I got locked in a winery last night. Is it an interesting story? Perhaps. Perhaps n
As the veil of darkness has started to lift and rainless days have become more common, I’ve redoubled my fitness efforts. I recalled the energy and sense of accomplishment I felt at the long distances I covered by foot during my New Orleans trip, and I wanted to get that feeling back. Over the past week I walked 20-25 miles, all culminating in last night’s little trek to one of the local wineries.
At 4.2 miles each way, and with a 400 foot climb, and winery seemed like a perfect destination. Why not, right?
Of course, even for having “hill” in the name of the winery, the climb still took me by surprise—mostly because people are generally exaggerating when they throw the word “hill” around. I once had a student teacher from the midwest who commented that what we called hills, they called mountains.
The biggest concern with regards to walking these narrow and winding country roads is managing your visibility. You often have to walk in the road, and there are no speed limits to speak of. Walk on the left side of the road, into oncoming traffic, so you can see approaching traffic. Where visibility is particularly bad and there’s no shoulder or ditch, walk on the outside of any bends. I broke my own cardinal rule about listening to music while traversing these types of areas—being seen is largely about listening up for things that need to see you.
I managed to stay dry going up to the winery, but as soon as I hit their mud-filled driveway, my shoes flooded with water. Thank goodness they were synthetic.
The main sign let me know that tastings and sales took place from 11-5 every day—phew, only 4:30—and further signs led me to the old farmhouse-cum-shop.
A thirty-something woman in a small SUV nodded as I approached the house. She puttered away as I reached for the door. Locked. That’s nice. I walk four and a half miles to get here and they close early. And our fine proprietor simply nods instead of rolling down the window and letting me know that they’re closed? Exceptional.
I turned around and headed back up to long driveway. As I started around the last bend, I could see that the gate had been closed. I hadn’t noticed the gate going in, but it made sense. The hill blocked my view of the left side of the gate, but to the right was a steep drop off. I really hope I’m not going to have to hop a fence.
If I had driven, I would have been stuck. The gap to the left of the gate was enough to let me slip through, though.
Wineless, I started my long trek back into civilization. The sun was already starting to fade, and I at least wanted to be off the hill before it got dark. Definitely would have been unpleasant trying to dodge traffic with almost no visibility.
As I came back into town, genuine darkness fell. My calves were starting to protest the long climb along with the new shoes.
Exhausted, in a good way, I settled down with a local porter and a bowl of tofu done up right. Yup, a nice long trek still does wonders.
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