Saturday was another of the Adventure Hikes led by Metroparks Executive Director John O’Meara. These have been a series of monthly hikes down at Clear Creek in the Hocking Hills area. We usually cover around 12 miles in 5 hours or so (including a stop for lunch).
As usual, John managed to pick a day with gorgeous weather, and he did so months in advance . . .
Here we are near the start, heading along the Hemlock trail just before it heads up a ridge. There are a lot of dead and fallen trees around due to the derecho that came through the area last summer.
Guess why they call it the Hemlock Trail.
The temperatures started out just a tad above freezing, so it took a while for the CIVD to kick in. But it did, and while the barefoot hiking was a bit chilly at first, my feet acclimated as usual.
Our first rest and re-accumulation stop was where the Hemlock and Fern Trails met. Here John is introducing the park to some of our first-timers. One of the highlights of Clear Creek is that it is the largest designated Nature Preserve in the state of Ohio.
And then we took off again.
I’m farther back than I look—that’s what a zoom lens will do for you. I’d already started lagging at this point, since I’d really not managed to do much hiking since the last Adventure Hike. (If you check back at my blogging, it was one, last Tuesday.) The weather’s been just cool enough, and snowy enough, that I just haven’t done much.
And it really showed. I was badly out of condition, particularly for the hills (that first one was a doozy, about 450 feet in elevation change).
The funny thing was, it was mainly my legs, and just getting more tired more quickly.
The soles of my feet were just fine. But then, muscle tone is something different than built-up callus. The callus stays there until rubbed off, and the only thing doing that was 2 hours of tennis every week. But muscle tone is lost much more easily, and I was feeling it.
We stopped for lunch as usual at the Barnebey Hambleton picnic area, where we found a dead bat lying under one of the picnic tables.
The feet were so delicately intricate.
There is also a bird feeder there.
I normally wouldn’t show this picture. I hadn’t brought my telephoto and I couldn’t get that close of a picture. But I always like the pictures where I accidentally get a shot with the bird in mid-flap in mid-take-off (on the right).
My son was with me. He has a Marine Reserve weekend coming up, and its always good to keep in condition. Here he is, along with Park Volunteer Ron, heading up the last steep incline of the Chestnut Trail
And here are the two of us together.
He was traveling light—there were just 45 pounds in his pack.
As usual, it was another great hike. The next one is scheduled for April 13.