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Trail 7

April 6, 2015
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The guys were at a baseball game yesterday afternoon. It was sunny, in the mid-60s, and a perfect day for a game of ball. It was also a perfect day for a walk in the woods, and that’s what my friend and I set out to do.

IMG_1315 (2)We chose to walk McCormick’s Creek State Park Trail 7. The trail begins with a low, root-tangled, rocky slope from the trailhead to the creek, which it then follows until the path meanders uphill to a point from which you can see the White River. It’s a reasonably easy walk if you are wearing sturdy shoes, and perfect for finding woodland flowers.

Our purpose yesterday was to look for the earliest wildflowers, and we found them in abundance on the sunny slopes beside the trail. White IMG_1313trillium, bloodwort, dutchman’s breeches, and yellow dogtooth violets peeped out from the leaf litter. These are all tiny plants which do not announce themselves to the casual hiker – you have to look for them.

The woods in early spring are full of small delights and the occasional small peril. Drooping ferns from last year’s abundance mark the spot where new fiddleheads will soon peep out. Beech trees rustle their ghostly leaves in the breeze. The creek rushes over rocky shoals with a roar that will turn to a quiet ripple in late summer. I looked for evidence of spring with every step I took.

IMG_1321

What I didn’t look for was evidence that a dog had recently walked the trail before me. As I walked, I was scouting everything but the trail itself. Just as my walking companion shouted “look out for …” I stepped in it. I spent the rest of the hike scuffling along in the loose gravel and damp leaf litter trying to clean the bottom of my shoe. It didn’t work.

We saw more flowers, heard and found a tiny woodpecker, and marveled at all the downed trees at an old campsite. It might take all summer to clean out the debris from the tree falls, we mused. And all the while, I scuffed and scraped my way down the trail. I began to think it might take me as long to clean my shoe as it would to clean the campsite.

Before we got into the car for the trip home, I was encouraged (well, urged) by my companion toIMG_1322 pull a plastic grocery bag over the foot wearing the offending shoe. Today, I will figure out a way to make the shoe clean again. Meanwhile, I have a few photos to enjoy as I think back on our walk in the woods..

All in all, it was a good day on Trail 7.

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