Getting in a Walk


As Wilma and I prepare for a trip to Europe this summer, we have to get into walking shape.  I have begun in a good way.


Here in our town, we have an arboretum that offers a good chunk of trails to enjoy.  Today I walked three and a quarter miles, toting my camera along with me just in case anything interesting shows up.


And as I walked, I recalled the many times I hiked along similar trails near my hometown, usually walking the trails for some hunting – rabbits and partridge, mostly.  The conditions were similar – unpaved trails, wide enough for 3 or 4 people to walk side by side, grown over to some degree, occasional patches of sand showing through, and a few lingering puddles from the melting snow.  I picked up a great deal of familiarity with that kind of forest environs.


The Arboratum offers a network of trails over a good chunk of distance.  Even with today’s longer walk, I could have gone further than I had; probably another mile further north at least.  Trails are named after the Ojibway tribe, acorns, pioneers – and more.  The area is not as hilly as other trails in the county, but there’s plenty of up and down hill parts to make it interesting.


Today as I started away from the car, a pileated woodpecker flew from the north, landing nearly silently, high in a tree near me.  He caught my eye with his bobbing flying pattern so typical to woodpeckers – he sat at the top for a while as I took a picture or two and then flew back the way he came.   As I walked further, I could hear him squawking as he disappeared further into the arboretum.


I wove my way through the trails – I’m still learning the names and where they connect with each other – the first mile was still pretty much within the lighted trails, which are flatter.  As I got further north, the trail rolled up and down more than it had in that first mile.


I was surrounded by trees on all sides – pines, birches; the ground was covered with a good deal of trees that had fallen over the years.  The ground was covered with fallen leaves, moss – your usual forest floor cover and underbrush.


As well as the rolling, the arboretum also has some wetlands to walk by.  At this early time of spring, nothing is growing yet, but I could see that there will be ferns and reeds in the wetlands to go along with all those trees.  Further north into the trails, there is also a red pine tree farm of sorts – I haven’t learned the details yet, but there I was, among some tall pines, straight as soldiers hoisting their branches into positionSONY DSC.


As I looped around and headed south back through the arboretum, I came across a pair of nuthatches high in a tree, chirping back and forth about the day’s activities.  Further on yet, a pair of white tail deer scampered away from me – I couldn’t get a picture of them through the brush, but there they were.  I share here a pic from a previous visit when I did actually see the deer there, when they seemed to be posing for me.


And finally, to end my day, I exited the woods and into a more open area – and there, seen for the first time since last fall, were robins.  Not just one or two, but an easy 2 or 3 dozen.  They hopped on the ground as they do – sat on tree branches, flew around.  My first real sighting of any birds of the freshly arriving spring.  I considered it a nice way to end my walk for the day.


I have a feeling you’ll be hearing more about my walking as time passes.   This was worth it.