200: The rest of the storyPosted: April 11, 2011
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.