The promise of Fall! Crisp air with a chilly bite that leaves goose bumps running up your spine and down your arms. A bright blue sky framing the yellows, reds, and oranges popping forth on the end of branches hanging with the weight of summer gone on too long. That cool, mulchy, smokey scent in the air. The harvest season, the pies, the pumpkins, the magic! Oh, Fall, don’t make me wait much longer!
I am waiting, somewhat impatiently, for sweater weather. Despite the humidity, the constant rain, low hanging gray clouds, Sidekick Pauli and I could take no more inside time broken up with quick strolls around the block. Today, we were on our way west to Ohiopyle State Park to scout a trail for an upcoming Trail Dame camp out.
I questioned my decision to head out in the entrails of Hurricane Florence as I drove through heavy fog and pelting rain crossing the mountains near Frostburg, Maryland. After coming down a couple hundred feet, though, my path was affirmed by a Bald Eagle swooping down to the shoulder of the highway! What a beauty! (and yes, I do believe in signs given to me by nature…so on I went)
Ohiopyle was crowded, of course, but I was headed up a bit to the Tharp Knob Picnic Area. I found only one other car in the parking lot…and bathrooms… 🙂 See, it was meant to be! 😀 😀 😀
The plan was a short hike to the campground and back. Long enough to stretch my legs, short enough for Sidekick Pauli, who has some limitations to consider…back issues, and so on. This hike took us up to the overlook first, where we sat on a bench enjoying the breeze coming up from the gorge. From the overlook, I could see the town of Ohiopyle hugging the Youghiogheny River (pronounced Yawkigainy…here is audio!).
The whole scene…town, river, and even a train…made things feel right with the world. 🙂 After a few minutes, Sidekick Pauli wanted more, so we headed down the Kentuck Trail to the campground. My shoes sunk into the soft, water-laden, trail as I requested Pauli to wait while I picked my way down the first hill. There were three blow downs to cross over, around, or through…which meant three more on the way back! 😉
Sidekick Pauli did not have any trouble with her back today and she looked like a puppy as she clambered up and over one particular blow down!
Soggy August, and now September, left a lovely variety of fungi along the trail. I took the time to look carefully and appreciate each small thing in the forest as I walked. Being here, in the woods, with my dog, as the seasons change…this is a blessing! Hike on!