200: The rest of the story

(Waddling away.)

If you missed part one of this epic saga, you can find it here.

When I left off yesterday, M and I had just finished taking a break at the beach, having accomplished what we set out to do:  hike a 5k (we were participating in Automattic’s Worldwide WP 5k).  Our duck companions went back to swimming around in the lake while we made our way across the beach where we encountered one goose bullying another.

Showing off

The goose being bullied and chased away had this going on:

It looks terribly uncomfortable to me, as if the band might be choking him.  I realize neck bands are used for research purposes, but I think they might want to rethink the design of the neck band for the Canada Goose.  I know there are plenty of them and I probably shouldn’t worry too much about them, but I don’t like seeing any creature uncomfortable or in pain.  Whatever happened to leg banding?

When the fight broke up, we walked out to the docks to stare out at the lake for a little while.  By this time there was a nice, refreshing breeze.  It was still incredibly warm, and the breeze helped cool us off a little.

It smells like Christmas!

Near the end of the beach area we passed this large row of old Christmas trees, waiting to be dumped into the lake.  The trees are weighted down and sunk to attract fish and increase habitat.  Apparently Christmas trees are not the best choice for this use (hardwoods make better brush piles for fish), but I guess if you got ’em, might as well use ’em.


As we came around the area called The Point, the wind really picked up and the water in the lake on that side was pretty choppy.

After enjoying the wind for a while, we found ourselves back in the woods where the breeze disappeared, the temperature soared, and the humidity thickened.

This eventually led to my favorite part of the hike:  An alley of pine trees.  I love walking through groves of pines.  The scent is wonderful, and the cushioning from the pine needles eases the stress on the feet.

There is, to me, something magical about pine forests.  A grove of pines is where I retreat to in guided visualizations when instructed to find a safe or happy place.

The mystical, magical pine grove

At this point we were a little more than a half mile from finishing the 5.1 mile loop.  We were also beginning to feel pretty tired.  I could have easily completed a 5k on the treadmill or on the street here in the neighborhood in less than an hour.  Hiking, however, is a different animal than walking and jogging.  It uses different muscles and can sometimes be more strenuous.  The Shoreline Trail we were on was mostly flat.  It was sometimes a relief to climb and/or go down the few small hills we encountered.

Raccoon prints in the mud

Once through the pine forest, we were back on mushy, muddy, boggy ground that slowed us down considerably.  The mud on some portions of the trail wanted to suck the shoes right off our feet.  It was not successful as we were both wearing high top hiking boots.

A black squirrel joined us near the end of our hike.  He was pretty frisky, moving at fast pace.  I was ready for him when he finally slowed, then stopped and posed for this picture.

Catch me if you can

We made our way out of the woods and back to where we started at the Children’s Area.

And so endeth the great 5k+ hike on the Shoreline Trail at Portage Lakes State Park.  Back at the car we both shed the boots.  I haven’t worn my hiking boots since our trip to Colorado last summer and my feet were blistered.  I don’t think I’ll be wearing shoes again for at least a day or two.

Today’s Outdoor Adventures

I feel as if I should celebrate in some way.  It is day 200 of my outdoor commitment.  The weather did provide a few fireworks and sound effects in the form of lightning and thunder in some quick moving storms this morning.  The daffodils, which seemed to be in suspended animation during the cold snap, all burst into bloom and there are clumps of bright yellow all over the place.

Greening willows

The willow trees are greening, and the maples in the front yard will have leaves soon.  The lawn is dotted with tiny white flowers.  The grass is growing, and I imagine it won’t be too long before we’ll have to mow.  We usually put off the first spring mowing so we can enjoy all the wildflowers (yes, even the dandelions) that pop up this time of year.

This morning's view of the pond

The wind has been ferocious this afternoon.  Although it’s been cloudy and the rain has come in spits and spurts, we’re not getting any of the strong storms originally predicted for today.  They seem to have gone south of us, but who knows what might pop up during the rest of the afternoon and evening?

The temperature has been dropping and we’ll be in the 40s tonight and tomorrow.  The 30s are expected tomorrow night.  After that, it’s looking like a pretty good week.  I expect to be spending as much time as possible outside, working in the garden and taking walks.

22 Comments on “200: The rest of the story”

  1. That humidity would have sent me back to the car and back home! 😉
    Poor goose, at first I thought it’s head got stuck in something. I would think that leg bands would be a lot more comfortable.

    I like that path picture (9th from the top), the path seems perfectly straight.

    We got some CRAZY weather last night with so much lightning that it was a miracle that we never lost power…. or floated away in that torrential downpour.

    • Robin says:

      If it had been July or August, Michaela, I would have given up and gone home. I’m not particularly fond of humidity (or heat, for that matter, preferring moderate temperatures — 60s are nice). But after a cold, dry winter, the humidity felt good for a little while.

  2. boatacrosstheriver says:

    ack! who do we write about that poor goose…

  3. subha says:

    definitely sad for the goose! I love the pine pictures -they look so dreamy. I also liked learning about the second life for the christmas trees! I have been using a fake tree each year because I haven’t been able to bear the thought of a tree being cut down to sit in my house for the season…but as i learn about the various things that the trees are used for, I am more and more inclined to take the plunge!

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Subha. 🙂

      It’s amazing how many ways an old Christmas tree can be used. And if you get a live tree, you can always plant it.

  4. Bo Mackison says:

    Love the idea of visualizing a pine forest. And the pine smell–yes, lovely.

    What a hike you had–you two are ambitious!

  5. ladyfi says:

    That neck band looks very uncomfortable indeed!

    Fabulous spring shots!

  6. CMSmith says:

    My dad had a cottage on a lake and they always used old Christmas trees to encourage the fish to stick around.

  7. CMSmith says:

    I love your photos by the way.

  8. Karma says:

    Love the black squirrel picture! I have seen them before but never gotten a picture. What a lot of wonderful sights for your 5k – or 5mi actually!

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Karma. 🙂

      I had never seen a black squirrel until we moved to this area. They have tons of them in the city of Kent and around Kent State University. They’re very playful creatures.

  9. Enjoyed your odyssey, er hike. It is so nice to discover new places like this.

    I suspect the large bands on the goose is used to make identifications from a distance. Leg banding would require capture more than once. Hopefully, the bands are designed so that the goose’s life is not compromised in any way.

    • Robin says:

      Scott: lol! Yes, I did make it into a bit of an odyssey, didn’t I? I need a class on brevity. 🙂

      The Canada Goose has made such a big comeback that I wonder why they band them at all. I do see your point about the leg bands.

  10. Anna says:

    What a wonderful series of photos of everything you encountered outdoors. That poor goose! Why a neck band? That doesn’t make sense at all. Great pic of the black squirrel in which was on a light bark tree for contrast. Enjoyed the post and photos. 🙂

    • Robin says:

      I think Scott hit the nail on the head when he mentioned the neck bands are easier to see than the leg bands, Anna.

      Thank you! 🙂

  11. Barbara Rodgers says:

    They use similar uncomfortable-looking tags on the necks of the Canada geese around here, too.
    I never heard of discarded Christmas trees being used for fish habitat under water before! Congratulations on successfully completing your 5K walk!

  12. Robin says:

    Thank you, Barbara. And thank you for the link to your post. I enjoyed it. 🙂

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