Friday, April 26, 2013

Well Eight Miles in the Rain is Certainly No Stroll Down Broadway...but Safer Maybe

 Today was the day for my annual hike in Dogwood Hollow. It sounds like a forested adventure, but out in Western Oklahoma, it's more of a clamber over rocks. This morning it was a clamber over wet rocks, but thankfully, the misty, moisty morning quit drizzling after a mile or two and we enjoyed perfect hiking weather. This picture was taken toward the beginning of the hike when the fog was palpable.
 These are my energetic sophomores. They are great kids, fun to be with and not a speck of any trouble...well not usually anyway.

These two had suffered basketball-related ankle injuries earlier this season, so I wasn't sure they could make the whole hike. We planned to stop and turn around if they got tired. Fortunately, one of them just got braces yesterday and was on pain medicine, so nothing hurt. The other one was we actually made it through the entire hike, even finished ahead of the other group.

 To be fair, I'll have to explain that they took a few stops to play in the water and catch crawdads and frolic, running up and down the hills.

 And of them ran into a cactus and the spines got him right through his tennis shoes. It took them a little time to clean those out.
 Unlike the last two years, there has been abundant water this year. Last week they got about six inches of rain. What a difference that made! There were little creeks and waterfalls everywhere. I had trouble recognizing the trail a few times and we had to climb up onto the mountain and scan the countryside for it.
 I had to take a picture of this little island. I don't know why. It just looked whimsical.
 And here is the old Civilian Conservation Corps Dam from the Depression Era. This time, though, it actually had water spilling over the side.
 Sometimes we actually...lots of times we climbed. Only once did we collapse to catch our breath after a particularly hard climb.
One of my charges had never hiked before. She's from California and has been raised mostly in cities. "So this is a hike," she murmured softly after stepping in the first mud puddle and slipping off the first creek rock. Thankfully, she was the one on pain meds. for her new braces. There she is, peeking out from behind Tori.
Tori used to ride with me every morning to school...back when she was a boisterous seventh-grader. Sometimes she took the pictures I didn't have time to stop for. Today, she took her own, because the weather was perfect and the colors bright.  The grass was green, the water blue-gray, and the rocks as red as Oklahoma dirt.
 I really liked the look of this cactus mound, next to the cedar brush with the spiky bare branches of a winter tree in the background.

It was really even more beautiful there. Wish you had all been along for the day.

 We climbed and clambered and kept our cameras in hand. We enjoyed the scenery, but had to watch our feet too--lots of little rocks---and lots of big rocks too, come to think of it.

 Here are some flowers I captured for my granddaughter Mim's collection.
 And this one was taken while looking down from a forty-foot overlook onto a little creek far below.

 There were lots and lots of clear creeks like these. If it had been warmer, we would have cooled our toes, but it was not too tempting today.
 Even the fish and crawdads seemed to be hiding, and the snakes and lizards were snug in dens.
No frogs. No turtles. That's quite unusual for this time of the year, but the unseasonal cool weather may be the explanation for that.
We saw a few wild turkeys in the distance, and one lone goose in the water, a few buffalo, two deer, crossing the road right in front of us, a few long-horned cattle in a pasture, and a multitude of prairie dogs.  If you look at this picture, you can see the turkeys, right about the center, in that little clearing.

We ended the day by going to the "Holy City" for a picnic lunch. It's an interesting site where a permanent backdrop for a yearly Easter pageant makes another great place to stroll around. I climbed up a hill for a final look and took these last shots for the day.

Until next year...and next...and as many years as I'm able...I'll hike the hike...but right now, I'm just going to rest my feet.

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