Little Bennett Regional Park has a great trail system for both beginning and more experienced hikers. Some of the trails are restricted to “hiker only”. The majority can also be used for biking and horse riding. Despite this, all of the trails are pretty well maintained by the friends of Little Bennett, http://www.friendsoflittlebennett.org/.
Sidekick Pauli and I hit the trail at 3 PM in the afternoon. The weather was just fantastic…low humidity and a nice breeze was blowing…so unlike summer time weather around this region! We parked at the Kingsley trail head. After pulling on the boots, filling up my water bladder and making sure I had my keys, we started down the Western Piedmont trail. This is an old road that used to go to Hyattstown so it is a flat gravel surface.
About 10 minutes into the trail I heard my cell phone ringing. Argh. Why didn’t I remember to turn it off? I actually took the call, which was somewhat important…then turned off the ringer and continued down the trail. Soon we came to a little tributary of Little Bennett Creek. Sidekick Pauli splashed down into the water to cool herself off and get a nice cold drink!
While she was in the water I noticed several butterflies flitting this way and that. I am telling you…if you want to see butterflies this is the time to get outside on a trail. I have seen so many butterflies over the last couple of weeks.
Leaving the butterflies we walked on for about another quarter mile, then turned right onto Pine Grove trail. I didn’t see many pines, but evidence of horses was everywhere. Some parts of this trail were a little mucky, I definitely recommend boots!
After leaving Pine Grove trail for the Timber Ridge trail I finally began to get into my more reflective, thoughtful hiking zone.
Geraldine Largay has been at the forefront of my mind lately. Her trail name is “Inchworm” and I didn’t even know who she was before last week. She has been hiking the AT but went missing over a week ago. Although she is backpacking alone, her husband said she would check in frequently with her location.
She is on my mind because I hike alone. Though I draw the line at backpacking alone, I don’t know if day hiking is ANY safer. I usually take Sidekick Pauli along with me…and even though that makes me feel more confident…there is really no guarantee that Sidekick Pauli would actually help in any kind of critical situation. In fact, if I were injured she would probably try to lick me to death. If I wasn’t getting up, my gut tells me she would snuggle up to my side and try to protect me from anyone or anything that came near…including someone who might be able to help!
But I understand hiking alone. I love hiking alone. I can’t explain it, especially to those who see it as dangerous. Hiking alone is like going to church for me. Actually, it is much more than that. It is like being in the past, present, and future at one time. Each step takes me further into myself and further out of myself…into a spiritual state in which I am able to truly hear what the universe is trying to tell me.
For many, the risk is too high. In reading of Geraldine Largay I hear many people criticizing her actions, her age, the fact that a female shouldn’t be on the trail alone…
I have to wonder why these people are so fearful. I also wonder why the fear they have is so great that they need to unleash it on those around them.
Geraldine, regardless of how this all turns out, is doing what she loves…hiking.
By all means be scared, but do whatever you were meant to do anyway!
As we plodded down the last hill and made our way back to the car, I looked to the tops of the trees. They stood, bending with the breeze, letting the afternoon sunlight filter through to the path in front of me. The trees do not fear the wind, even though wind has the power to break them. No, the trees have learned to stand tall and move with the wind. Occasionally they fall. But even in falling they are majestic.