Homer's Travels: For My Next Trick: Self-Flagellation

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

For My Next Trick: Self-Flagellation

As part of my plans, the ones I mentioned last post, I have been getting ready by either hiking or city walking. Most of the trails in the area are rather short so I have resorted to the less exciting task of walking through the city. This weekend I popped up Google Maps and decided that I would leave from my house and walk to Omaha's downtown area. The walking direction Google gave me estimated the distance to be 18.8 miles (30.25 km) which was perfect being just over one mile longer than my previous distance record.

I headed out with a printout of the walking directions and promptly shoved them in my pocket. It was a bit cold, 18°F (-8°C), and in parts where there wasn't any windbreak it felt downright frigid but I was bundled up like the Michelin Man and I wasn't too uncomfortable. I walked along a part of the Keystone Trail, walked east past the excellent
Satellite Motel that looks like something that should be on Route 66 and looked, unsuccessfully, for a geocache near an old closed elevator (I'd love to explore it but I've never seen so many no trespassing signs. There's a rumor it's being converted into a climbing/repelling facility - cool if true). The cache location turned out to be in a snow plow dumping location and was under a 10 foot by 30 foot pile of snow.

Near the elevator is the trailhead of the Field Club Trail that runs to the north-west. I followed this trail, missed where I was supposed to get off the trail and ended up getting off the trail on Woolworth. Heading east on Woolworth took me to President Ford's birthplace, now marked with a rose garden. I stopped here and sat on a bench to rest my legs and to drink some water (partially frozen after being in my coat pocket).

My turn around point was a sandwich shop in the old market area of downtown Omaha. When I got there I looked at the GPS expecting to see around 9.4 miles on the trip odometer. It said 11.1 miles (17.8 km). Not what I expected. I went in, ordered lunch, and read a local, free, what-to-do-in-Omaha newspapers while I ate and hoped that the odometer was wrong. It was nice to get off my legs and feet for a while.

The way home was pretty much hell. My legs were screaming. I stopped several times to sit down and rest including in front of this
delightful establishment. I passed the cows going to the nearby slaughter house. I passed under railroad tracks and wondered about the chair covered in silly string I found under the bridge. At least I hope that was silly string.

I discover something worse than going up a hill after 17 miles of walking - walking up a snow covered hill after having walking 17 miles. People are supposed to clear the snow from their sidewalks within 48 hours or so of a storm. Well I can attest to the fact that this city ordnance is thoroughly ignored.

I made it back home and collapsed on the couch. In the end the walk was 20.65 miles (33.23 km). A little more than I intended. A new personal best. I walked like a grandpa for the rest of the evening and today ... I'm still grandpa but I'm getting better. Omaha is not a flat city. My total ascent on this hike was around 2,224 feet done in several hills as you can see in this plot.

(This plot is not perfect - I'm still figuring out the GPS and utilities)

The Steamboat Trace is two 21 mile hikes back-to-back. Right now, if you asked me if I could do this walk again, today, I would say no, but I have time. I have until May 22 to build up my endurance ... and I will.


  1. You're practically a marathoner HD :)

  2. oh my goodness, that is awesome! did you eat a delicious sandwich? I'm craving a philly cheesesteak.

    This is an amazing walk! I think I would need a nap afterwards. So congratulations!

  3. Well, I'm certainly impressed. Heck, Half Dome is only 17 miles RT (with slightly more elevation gain)!

    So, gonna start running marathons next?

  4. JaG: I really hadn't thought of that. maybe that should be my short term goal - walk a marathon.

    Miss McC: Thanks! It was a Turkey sandwich and hit the spot. While I didn't take a nap, I slept like a log that night.

    GH: Running ... No. Walking a marathon ... Maybe.

  5. My longest hike was around 35 kms (22 miles). I got back home by train though. Not that sore the next day but I had a lot practice and I'm 20 years younger.:)

  6. I am impressed!! Having wandered that area, all I can say is WOW! Did Homer go with you?

  7. Godefroy: I hope to pass your longest sometime soon. I guess I'm becoming a walking marathoner. I wish I'd discovered hiking when I was younger. I think I've miss so much.

    Dobegil: Thank you. Homer, who will be 11 later this spring, doesn't handle long walks well. He's now having difficulty getting up on our bed.