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  • Saturday, July 12, 2014

    My First Hitch in Ireland

    I stood in the misty rain for over two hours trying to get a hitch. A couple of drivers not going my way stopped. A few gave me hand gestures I still don't understand. What does it mean when a driver in Ireland points down at his empty passenger seat when they zoom passed a hitchhiker? Or shows me the back of their right hand as though threatening to backhand me across the face? I got these a few times, but they seemed friendly.

    I asked the same questions to Jimmy, a Lithuanian man who eventually picked me up on his way to a gathering near Cork, the second largest city in Ireland, but he didn't know either.

    In Cork, he had to make a quick stop at his house. He invited me in and brewed some excellent coffee. Actually, the coffee has been so good here, it may ruin coffee in America for me.

    Afterwards, he recommended I camp at The Gearagh, the only ancient post-glacial alluvial forest in western Europe, just outside the town of Macroom. He dropped me off here just in time for me to hike along the lake while the sun set before finding a place to make camp.

    Right now, Ireland is only totally dark outside for about 6 hours a day, which could make stealth camping a little more difficult, if I want more than 6 hours of sleep per night anyway.

    This is private property owned by a utility company, but it seemed like a place I could hide in. I'm surrounded by tall grass and trees. Cows are mooing nearby, sheep are bleating. I hear birdcalls I've never heard before, reminding me that I'm not in the US anymore.

    I'm 75 miles from Dursey Island. I hope to be on the trail tomorrow!

    Jimmy, if you're reading this, thanks again!