The last of the fog is lifting at Bryant Creek Lake.

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Solace 

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”

― Anne Frank

The Adventure Hiking Trail

Another item on my bucket list has been to hike the Adventure Hiking Trail in Corydon, Indiana. Of course, one of the reasons I want to do this is to prep myself for the fated thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. It served that purpose in spades. And trekking poles. Last weekend, I finished the first twenty-miler (plus) since I was a teenager. I was wiped for a couple of days. This weekend’s outing was sort of a last minute affair, since I wasn’t sure if I wanted to exert myself in back-to-back weekenders.

What am I talking about? Of course I did!

In addition to the benefits I get from hiking – breathing forest air and phytoncides, getting a workout, meeting all sorts of people who are mostly in a good mood, it also serves as penance! Woe to me if I pass up an opportunity for voluntary discomfort.

I will say this about the AHT. Depending on where you begin, it can be subtly deceptive. Many flat sections combined with gently rolling slopes lull you into a nice pedestrian (think level paved sidewalks) pace. Then come the rocks. Or maybe I should have said then come the sections of trail that are nothing but rocks. Big chunks, little chunks. Sharp chunks, round chunks. Uphill and downhill rock-chunk paths. Very good training for the AT.

This has been, thus far, my most favorite trail. Partly because there are shelters distributed along the Ohio River section of it, but also because of the scenery and that it is very clearly marked and easy to follow. Some online reviews from the usual trail websites state that it isn’t well marked. They are.

I’ve posted a YouTube video of scenery from along the trail for those who can’t get out to hike it themselves. It is only recommended that those in great physical shape attempt to thru-hike the AHT. And for good reason. It was a difficult, rewarding hike. Enjoy the vid.

Unexpected

img_0848We are rarely thrown one of these sixty degree February days, so when I got up this morning and put the coffee and oatmeal on and let the dogs out, I kept the back door open to enjoy the warm air while I drank my cuppa. The window was down as I drove to work, too. And I stopped at Bryant Creek Lake for a few minutes to do nothing else but stand there on the retaining wall while the sun began to warm the eastern horizon. The low gray clouds held a hint of rain with that delicious spring scent subtly building… I could have stood (or sat) there to watch the sun rise. I should have stayed and watched the sun rise. But training meeting demanded my presence. I am grateful for this unexpectedly warm morning. What did you do with this unexpected morning?

Swayed

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As I was walking around Sunday evening, I slipped through the fair grounds and into Blue River Memorial Park and got on the walking path that winds down to the river. It was in the 40s, and I was still recovering from the 21 mile hike the day before. Do you know that slightly tender yet “recharging” feeling you get after a good workout? Yeah, it was that. There was no one around, when I got to the overlook deck, I sat down on the wood planks and just sat there and watched and listened. To the water. To the wind and the birds calling back and forth. I watched the trees sway gently. Very peaceful. Hank and I took Casey (a.k.a. Dogzilla), his black lab, to the same spot last week.