Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Early Morning Walk

Saturday morning at Lost River State Park dawned cool and crisp after a muggy day of showers and heat on Friday. I had not gotten much sleep Thursday night, so I was looking forward to a good night's rest Friday, but it was not to be, for three reasons. First was my sweet husband--a quiet guy by day, but a bear that night with his snoring! He doesn't always snore, but on this night he was a champ. Add in the young nephews and nieces next door who were happily partying the night away (as I would have at their age) and my stomach being in complete turmoil, you can see it was not to be a night of good rest.

I gave up on sleeping at 6:00 am, got dressed and decided to take a walk. I pulled out my map of the park and picked out a path: Laurel Trail to Razor Ridge to East Ridge to Staghorn Trail looked like a nice circle that would bring me right back to my cabin. And it did--three hours later.

The walk started promisingly enough. Laurel Trail was steep but it was early in my hike so I was okay with it for a while. After 30 minutes of climbing up and up the zigzag trail, I was not so sure this walk was a good idea. Then I saw this:

Ah! Not only the sun peeping through to light up the huckleberry bushes, but also the top of the hill! Or so I thought. The trail did ease a bit when I turned onto Razor Ridge, but I was still going up...and up...and up...

This streak of sunlight through the green canopy was not visible to my eyes, but showed up in the camera lens, like an errant bit of rainbow hovering in the forest:

Finally, I reached the trail shelter and was happy to drop down for a few minutes. Someone had left a bottle of water behind and I didn't care by then what germs I might pick up--I enjoyed a solid good pull at that bottle! I had not thought, you see, to bring my own water because I wasn't expecting to be gone so long. So far I haven't noticed any adverse effects from drinking from that bottle. Fingers crossed.

I admired what I could see of the view--I hope the park folks get up there to trim the trees a bit so hikers can actually see the view. I believe I was looking across to Big Ridge; I could see a house or two in the distance, between the tree branches.

A little further on, I came to East Ridge, and then the walking was much easier. No more tripping and slipping on loose gravel on a steep grade--this was almost flat trail through open woods.

Just a few hundred feet off the trail I could see what looked like an open area. I wandered over to see what it might be, and discovered this ridgetop meadow, dotted with locust trees. I picked a few of the locust flowers to munch on (just call me "The Locust-Eater") and enjoyed the clear air and morning birdsong.

The view from the meadow was pretty stunning too. Far off I heard the call of some animal I didn't recognize--bear? I didn't know but I was glad it was so distant because it was not a friendly, happy sound.

At the edge of the meadow I noticed this row of stones. They look like they might have once been a fence.

The last leg of the trip, I started down--and I do mean down. These are higher than the hills where I live, and Staghorn Trail was a switchbacking, rocky, gravelly descent. I trod carefully and it wasn't long before I began to wish, of all things, that I'd trimmed my toenails nice and short! I wear my shoes loose because of a nerve thing on my right foot, so my feet were sliding forward in my shoes and my toes were cramming up against the top of each shoe--with the not-very-long toenails digging into the flesh of the toe beside them. Ouch! I began to find ways to place my feet sideways on the steepest places.Lesson learned--and I have to wonder, is this something all hikers but me know? Wear shoes that fit well, and cut your nails!

A jutting rock provided a resting place and another opportunity to enjoy the views peeping through the trees.

A bit further down the trail I found one of my favorite flowers, the Mountain Laurel, in bloom. These little umbrella flowers bloom is clusters of pink and white; it seems earlier than usual for them to bloom, but perhaps not. We don't have this flower in my area so I am always happy to be in the places where it is in bloom.

Here the laurel is just about ready to pop open:

Near the end of Staghorn Trail, the path followed along the edge of a cliff as it continued down, down, down to where my cabin and a cup of good coffee waited for me.

The end of the trail that morning was a nap. After coffee, good conversations with a few family members who stopped to chat, and after making my pasta salad for the reunion dinner, I was ready to find the sleep I'd missed the night before.
There are many more trails at Lost River that I have not tried. Next year, I've got my eyes on two or three others. For quite a few years I had so much trouble with asthma and allergies and then a bad knee that such walking was out of the question. Now I am back in shape for it and can't wait for another chance to get out in the woods.


Country Whispers said...

Sounds like a beautiful and peaceful morning walk and I'm sure that would make anyone want to go back to bed and nap for a bit.
Did anyone miss you while you were gone or did they know that you had ventured off?

Anonymous said...

Wonderful pictures of the park, Sue. I wish I had known you were walking--I would have loved to go with you. Let me know next year--there are some great trails--I've been on all of them, either by foot or horse. Course, if you want alone time, I understand that, too. Love, Judy

Granny Sue said...

They didn't know, Jessica--I just got up and decided to go. Probably not the safest course, but then if I was single, I'd do the same, so...
Judy, I did enjoy the time alone, although company would have been nice too. One thing about hiking alone is you can go your own pace and not worry about holding someone else up. I find that I usually travel slower than most people, like to stop a lot and just look at little things (and big things) along the way. Sometimes I miss these when someone's along and we're talking. And sometimes it's nice to share them with someone :-)

I missed the horse rides again this year, just got so busy, and then that nap...next year for sure. Or maybe we'll come back for a weekend this summer or fall. I really wanted to go up Cranny Crow.

Janet, said...

One of our favorite things to do when we go on vacation in the state parks is to go trail walking. We have walked on so many trails! Seems there's always something neat to see around the curve, over the hill or among the rocks.

Granny Sue said...

I prefer to walk in woods that are not as well traveled as those in the parks but the parks trails have the advantage of being taken care of, and of finding those cool spots in the woods we might otherwise miss. As you say, Janet, there is always something worth seeing, if we just look for it. Sometimes we're just too busy to see what's right in front of us.

Tipper said...

I enjoyed your walk-and I'm glad you did too :)

Granny Sue said...

Thanks, Tipper! You of all people know how restoring a walk in the woods can be.

Anonymous said...

Hey Susie,
Did you ever notice that your pictures always capture an ethereal (okay, I think that is the word I want) moment? Your second picture is really amazing. I too, want to go to Cranny Crow Lookout and the past two years I have missed doing it. Jay is talking about going up in August for the meteor showers. Love you. tm

Staci said...

I love walks in the woods - I love the woods.

That second picture is amazing - I like to believe that the images we catch on film that weren't visible by the eye, especially that beautiful, spiritual and divine.

That last picture is beautiful too.

Twisted Fencepost said...

Sounds like a walk I would have enjoyed. I love just walking through the woods to see what I can see.
I don't know about the tight shoes or the trimmed toe nails, but walking with your foot sideways is definitely how I learned to walk in the mountains. It's just easier that way.

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