As the morning rain lets up, I leave the Keelman lodge feeling stiff and sore, but in good spirits. I head out onto the Hadrian’s Wall path, and find that the asphalt has turned into dirt, which my feet are truly thankful for. The river Tyne is beautiful in the morning light. A World War One memorial is along the river banks as I start my walk, and I take a moment to reflect on the lost lives as I remove my rain jacket.
The city is quickly fading into the distance. Wooden gates lead me along past country cottages and open fields. I come to a lovely golf course that is empty this morning. The trail starts to climb, and I find myself slowly rising high above the towns along the river, giving me majestic views of the landscape.
My body is responding positively to the constant motion of walking, and my pain and soreness disappear quickly. Staying hydrated is easier now as I have fields and wooded areas around me to relieve myself when Nature calls. I come to a small village at the top of a hill and find Heddon on the Wall, a consolidated stretch of the Wall completed around 122 or 123 A.D.
It’s the perfect place to have lunch. It’s also a stopping place for tour buses, and the people on Holiday stop and ask me about my journey thus far.
After my lunch is gone and the tour buses leave, I continue onward, thinking that the trail follows Heddon on the Wall, but after a mile or so, I realize that, once again, I’m going the wrong way. I check my GPS and see that I need to turn around and head back to the village to find the pathway.
A gent on a bicycle helps me get back onto the Hadrian’s Wall path, and so without too much stress and an extra couple of walking miles put in, I carry onward.
I pass by the freeway for the last time, and the loudness of passing cars and diesel engines fade from both my view and earshot.
The countryside is really showing itself now, as old turn of the century farm houses and fields of cattle become more of the norm as I walk in the cool afternoon.
I remember one summer when I was only ten, maybe eleven years old. My family was visiting my Aunt and Uncle’s ranch in Snowville, Utah, which is on the Utah/Idaho border. We had stopped at a local park and I saw a couple that had sleeping bags strapped to their bicycles, along with clothing, etc….
They were biking across the USA, just wanting to see the world from two wheels. At such a young age, I had never before realized that people could be so adventurous. I thought every man worked a nine to five job, and all women stayed at home raising a family. To see a different way of living had a profound impact on my young mind, and walking today the realization hit me that this way of living most likely started me down the path to my current lifestyle.
A group of cows become aggressively curious as I approach them. They follow me intently, hoping I will let them through the gate to the next field. I quickly pass the gate and shut the latch.
I pass a small bird lying on the ground, almost completely hidden in the brush. It seems to be suffering, perhaps from a broken wing. I feel terrible for the little creature, but also realize the power of Nature and the circle of life. I carry on with my walk, hoping that the bird does not suffer for long.
Almost ten miles later, as late afternoon approaches, I finally come to my stopping point for day two, the Robin Hood Inn and Restaurant. It is right on the Hadrian’s Wall path, a lovely place out in the country, full of charm and kitschy antiques.
My luggage has arrived without incident. I enjoy a John Smiths beer or two outside, then have an amazing dinner at the Inn, made from local produce on the farm. I’m feeling exhausted again, but the end of day two has me feeling more confident in this journey.
I sleep well under warm blankets as the the cool night air settles in.