Yesterday afternoon, I couldn’t stand being indoors anymore and decided to go for a walk on the local Rails to Trails again. The weather was cold, but sunny, a weather anomaly I have always enjoyed. It’s thrilling feeling the sun on my face, but the cold in my bones. Of course, if you add wind, I wouldn’t enjoy it nearly as much. But luckily yesterday, the weather was perfect.
The last time, I tried just walking the trail, I ended up running the trail and did not try any of those side trails that I have always intended on exploring. This time, I vowed not to let the music convince me to go any faster than a leisurely stroll. Before heading down tot he trail I went walking through a local housing development and I found a horse stable! I had no idea that it was there and discovered an awesome old cabin.
Once on the trail, I had the music cranked up and began looking for unmarked trails through the woods. I found one soon and climbed a very steep hill into the trees ready to explore the scenery. Almost immediately, I turned off the music. It was this instantaneous need that compelled me to walk in the quiet. It was as though music was fine when walking a less scenic gravel road, but the woods demanded my undivided attention.
The trees were literally creaking in the wind. It was the most wonderful sound. Many times I stopped just to listen to the trunks sway in the breeze, and occasionally emit a crack amid the silence. The woods were right–the music would have ruined the experience and I would have missed the songs of nature.
Today I felt compelled to go outside. I needed fresh air, I needed to hike. It was an insistent urge. I have been feeling out of sorts, sad, restless, unsatisfied. It could be any number of things, but I knew staying inside was a bad idea. And so I turned to the woods.
I didn’t want to drive 45-60 minutes to a state park, I just wanted to step outside my door. So I decided to walk along the rails to trails near my home. And I couldn’t wait either. I went early in the morning, when it was still quite cold. I could have waited maybe an hour or two to get some sunlight and warmth, but I couldn’t. Not one more second could be wasted inside. I needed to move.
Up until now, I’ve left the music at home, but this time around I brought my iPod to drown out some of the construction and car noises that I usually hear along parts of the trail. And I quickly figured out that there is a reason why an iPod is not the best companion when hiking through nature. For the first few miles, I was fine. I listened to a stream of sad melancholy songs that seemed to echo my mood. But as the shuffle continued, songs started to play that I wanted to move to. It became increasingly difficult to stroll. So I ran. Which was surprising to me, because I hate running. But today, I guess I needed it. I ran.
Earlier this afternoon, as I was sitting on my couch, I looked out the window and wondered, why am I not outside right now? It was beautiful and warmer then usual for an October day. But, I just didn’t feel like walking. I had no motivation to drive to a park and trek through the trees. Odd yes, but it happens. As the day progressed, I decided to at least open the windows to enjoy the fresh air. This led to me walking out on the porch and deciding to put away my outdoor things before it got cold–this included my bicycle. I hadn’t rode it in quite a while, and it was taking a beating from the fall weather. I’m a leisure rider–hybrid bike only good for about 20 miles on a gravel trail, so the idea that I would use it in the winter–silly. It was time to retire it downstairs.
I live in an apartment building with a storage unit. Imagine my surprise when the short walk from my porch to the storage unit turned into a six mile, 45 minute ride on the local rails to trails! It all started when I got on it just to test out the tires, but I kept finding my legs pedaling towards the trail head close to my home. Since this was a complete surprise, I was definitely not wearing the proper clothing nor did I bring any water, and I had to carry my camera and keys in my hand. But that didn’t stop the exhilaration I felt coasting down the big hill at 30 mph and entering the trail surround by fall trees. The chilly wind gave me goosebumps on my bare arms, and my throat became parched from the cold, but it was worth it. It was a short ride, by most cyclist standards, and I had a great time trying to snap shots of the scenery without getting off my bike, waving hello to all the dog walkers and runners, and experiencing that satisfaction and contentment that only the great outdoors can bring me.
This was of course, until I realized I had to ride back up that hill……
Groundhog sightings: 1
Stops made while climbing up the hill: 2