When Joy and I were out hiking on Wednesday, we came across this on one of the trails. Awwwww. What a nice thing. It's a wish, a prayer and a state of being all wrapped up in one word. It was unexpected. From the shine on the lettering, I'm pretty sure it's a new addition. Whenever I see what I think is a new addition I always wonder, "Was it always here and I just didn't see it before? Am I just that oblivious?" Short answer, yeah, sometimes. But this time, I honestly think it is new. I doubt that someone is running through the forest on a regular basis polishing up lettering.
Wednesday's hike was a good one. It was a long one too. We were gone for about five hours, in that time we walked just shy of six miles, which, if you take out time our for stopping for photographs, the drive to and from, a potty stop and having lunch in the Arby's parking lot on the way home it equals a fairly decent amount of exercise.
It was not, however, a great photography hike. And that is most likely primarily because of the temperature. I know that people who live in snowy places will be laughing at me now but we woke up to temps in the 30's. When Joy and I arrived at the preserve it was 42. In Florida that is not just cold, it's freakin' cold.
In Colorado 42 degrees on a sunny day meant you could shovel snow in your tee-shirt. It's the dry air y'see. Our air isn't dry. It's the opposite of dry. It's wet, very wet. And there was a breeze. And the breeze comes over the water and brings an extra special bit of chill to the air. It's crisp, it's bright and it's so dang cold. Which would probably be fine if a person was intelligent enough to dress for it. Joy was. I was not. I plead exhaustion as my excuse.
My arch nemesis insomnia has been in overdrive lately and the night before the hike was the pinnacle. Not one iota of sleep all night long. And that followed too many nights of not enough sleep. Sigh. It is what it is. I don't fret about it. Honestly I don't. I know that eventually I will sleep. And in the meantime, I am still functional and pleasant. Unfortunately, I am just not (at that point) very clever. The old brain wasn't working very well.
So when I got dressed in the early darkness before the hike, I put on what I always wear when we hike. Which is to say, my beat up denim shorts (which are rather long actually), Tim's Marine Corp tee-shirt which I purloined long ago, two pair of thick socks and my hiking boots. I vaguely remembered something about cooler temperatures anticipated and out of deference to that, I put on a old blue sweatshirt over top. The sweatshirt is about twenty years old. Maybe more. And It has been washed so many times that it has gotten thinner and less useful over the years. But my dad gave it to me so I absolutely cannot get rid of it.
Somehow in my mind that was a sufficient amount of clothing to wear.
I was wrong.
Here was Joy:
See, that's how you dress for a cold weather hike. Oh well.
Once we arrived at the preserve and I stepped out of my nice warm car, suddenly I was hit with that teeth chattering chill and I was immediately wide awake. Mercy! Joy said that she had a lightweight zip front jacket that I could put on if I wanted. First I declined. And then quickly changed my mind. Yes, Please, Yes! So I took off the sweatshirt and put on the zip jacket then popped the sweatshirt back on over top. Surely that was be enough, right? (Big No)
Here is a photo of me wearing the cobbled together "winter" outfit. It's not a flattering photo of me at all AT ALL, but in the spirit of truth and honesty, yup, this is me:
(I am not making a mental note to strike an agreement with Joy that from this moment forward we will never again take photos of each other from the back)
But anyway, I decided that once we started hiking and the day warmed up a bit I would be fine. And off we went. It was early, the ground was still wet and the greenery heavy with dew, and our feet became soaked very quickly. Cold, wet little tootsies. But we took good advantage of that beautiful early morning light:
In short order, not only were our feet cold but our hands were too. Icey cold fingers. When my fingers started to be numb I had to actually watch myself push the button on the camera to be sure I really had taken the intended photo because I couldn't feel myself do it. Crazy! So I began trading off, one hand in the pocket and one hand holding the camera. That helped.
We saw only one set of birds. Water birds across the river in the water. All I could think of was how cold their little feet must be.
We did see birdie foot prints in the sand along the river and that was kind of cool. In other areas we saw other critter prints but I didn't think to take photos of any of those. Ratz.
The water level was lower than usual so we saw that, apparently, the river has a sort of beach some times. Never saw that before. It was quite pretty. But I wouldn't advise sunbathing there. While we did not actually see an alligator, that river is a known gator hangout.
When we finished up both sides of that preserve (there is an east and a west side - two completely different sort of preserves) we moved on to another one great hiking spot that is nearby. And as we neared the entrance we saw this:
One deer, all by herself, braving the chill to have some breakfast. I took the photo quietly from the car and then we moved on equally silently so as not to disturb her. What a beauty. And honestly, this was the only critter we saw other than one rogue squirrel.
When we arrived at the second preserve, Joy gave me the other jacket she had hanging around in the back of her car. It was a winter coat and it was Bob's. She said, "wear this before you freeze to death". The "you idiot' was only implied because she is very kind. I didn't even argue. I immediately put it on. Now bear in mind here that I am 5'2". Bob is more like 6'4" or more. Hah! I didn't care one bit. As soon as the jacket went on I could feel my core begin to warm up. Ahhhhhh. Let's not worry about how ridiculous I looked. Judge for yourself
So on the one hand, it was great exercise with good company and it's always nice to be out in the fresh air. I'm sure the cold was good for me too. If nothing else, I was WIDE awake. Heh.
And while we didn't get a lot of photographs (most creatures were smarter than us and stayed snuggied down in the little homes where it was toasty warm), we got a few. Mostly botanicals.
Oh! And one other really cool thing! This was one of the preserves where, about a month ago, we found ourselves in a predicament which required us to get creative. We ended up having to build ourselves a frond bridge to get across a flooded area. Well on this hike, somehow we ended up on the same trail and sonuvagun, the frond bridge was still there AND still worked! Woohoo! We did good.
Thus ends the tale of the Frigid Hike. I will be much smarter next time and dress more appropriately to the weather. I might even have to dig out a pair of gloves. I know I have an old pair leftover from Colorado.........somewhere......
Have a great weekend!
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.