Friday, September 9, 2016

An unintended hike

Over Labor Day weekend, after all the tennis was over and the cobbler had yet to be eaten, we decided to go for a family walk at one of my favorite trails - Two Rivers Park. During my half marathon training, I did most of my runs in the park, and I have missed it over the summer. The paved trail has loops of various lengths that make it perfect for running, bike riding, and taking a not-too-long family stroll. On Sunday, we set out to take one of the latter, with Malcolm riding his bike.

Before the hike, all smiles and no bug bites
Shortly after crossing the bridge onto the trail proper, we took a diversion down a dirt trail to see the river. Then, in a spirit of adventure we later rued, we decided to follow a dirt trail off into the woods, parallel to the paved trail. At first, it wasn't bad at all. Malcolm could ride his bike, the trail seemed clear and well-maintained, and it was fun to be in the woods.

The trail is straight through there - see it?
Then we hit the first of the downed trees. Malcolm climbed over, Benjamin carried the bike. Malcolm started riding again - he was having a fabulous time. Then we hit more downed trees, covered with vines, and I scared a couple of large black snakes (I don't know what they were, but I fervently hoped at the time that they were just king snakes or rat snakes, and not water moccasins). The mosquitoes, ticks, and fire ants made their presences known.

At least we can see the trail again!

And the trail just kept going. I thought I knew where it came out, and it seemed that we had been walking for a very long time - longer than I thought possible on that narrow spit of land. We weren't lost, not really - we always had the trail and could have turned around if the trail ended completely - but we had no idea how much longer we were going to be there, and we had a potluck to get to! Eventually, the trail widened out into a clear track, there were no more fallen trees, and we found a picnic table. This, we figured, had to mean we were close to the paved trail at last. We stopped to pick the burrs off our socks, then set off, renewed. Only to discover that we were on the horseback riding trail that crosses the park, and it wound around for quite a while. Well, OK, it wasn't that long, but we were all getting tired and hot and thirsty and I figured we had walked at least three miles by that point (we had water, but it was only supposed to be a mile hike).

Finally, we came to the spot where I thought we had to emerge - I was right, just a little off on the distance - and made it back to the paved path, and eventually back to the car. Malcolm was getting tired, but he never complained. The entire time we were bushwhacking, he kept saying "Nothing can stop the Riders!" and charging ahead. I was amazed at how well he handled the whole adventure - I certainly wouldn't have been that good about such a thing, considering how much I whined about walking on the boardwalk path when hiking!

It is too bad that the city has not kept that trail cleared, because it could be a very nice hiking/biking trail if they did. Just take some bug spray!

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