Friday had been a great run, so Saturday I was hoping to go for four in a row. It didn’t work out that way, however. I’ve mentioned that I do freelance work – I’m in the middle of a project right now. Saturday, I ended up running all over town in search of materials.
It was a gorgeous summer day, one of those perfect days. I had packed my running gear just in case… but shopping for hours took all the zip out of my stride. I ended up driving from one corner of the city to the other, and by the end, I was in that dazed, overstimulated state that comes from too much shopping.
On my way home, I started thinking about what I could do. I knew I was in no shape to run, but I figured I could walk. And if I could walk, I could hike. I had been wanting to explore the park where I ran my first trail run, so when I got home I grabbed my long pants, my bug spray and my dog, and off we went. I have lots of photos to share!
As I mentioned before, the starting trail at this park is pretty clear. However, it isn’t that long before it gets a little harder to find.
It was a feast for the eyes. In addition to the greenery, there was a fair amount of wildlife around: robins, cardinals, crows and woodpeckers. I saw toads, a couple of big butterflies, and some rabbits. The wildflowers were beautifully in bloom: Queen Anne Lace, Joe Pye Weed, Black Eyed Susans, Shasta Daisies, Yarrow, Chicory and more. Unfortunately, the black flies were also out. It turned out to be a very, very good thing I had some high-powered bug spray with me.
As you might expect, Hermes was in heaven. We walk every day, but I live in the heart of the city. Other than when we get up to the cabin, he doesn’t get out in the woods much. When we came to a small bench overlooking the river. I paused to take a couple of photos, but he just wanted to go, go, go!
There is something about being out in the woods with a dog. Even though I had a GPS/Camera/Phone in my back pocket, fancy-schmancy biodegradable poop bags and super bug spray, I felt connected to my ancestral past. There is something particularly special about following a hound dog in the woods…
Finally, the trail took us down to the river. Have I mentioned that it is a large river?
Looking in the other direction…
Hermes had no problem heading right in to get a drink and look for fish.
Somewhere right about here, the river reached up and grabbed my heart. I’ve lived fairly close to this river my whole life, but I can’t say I’ve ever thought about it much. Mostly, it is just another feature in my city that I drive by, or over. Lately though, I have been spending a lot more time beside it. I’ve now run in five different parks along this river. Each of the parks give a different portrait of her, but this one was different. As Hermes and I stood on the shore, I felt something in my heart give. It was akin to the feeling I have when I am at my cabin standing on my shoreline – my heart flooded with love.
This is the second time I have been overcome with emotion at this park. The first was on my first trail run, when suddenly I knew, this was one of the biggest reasons for learning to run at all – the joy of the trail run. Each of the parks where I run has a little nickname, but I can’t have 5 parks all called “River Park.” I’m naming this one “Flooded Heart Park,” in part for how it made me feel, and in part because all around me, I could see evidence of the flood from last spring. Evidence like this:
It’s funny how certain places can spark emotion.
There were more surprises in store. Hermes and I kept going. We stopped by the water several times, headed down some side trails and checked out some animal tracks beside a stream. Then the trail looped back and headed into a grassy walking area. At the end was a picnic spot with a fire pit.
There was a couple of tables, stacked wood, and a pit ready to go. Not far away was another observation point – this time a deck that hung out over the river. I preferred the wild places, but I like knowing this is here.
I’ve always been drawn to birds, in particular, herons, but all birds are special to me.* As Hermes and I prepared to leave, there on the trail near the parking lot, I spied a woodpecker feather.
I can’t wait to go back.
* Note: I love all birds except for seagulls and Canada Geese. Those birds are mean.