I took a hike this past Saturday at Twin Creek MetroPark. I haven’t been on this trail for several weeks but I love the double loop, figure-eight design of the path. The upper loop is about 6 miles around and the lower circle covers about 3 miles. Where the two loops come together is a nice rest area with water, privy, and a small open-sided shelter. I usually pause at the shelter for a snack or lunch.
Saturday’s hike was absolutely grand. If I had to summarize the trek I would capture it as dry, green, Gatorade, boots with kids and dogs. Before you reread the sentence and think I have lost my sense of syntax and grammar, let me explain my summary.
First, the trail was dry. Well, not completely dry but so much better than before Christmas. It was so great to kick the dry leaves and have good traction climbing the hills. Now, 86.256% of the trail was wonderful – the other 13.744% was swampy, muddy and unavoidable (statistical analysis was an educated guess).
Second, winter has not let go of its hold on the tundra. The forest reflects 37 shades of brown (my Rough estimate) with a mixture of grays and black. Hiking in my bright blue shirt, I tend to stand out like a giant blue jay or a mutant blueberry. After traversing through a rather stark meadow lit up by the morning sun, I saw it. I stopped. I pulled out my cell phone and took a picture of the first green blades of grass that I noticed along the trail. I saw lots more during the day but this tuft of green filled my eyes with hope.
Third word – Gatorade. I asked Cathy to buy me a bottle of Gatorade a few weeks ago because I had the bottle (not the drink) recommended as a good substitute for the heavier Nalgene bottle. I enjoyed the Gatorade last week and carried the bottle this past Saturday. It was great. I came home and weighed both containers. Nalgene = 6.2 oz. Gatorade = 1.9 oz. Since I carry two bottles of water on my pack, the Gatorade containers will save me 8.5 oz. Is that a big deal? For me that is a big deal!
Fourth… boots. I thought about wearing my sandals on such a nice day. But I went with my new boots to try them on the trail. I attached my sandals to the back of my pack in case my feet needed rescued. 18.4 miles later, my feet still felt good in my new boots. I am so glad that the shoes are working out so well. They are so much more comfortable on the trail than they are on the street (walking to work).
Finally, kids and dogs. I was pretty much alone until almost noon. I got an early start hitting the trail before sunrise and enjoying the sky of color as the sun rose in the east. Right after lunch I began to see civilization arise. It seemed like every solo hiker was accompanied by two or three dogs. From labs and retrievers to terriers and pugs the dogs were walking their owners. I was so happy to see several families out for a stroll. I quickly recounted 8 children on my drive home – of course one family had 5 kiddos hiking the trail like stair steps to the second floor. Another mom and dad with two elementary age children were on a photo shoot (although they didn’t seem interested in snapping a picture of the old timer in the backpack). I loved hearing the kids laughing and enjoying the woods.
The hike was filled with dry, green, Gatorade, boots with kids and dogs.