light blue of the sky was melting into a navy hue. I stopped here and decided to call it a day. My original intent was to walk on as far as i could that night, but with the cat my progress had seriously been checked. I set up camp on top of the bridge, it being fairly wide with lots of space for an ATV to pass. As soon as i had the shelter built, St. Fintan jumped in on top of my sleeping bag and sat squinting at me. "So now your going to steal my bed as well as my speed, eh?" i said. He squinted some more and mewed a bit, the rumble of his purr increased a decible. I sat there and watched the stars come out. The 3/4 moon making the river sparkle something nice. I crawled into bed a little later, moving Fintan over a bit, and fell asleep slowly. Halfway through the night i woke up to find Fintan gone. "Well that friendship didn't last long." I thought, rolled over and continued to sleep. I woke to Fintan's meow's, at about 6:00 or so. The dark sky starting its reverse, back into light. I turned to Fintan who was sitting at my head in a most proud manner. I looked him over, and noticed that there was a tiny little vole or shrew at his feet. He seemed to be presenting it to me as a gift. I picked it up. It was indeed dead. "Congrats there Fintan" i said. "Good job on getting that one, I'm sure it deserved it." I gave him a belly rub and he purred on like a porche diesel.
I packed up my tarps in record time, as it was a frigid morning, and struck out within 15 minutes of waking up. I started off down the trail with a burst of speed and enthusiasm. Ready to break that 93 kms into smaller chunks. St. Fintan on the other hand, he was tired having been up all night killing shrews. He meowed terribly, and walked even slower than the night before. There is something about a cats meow, that gives you a good idea of what they are trying to say. The meow the day before sounded like "Hey, wait up, I want to come too." The meow this morning was "Aw, com'on do i have to. can't we just take a little break." I fell for it, and needless to say, my progress was stymed as a result. Every 50 feet or so, he'd complain and try to get me to slow down. It got a little frustrating, so I had breakfast.
The morning sun was just climbing over the trees when we stopped. I cracked the can of Chef. I had nothing to offer Fintan, except what i was eating. I was curious to see how picky he was. I flopped a ravioli down on a little rock in front of him. He licked all the sauce off of it first, then devoured it and looked at me for some more. I gave him another piece. He demolished it. So I gave him another. Boy that cat was hungry. And I thought he was eating shrews all night or something. He was probably just killing them. I ended up splitting the can with him 50/50. When i set the can down after I had finished, he licked it clean as far in as his face would let him. Then he went out into the middle of the trail to lay in the sun. I smoked a cigarette and watched his neural transmitters shut down. "Great" i thought, "Now i've got a sleepy pussy." i watched him some more. Gave him another belly rub then hoisted my pack. As soon as I had done so, he sat up lazily and blinked several times at me. I started down the trail, when i got a few metres away, he let out a loud meow. I turned, he was still sitting where i left him. I asked him "You coming along or what?" He blinked and squinted at me as cats often do, but said nothing. He made no motion of following. So I said "Goodbye St. Fintan McNewf: Patron Saint of the Purrs." I could just barely hear him rumbling away. I turned and didn't look back.