My hike at Twin Creek MetroParks on Monday was great. I thought I might be the sole hiker on the trail but several others had gone before me. I made two 9.1 mile loops around the park. As I was hiking in the snow, I became fascinated by the footprints on the path. Some were obviously old as the weather had destroyed the detail of the tread. Others were crisp with tread details making the print look very distinctive. And then there were a few very fresh tracks that reflected a perfect impression of the bottom of the boot (or in my case… sandal). Although I never “caught” anybody I followed several interesting people. One hiker was taking his wolf (or maybe a medium sized dog) for a hike and the dog was either extremely well trained or the hiker had the animal on a leash. I also followed a giant. I put my footprint next to his and I would guess that he wore a size 14+ shoe. And his stride was huge. It took me three steps to match his two. I was kind of glad that I did not catch him. I also followed a cool footprint that just had the air of an expert hiker – I could tell that he knew what he was doing by noticing his choices of foot placement on the slippery downgrades and strategy in moving across the terrain. I quickly realized that the hiker was not only intelligent but also good-looking when I noticed that they were tracks I had made on my first loop : ).
I began to think about the footprints we leave in life. There have been several people in my past that have left me clear prints to follow and emulate. Those prints are crisp and easy to see but not always easy to follow. The strides of some have been huge and I find myself needing to take two or three steps to walk alongside them. The spiritual giants of life “walk a walk” that stretches my faith and understanding. There are also some footprints that appear old and lack relevance. The weather of time and experience has dulled the tracks, bringing the path into question.
Other than a few tracks in the snow, the wildlife kept their distance and played a stealthy game of peek-a-boo. As I made a bend in the trail I saw two people in the woods to my right. I thought I might be the object of a snowball ambush so I readied myself for a quick drop and roll in order to come up firing my spheres of white flakes. Then I realized that my 30 pound backpack might deter my roll a bit. Instead the commander of the banditos greeted me and shared that she and her son were building a snowman in the woods. On my second loop, I took a picture of the two-foot snow-guard protecting the trail.