Saturday’s hike around the loop at Caesar Creek was a trek of solitude. The bleakness of winter, the quietness of the frost covered forest and the scarcity of animals provided an environment of peace and tranquility. The past couple of weeks at work have been pressure packed as the school gets ready for its accreditation visit this coming week. The gathering and organizing of the evidence has resulted in more than the normal pressure of deadlines and checklists. So, the walk of quietness was needed.
I saw a few people from a long distance, said “hi” to a group of folks at Pioneer Village and passed three hikers on the trail but for the most part I was alone for my 10 hour trek. I was one of a half dozen cars in the parking lot at 8:30 am and my little red Civic was the lone vehicle waiting for me when I completed my hike.
I saw two young men hiking the trail around mid-morning. We passed in a rather wet part of the trail and just exchanged waves and a quick greeting. I saw them again in the early afternoon as we were both doing the loop trail. Saying our “hello again”, I asked about the upcoming stream and if they were able to cross it without difficulties. They said it was passable but that they had taken off their shoes and waded across. I decided to check it out for myself and evaluate my timing when I got there. When I arrived I saw the stream very passable but not without getting both feet wet up to the ankles. It was 1:30 and if I were to turn around I would have a minimum of a 5-hour hike back. Keeping my feet dry and warm, I turned back.
The only other hiker I met all day was another young man I met later in the afternoon. I was about two hours away from my car and he was headed the opposite direction. We stopped and chatted for a little while. He was wearing a Buckeye Trail shirt and we shared about the privilege of having such great trails in the area. He was only carrying a water pack so I knew he was not going far but I was a little concerned about the lateness of the day. When I arrived at the Day Lodge (about an hour from my car) I noticed a car in the lodge’s parking lot and figured it was the hiker’s. I was at peace knowing that he had plenty of time for a nice hike and still be able to make it back to his vehicle before dark.
Overall, I was pleased with my 24 miles. I was also pleased that I could hike for 10 hours on difficult paths. I only took three short breaks for some food and water. The breaks were quick because once I took off my pack, sat down and got something to eat, the cold began to impact me. While hiking I was toasty but once I stopped, the cool wind would chill my clothes and my hands. After 10 minutes, I was ready to start walking again.