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.
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!
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 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!
Sitting here in the house, riding out the wintry weather, doing a whole lot of nothing. What started as beautiful snow this morning has now turned into an icy mess. So, in order to feel productive, I’ve decided to share last weekend’s sojourn with Sidekick Pauli to Oregon Ridge .
One of my goals for 2018 was to hike a certain number of miles. A number, we will just call it x, since like a variable, it is currently in flux and will remain secret because my ACTUAL miles hiked in the month of January was a measly 38.3. *sigh*
BUT, I thought, let me go get a couple of easy miles over north of Baltimore at Oregon Ridge. AND, I thought, Sidekick Pauli can tag along since it would be a shorter hike.
Off we went! A new place!
Oregon Ridge Nature Center seemed easy to find, but I was just following the directions being barked at me by the voice of the Google Maps Goddess, so who knows. 😀
It was a beautiful, weird, winter day with temps climbing into the 60s. A great day to be out! Fun (and strange) fact: Oregon Ridge used to be a ski resort! Found this little gem on this blog.
Anyway, I pulled into the park and made my way up the hill. Cars to the left of me, SUVs to my right, stuck in the middle with a sinking feeling of no parking spots in my head. Ever the optimist, I plowed on. I descended the hill, almost to the Nature Center, “dead end, great I will have to turn arou….YESSSSSSSS!” A car pulled out, and I swung my RAV4 neatly into the newly opened gate to Narnia. 🙂 🙂 🙂
Sidekick Pauli voiced her impatience as I wrangled my pack, her water, my water, the leash…and SHAZAM! she was hooked up and we were headed around the lake on the aptly named “Lake Trail”. I broke all rules for “appropriate” hikes for Sidekick Pauli with this trail choice as there were a few brief, but steep, ups and downs before we crossed the power line clearing to follow the “Loggers Trail”. She was excited to be out and didn’t seem to have any trouble at all . The Loggers Trail climbed moderately along a level path through the woods. There were a few nice winter views through the trees. 🙂
Warm days in the winter give way to ______________ happiness? freedom? cure for cabin fever? Yes, yes, and yes, but also to…you guessed it… muddy, mucky trails! This was the case with the entire loop that we walked and by the time we headed down towards the Nature Center at the end of the loop, I was getting irritated with all the slipping and sliding! Exasperated, I stopped, pulled Sidekick Pauli in close for a mini-break off the trail. Scanning ahead, I saw pops of color in woods. What the heck?
That was the motivation I needed to keep walking down (sliding down) hill. Pauli needed lunch, so I let her eat in the car while I checked out the Nature Center. Then we ventured back uphill towards those colorful trees in what I now knew was called the Forest of Hope.
Incredible. Here’s to healing in the trees. Hike on.
I am just so damn pleased. Last night I took a hike with some fellow Trail Dames at Cool Spring Battlefield in Bluemont, Virginia. Now, I’m not damn pleased because I took a hike (although, I seriously deserve a freaking ribbon for doing that in the heat and humidity last night). No, my current smirk of satisfaction comes from seeing this previous golf course reclaimed and thoughtfully returned to its mostly natural state. The asphalt roads built for the golf carts are still at Cool Spring, but now serve as walking paths. This was my first visit to this battlefield and I was impressed.
The path we meandered along followed the Shenandoah River north. Wildflowers lined our path, which made this sticky, hot hike bearable! Not even a breeze! Oh, it was brutal but beautiful. 🙂
The river looked refreshing, but I resisted the urge to jump in. I really didn’t want to drive the hour back home in damp clothes. No one else took the plunge either, but it was nice to listen to the water tumble over the rocks as it moved on north.
We moved on, climbing the “big hill”, then headed to the waterfall. This battlefield is wonderfully diverse! Meadows, a climb with a view, woodlands, the river, and now a waterfall! I like, I like, I like!
Luckily, we weren’t really in any hurry. None of us cared if we did too many miles. After all, this was a Friday evening hike. A chance to close out the week by inhaling the sweet scents of the meadow and exhaling all of our work stress. Breath in, yes, it was working! Exhale, ahhhh, the weekend! Hike On!