Take a Walk, Take a Hike

Hubby and I try to take a walk or couple mile hike each day. Daughter has been taking her kiddos on a hike once a week when weather permits and though today is chilly and thickly overcast, we had discussed going on a hike to Bear Cliffs. We met up after lunch at Mountain Lake Resort, the four of us masked and I brought 4 blaze orange vests, one for daughter, one for me, and one each for the two kiddos. Her kids are 9 and almost 14 and they were great hikers with some biology lessons on lichens, some trail safety reminders, blaze reading exercises, and a good time.

Last Thanksgiving I did the same hike with Son 1, his wife, and grandson 1. Then masks weren’t a necessary accessory.

This year, masks were required, which meant that glasses couldn’t easily be worn with hat and mask. This resulted in me being the only casualty when I slipped on on a rock and face planted on the trail. I ended up with a bit of a lump on my forehead, but otherwise unhurt, we continued on.

Lots of care taken due to fog and slippery rocks, but a great hike. They were kind the the senior and gave me necessary breathing breaks as we were gaining elevation, but they seemed willing to take a water and breathing break too. This may have to become an annual tradition.

Oops, Summer is back

Our cool days and chilly nights disappeared to upper 70’s days and warmer nights. It gives the garden a bit more time, and has provided some delightful days for walks on trails and the woods. I won’t walk our woods now because it is deer hunting season, but the Mountain Lake Conservancy is safe from hunting and has some delightful walks and hiking trails, only 4 miles and 2000 feet of elevation from us.

The roof through the trees, across the lake is Mountain Lake Lodge, aka Kellerman’s from Dirty Dancing fame. When we bought our property, we stayed here for a few nights with Son 1 and his family and the lake was full. It subsequently went dry and has partially refilled. We have spent two New Year’s Eves there enjoying a lovely dinner, big party with favors and champagne toast, room for the night, and breakfast the next morning.

This was another day, the cut through the mountain for the old Huckleberry rail line looking back at the walking bridge next to where the old rail bridge was. No matter the heat outside, this cut is always delightfully cool.

This weekend is an event at Wilderness Road Regional Museum, the Spirit Trail with horse drawn wagon and “spirits” of the region interacting with the riders. Because of the pandemic, the number of riders will be limited, reservations and masks required. For the past two years, I have portrayed an older, slightly crazy version of Mary Draper Ingalls. According to historical accounts, after her the capture, and that of her sister in law, and several children including hers, the deaths of so many of her relatives and friends in their community, her escape and walk back from what is now Ohio to our region, she was probably very fearful of Native Americans and of the dark. Because I am up on the porch of the house/store, and since the wagons only come by every 30 minutes. I am going to dress in my living history costume and participate this weekend. I have missed my living history and though I usually go inside and demonstrate spinning between tours, I will remain on the porch, masked when not “acting.” I love that this event can be done safely and give me the opportunity to participate and support the museum.

It survived

After dinner last night, we got a walk in just before it got dark. It was getting quite chilly by the time we returned to the car. Instead of the nearly road wide path to the pond that we usually take, we went the opposite direction down a winding path used for bicycles and horses. Much narrower, more contour, and I feel, a nicer walk through the woods. We only encountered two mountain bikers headed back up to the parking lot until we got to the pond where there were too many unmasked people as we did a single loop and back up the wider path to the car, so a huge loop instead of in and out the same path. The pond had dozens of geese and a few ducks. The geese must be the ones that overwinter in the pond because they don’t even move off the path when you walk by them, so they are used to people. I guess we will see them regularly through the winter walks.

We ended our walk with a stop at the local village store for ice cream. There is one employee who refuses to wear a mask, an older man. His paper mask, probably the same one every day is under his chin, never, ever on. Last night he got a call requesting if they had an item and he came out from behind their plastic shower curtain shield, still unmasked, got right in my face, made a joking comment, laughed and walked on to check for the item. This morning, on our way to the Farmer’s Market pickup, we stopped there for a newspaper and the proprietor, his young employee, and the sole customer were all unmasked. This is after a week where our tiny county has had a surge of about 15 cases and 2 more hospitalizations. I know we live in a Trump dominated county, but if he would be honest about the virus and support mask wearing, I would feel safer.

When we got up this morning, the hunters were here, so the pups had to be let out on leashes, the grass was crystalline and crunchy, the indoor/outdoor thermometer showed it was cold.

As happens, the temperature dropped one more degree before it started warming up. The trip to the Farmer’s Market required window scraping.

When we returned home with our week’s supply of veggies, butter, cheese, and a bit of meat and it had warmed to comfortable in a light jacket, I checked on the garden. Everything I covered survived nicely, except the branch I apparently broke off of the big Serrano pepper. Even the uncovered bush beans don’t seem to have been badly burned and it didn’t bother the marigolds. They will remain covered until it warms tomorrow, then I will put the covers away and let nature take it’s course. It is supposed to warm back up for about 10 days, then the peppers will be done. I may continue to cover the ground cherries and peas at night when the night temps stay in the upper 30’s and see if they produce enough to harvest. After checking on it, the walled garden was in need of light weeding, there are deer tracks through out the garden and several plants have been nibbled to the ground. This garden is right up against the house and deck. I need to get a solar motion sensor light to keep them out if I plan to use it for herbs, dye garden, and flowers.

Being a gorgeous day, and living in a heavenly part of the state, we ventured a few thousand feet elevation farther up the mountain and took a walk in the woods. It was peaceful, serene, and unpopulated.

More photos from the day on my Instagram account.