Sunday, October 5, 2008

Take a hike!

Nothing's gone right this week. Nothing in the least. At least, I told myself, there was the Renaissance Festival for the weekend. Right? Right?

Murphy laughed right in my face, the bastard. I had no one to go with. I had to find an alternate plan, so I reverted to an old stand-by: a rambling walk in the park. Ramble here is an operative word: the park I planned to explore was really more of a riding trail than a walking one, so I followed a couple winding streets through some rural stretches, ending up in my old suburb, which I knew had a great walking trail. Indeed, the trail I strolled was within walking distance of my old neighborhood.

A good stroll it was, too. Follow me, and I'll take you through it. We can skip the rec center parking and the crossing of a back road to get to an entrance to the trail. It's an open area to start with, a few trees, a trash can, a bench. Road behind you, trail ahead. Some trees. And wait, something's crashing through the trees. Several loud somethings--several big somethings, the silhouettes indistinct. Suddenly, there they are in the clearing--four deer. Before I can even grab my camera, they're gone, in and out of the trees, across the trail, seeming to play in the sunny early afternoon. I follow in their general direction.

The leaves are still mostly green, and many trees are festooned with spiderwebs. Thistles grow here and there, along with a few black-eyed susans. The trail goes in and out of the trees, over a couple bridges. When a bike rider approaches from across the bridge, I hear the clatter of wheels over boards.

This one bridge had all sorts of writing on it: names, dates, logos, and the following message that clearly means something to someone:

Just past the bridge, more trees. Rain has started to fall, and I briefly have to weigh my choices: continue in the hopes the rain ceases, or turn back? I decide to gamble on the rain ending. It pays off, slowing from its gentle patter to an end. Ahead, too, a consolation prize for an earlier missed opportunity:
The others enjoying the trail with me were silent and cautious. For my part, I moved slowly when I was aware of their presence. The one in the forefront was the most expressive, craning its neck to re-examine me, trying to discern my intent. I clicked away, snagging a few shots before they scampered away.

I watched them until I couldn't see them, which, er, didn't take long. So I go on my merry way. Spider webs dangle across the path from time to time, some of them snaring leaves so they look like flashes of red suspended in mid-air. One strand had a spider dangling from it, leaving me to dodge it abruptly. Shortly thereafter, I hear some crackling noises from the trees. To my side, within ten feet, I see...
Lest you think this post nothing more than a series of en-deer-ing shots, I did also take some pictures of other nature-y things. Not all of them turned out to my satisfaction; few do. This one did, though. I'll be darned if I know what the vine is, but it is spiky, and spiky things are nifty by my book.
Shortly after the vine-draped bridge, I turned around to head back, aware that the further I went, the further I'd have to walk back. My legs by this point were starting to register complaint. Pacing across a classroom just isn't adequate exercise to prepare for a 45-minute walk. The occasional bench tempts me to sit down, but I decide not to--getting back on my feet will be that much more work. Onward, then. Goodness, but I've gone quite a ways, following a fork here and a turn there. My inner compass remembers which turn I took where, though.

It's less exciting this time around. Until... until I hear a sort of...crunching sound...
I really don't know how many deer there were in the park today total, but on at least three separate incidents, I saw deer. In the middle of the day. I thought that was pretty nifty. I do not think they were so impressed. Ah well.

No comments: