I cannot believe that, in the past, someone actually tried to drain this marsh to use the area for farming. Lucky for us and for the wildlife, the land was donated to the Sycamore Land Trust. Bean Blossom Bottoms is now a protected marsh land home to many, including the rare Kirtland’s Snake.My son recommended we visit, so after a lovely lunch, we headed down.The Land Trust has completed repairing/replacing the boardwalk through the march. 2.5 miles of boardwalk!The number of water snakes we saw was impressive! We also saw tadpoles, wildflowers, and a baby bunny.I am sure crawdads call this place home by the looks of these mud towers. Or, do you think it could be something else?If you are in the Bloomington, Indiana area, then I recommend a visit. A marshy adventure…plus, you have to drive gravel roads to get here…a delight! Hike on!
Walking down an old road in the lull of the afternoon.
Squinting and, oh boy, it’s kinda hot.
A rushing stream blue-gray with lime now disturbed by my thirsty dog.
Birds quarreling with noisy abandon…watch out! One just whizzed by my head!
Murky ponds reclaimed by cattails, clover, and wildflowers.
All under an Indiana summer sky.
Green Ridge State Forest is, as yet, untapped hiking opportunities for me. I set out to scout the Pine Lick Trail with a couple of other hike leaders from the Maryland Trail Dames.
After meeting at Forest HQ off of I-68, we piled into my car to find the beginning of the trail.
Google maps got us to an approximate location, then we were on our own. Luckily, we spotted a blaze from the car! Nothing that looked like a trail…yet.
Spotting a trail sign down in the woods, I high stepped over some poison ivy and other brush to investigate. Success! We had found the trail!
Now to park…sketchy at best.
The Pine Lick Trail meets up with the MidState Trail here. The MidState Trail goes north to Buchanan State Forest in Pennsylvania.
We took a pic at the Mason Dixon Line, then set off going south. It was 6 miles back to HQ. We were excited to see what we would find!
A few small hills, then level, flat, soft trail. What a delight!
There were several trail signs to keep us motivated and frequent blazes. 😀 Very easy to follow the trail, even though it was overgrown in many places!
What the heck does “SNAG” mean?
We passed a massive, lovely campsite…and it only costs $10 a night!!!
Just after, a beautiful meadow, then we descended to the bottom lands near “Fifteen Mile Creek”. The trail follows, and crosses, the creek many times. This included rockhopping, crossing on one super sloping bridge (a sign later on said this bridge was closed), and some log crossings.
Just before the super slopey bridge, we had come across a swimming hole that looked mighty inviting. Making plans for a “Dog Days of August” hike and swim adventure!
I was surprised that we did not see any bears! We flushed out a wild turkey accidentally, crossed paths with a few newts, salamanders, lizards, and one Wolf Spider…but no bears.
Coming upon the Pine Lick Shelter, we stopped to check it out. The area behind the shelter looked like a jungle.
We stopped for lunch at a backcountry campsite on the banks of the creek. Then it was up, up, up a very eroded hill. It felt like if we made on wrong move we would slide all the way back down!
As we neared I-68, and yes, the trail gets so close to the highway you could literally jump over the guard rail!
Before that, however, we again met with overgrown trail.
Parting the way with my hiking poles, we slowly made our way through. No snakes, yay!
On the other side of the bridge we lost the trail for about 10 minutes because it was so overgrown. However, we knew we were in the right area, so once we did find a blaze, we backtracked to see if we could determine where we had gone the wrong way. We are pretty confident it was just after coming under the bridge. The trail goes left up the hill, we had continued to follow the creek. (Our way was less overgrown…I do not regret our path!)
Up, up, up again!
Three hot climbs later and we were happily, finally, back at the car! We recorded our trek at 7 miles. Here are the official specs…hike on!
New Jersey! I will get a few more miles of AT in NJ this week and Sidekick Pauli will be right with me. 🙂
We drove up here in a pouring rain. Not the best start to a few days of car camping. I seriously thought we might be literally camping in the car tonight, but the rain stopped just as I was checking in. What luck!
I got my tent set up and hung out with my pal Bear Spray. The low hanging fog on the lake made all the edges of the trees soft and mysterious.
Bullfrogs grunted while birds sang jubilantly. Pauli went between keeping watch and napping peacefully beside me. Perfect.
After a bit, we took a walk around the lake. The campsites are very nice here!
Arriving back at our site, we ate dinner. I had a tofurkey sandwich and potato salad. I was loving that potato salad…but dinner was cut short by a roll of thunder which set me into high gear cleaning up! Oh well, that potato salad will have to wait until tomorrow. 😢
Rain is falling on the tent and Pauli is now snoring beside me. This is the best life! Hike on!
Ahhh…all required writing for my grad class done, I can now get back to writing for fun!
Last weekend the Maryland Trail Dames represented at the annual Flip Flop Festival in Harper’s Ferry, WV. I have to give a huge thank – you to Queen V for organizing this event! She told me to show up with a table and my camp chair…done!
I rolled in at 7:30ish on Saturday morning to find that the Queen had already put up the canopy. I pulled over to drop off the table then quickly found a parking spot. Exiting my car, I was caught off guard by a gust of wind that whipped my car door back so hard I thought it would break. Okay, then, let me just grab an extra jacket if that is the way it is going to be!
That was indeed how it was going to be on Saturday! The wind would blow up the hill and literally force us to hold onto the canopy, the table, our chairs, and the handouts so they would not be tossed up into the air. We demonstrated quite a bit of agility, let me tell you! In between gusts we managed to stake out the canopy…gonna give myself props for some of the knots I tied…held like a charm!
Sadly, the PATC canopy next to ours did not fare so well. A particularly ferocious gust sent their canopy cartwheeling across the lawn! They decided to move over to the lawn of Storer College afterwards…kudos on their decision as the wind did not let up.
We persevered, but decided eventually to ditch our canopy. It was less stressful without the wind trying to shred it with every gust!
We ended the day in good spirits and vowed that the next day would be better!
Sunday began with no wind, but rains poured down. I was not scheduled to show up until the afternoon, but checked in with Queen V. Everything was okay, wet, but okay. Game on!
The crowd had diminished to near zero by 3:30 pm, so we called it a day and dismantled our glorious set-up. 🙂
Thanks to the several amazing volunteers from Trail Dames, we have many new women interested in hiking with us!
Side note 1: Guys, I am glad you stopped by our table…however, if all you had to say was “oh the Trail Dames, I’ve been looking for a Trail Dame”… then go find yourself one somewhere else…We don’t play like that! 😀
Sidenote 2: If you are that person, who signed up for information by leaving us a link to your porn site…we don’t do those kind of events! 😀 😀 😀
Sidenote 3: If you are the guy that came over to mansplain how we had anchored our canopy ALL WRONG and we needed to untie everything and re-do it, then I want you to know that it NEVER CARTWHEELED ACROSS THE LAWN, bwahahahaha!
I love you guys…Hike on! 😀
I haven’t hiked alone in a very long time. I had forgotten how it felt.
We had a “weather event” last night that left a fresh coat of snow on the trees and ground. This, of course, made this trip into the forest quite magical!
I pulled in to the trail head parking lot at 8:30 am…not a soul around. Threw my microspikes, extra layer, and lunch into my backpack and entered a snowy wonderland.
Stream crossing first thing. I stopped and stood beside the creek after crossing. It had started to snow again. It was so quiet… the gurgling water, a few birds chattering in the brambles…the wind as it came over the ridge…but nothing else.
I closed my eyes and tilted my head up to the steel gray sky. Snowflakes landed on my cheeks and I thought how perfect this moment.
I whispered, to the woods … to myself, “It’s been too long.”
I walked through the falling snow, up the hill, towards the lake at Greenbrier State Park. Looking back at my foot prints, I wondered if they would be covered when I headed back.
I did not see anyone on the trail until I got to the lake.
Even then, only two guys fishing on the banks. We exchanged cheerful greetings, then silence enveloped the mountain once more. 🙂
Bolivar Heights is a wonderful short trail to stretch your legs. Especially, if you are waiting for Harper’s Ferry only Vegan restaurant, Kelley Farm Kitchen, to open!
We took the loop starting on the ridge, then circling down to the battlefield, then back up. About a mile, perfect to while away a half hour.
The trail is gentle with the bonus of great views! We spooked a herd of deer on our way across the ridge.
And a spectacular sunrise greeted us as we climbed back up to the ridge.
Now at the top, my stomach reminded me that I had not eaten breakfast…time for lunch!
A BBQ Jackfruit sandwich with a side of mac & cheese, yassss! Hike on!
Today’s hike at Seneca Creek State Park convinced me that I have just about fully recovered from a sciatica injury. An injury that resulted from too many hours in the car driving back from Hoosierland at Thanksgiving.
Since then I have been in physical rehab land…not much hiking there!
I was a little concerned that a hike of six miles might be too much. I did some extra stretches and went anyway. 🙂
Glorious day out with my good hiking pal, Lola. The weather was chilly to start. Frost made meadows glitter seductively. I stopped several times to snap photos…and to consciously check in with my body. All good! Down the trail we go!
The sky was bright blue and birds chirped happily. It warmed up enough to shed a layer. I also ditched the gloves and the hat!
Walking around the lake, Lola pointed out the handiwork of the local beaver population. They have been BUSY!!
We looked everywhere for a dam,but never found one. We never saw a beaver either, which I found quite curious with the abundant quantity of felled trees!
I stopped to sit and stretch once we had rounded the lake. Those beavers. All that work, all that sheer tenacity to try to fell trees way too big, and from the looks of it…not even one decent dam on the lake. Could be my spirit animal 🙂 🙂 🙂
Happy New Year and Hike On!
Thank you farm for welcoming me back.
Thank you sun, I see you peaking through the trees.
Thank you trees, with your long, morning shadows that cut across my path.
Thank you frost for giving me diamonds.
Thank you birds for singing me home.
Thank you sky for holding me so gently in your space.
Thank you air, so crisp as I take you in and warm you.
Thank you rocks for sparkling and meadow grasses, with long icy tendrils, reaching out to caress me as I pass.
Thank you brown hard ground waiting for sun’s magic touch that will turn you to squishy mud once more.
Thank you deer for greeting me at what will be the sacred resting spot for my Dad’s ashes.
Thank you Daddy for showing me how to appreciate Mother Earth with all her gifts.
I know you can now go anywhere, but this is a nice spot to rest awhile.
See you on my next walk. Hike on.
The first snow is magical. We were only forecasted for rain and ice primarily…so when the soft, white flakes started to slowly drift lazily from sky to earth I felt my spirits soar.
The snow steadily filled my yard. Covering up mounds of mulch needing to be spread, the dry, dormant rose bushes, and gravel pathway. All was quiet. I lit a few candles and settled into winter.
Overnight, the skies, now empty, cleared to dark blue broken by long silvery gray-white clouds that moved with haste from west to east.
Morning is now. I greet this day, my day, my 51st anniversary with Mother Earth, with wonder.
Let the light in. Say a prayer of gratitude. Hike on.