26: A three hour hike

(Going down to the Pierson Creek Trail.)

Have I mentioned that stepping outside these days is like stepping into a painting?  Oh right, I did.  I still feel that way, especially after yesterday’s three hour hike at the Holden Arboretum.

(Click on the photos for a larger view.)

(On the way to the arboretum.)

We woke up to clear, blue and sunny skies yesterday morning and decided it would be a great day to take the trip up to the arboretum to see the fall foliage.  It’s about an hour drive, almost straight north, from where we live.  I was surprised to find things are a little different up north, even at that short a distance.  Not much different, mind you.  Just a little.

For one thing, as we made our way north we began to see clouds until eventually it was all dark gray clouds and no blue sky at all.  It probably has something to do with being closer to the lake (“the lake” being Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes).  Lake-effect clouds, rain, and snow are something we’re familiar with as those things frequently make their way down to us.

The clouds did burn off eventually as you can see from the light and shadows in the above photo.  But while the clouds were around, they provided a nice contrast for the variety of colors that Autumn is displaying this year.

We had a look at the trail maps online before we set out on our adventure and decided to take the Woodland Trail (1.5 miles) to the Pierson Creek Loop (1.9 miles) to the Old Valley Trail (2.8 miles but part of that overlapped with the Woodland Trail) to the Strong Acres Trail (0.75 miles) which led us back to the Old Valley Trail and to the Highlights Trail (0.75 miles for us as we didn’t do the entire loop) and back to the Visitor’s Center where we started.  Phew.  That was a long hike!

The Pierson Creek Loop and the Old Valley Trail are described in the maps guide as “rugged.”  Compared to the hiking we’ve done in Colorado, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, it was a piece of cake.  Compared to the other trails at the arboretum, they were rugged.  I’m guessing the “rugged” description comes from all the stairs.  There are a lot of them as you descend into the valley and we all know that what goes down on a hike must eventually come back up if you want to end where you started.

There are also a few places where you have to cross the creek.  There are no bridges for that purpose so you either wade through the water or make your way across the rocks that are not covered with water.  It’s not bad at all.  The creek is small and shallow.  It might be different after a heavy rain.

We stopped at the creek, had a seat on one of the rocks, and enjoyed a snack while listening to the sounds of the water and the woods.  We saw one other person out there.  A photographer at the top of the stairs that lead down to the creek.  It was a great day for taking pictures and well worth the hike to get away from the main (easy) trails where there was more people traffic.

I kept thinking of the Coldplay song Yellow as we hiked along.  The yellows are the predominant color in the forests of the arboretum.  There were some reds and oranges scattered about around the edges and in the carpet of leaves on the forest floor but deep into the woods, it was yellow with some green from the evergreen trees.  Even the light seemed yellow.

One more photo from this portion of the hike, then it’s time for me to move on to today’s outdoor experience.

Today’s Walk (Day 26)…

Somewhere in the first week of my commitment to get outside every day I discovered that each day’s walk brought with it a gift of some kind, a gift to feed the spirit as well as the senses.  Today’s gift was sound.  Birds chirping, squawking, cheeping, and singing.  Water trickling from the pond to the creek (we’re still working on that draw down of the pond).  Small splashing sounds of fish jumping.   Frogs eeeeep’ing as the leap from the shore into the water.  And the loud whooshing sound of a muskrat as it dives.

So, instead of another series of pictures, I bring you sound:

The hammering sound you hear towards the end is a woodpecker.  I’m unable to identify the other birds as I’m not familiar with bird calls, something I’ve decided I need to remedy.

As you can see, it’s another gray day here in the Bogs.  It rained earlier and will probably rain some more over the next few days.  Oddly, it felt and sounded more like spring than fall out there this morning.  Instead of the usual dryness of autumn, it was humid and the birds were chattier than they have been.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more from Sunday’s hike as well as whatever Tuesday’s walk should bring.