Saturday, November 06, 2010

long and winding

Sometimes, the thing to do is just to head out. And walk. For a long long time.

We did that today, Ed and I, and it was the good thing, the right thing to do.

We hiked one of the southern most portions of our state's Ice Age Trail. A six hour traipse (three hours one way and three hours on the return).


I suppose from the camera’s perspective, it was a very ordinary hike. The leaves are mostly down, the prairie flowers are spent, the colors are muted.


But in my mind, there isn’t much that you could improve upon today: the sky is brilliant, the air is nippy but still in a gentle way.

This segment of the trail eventually catches up to the southern tail of the Kettle Moraine and so there are the usual dips and climbs and the wonderful mixed vegetation along the way.



And a handful of lakes. Every good hike needs one lake. Or more.




We cross a few bucolic roads and pastures...



... and we seem to spook a few red breasted pheasants.

Mostly though, we hike in silence. We like it that way. And every now and then we stop: to rest, but really just to take note. If you're absolutely still, you see the small things. If you're moving, half your attention is on keeping upright, on not stumbling. (Predictably, I stumble more than Ed does.)


We encounter no more than a handful of other hikers. And we cross paths with these two – and their dogs (and horses, though you can't see them here).


Recreational pups? I ask. No – just pets. They like to come out with us when we ride. Yes, I can see that...

One more look, one more deep breath of fall...


Did I mention how terrific it is to crunch on acorns and rustle the brittle leaves on a path that you know continues for a long long while? One that, every few miles, offers you this -- a wooden bench, in a clearing -- a place to rest, sure, that. And to stretch, and to clear your mind.