I planned last week to take my pups on a hike today. Originally, I planned to drive an hour to Crowder’s Mountain with a friend to see the view from the top. My friend’s plans changed, so I decided to drive 15 minutes, instead, to my fave nearby park for a light hike and nice morning outdoors.
The dogs love the park! They see me grabbing my red Columbia backpack and start packing water, towels, treats, and leashes, and they know what’s happening. Once I say, “Car ride to the park for a run outside,” it’s all over. All their favorite trigger words in one sentence. I need to work “peanut butter” in there somehow, and they would just spontaneously combust. In a good way, of course.
After checking the weather this morning, I knew the temp would get up to 60 degrees at some point while we were out. Since the recent snowstorm came and left, I’ve had major Spring fever, and was happy that the sun was peaking through the clouds, and it was warm enough for just my light Lulu jacket and comfy Zhoba yoga/workout pants. No layers of long sleeves and gloves required! After only 3 days of constant snow this month (more than I’ve ever experienced), I’m convinced I would not survive up North during the winter for months on end. I’m just not built for it.
I digress…. it was a brisk morning, perfect for some cardio and uphill hiking. I do feel safer hiking with the dogs — they’re very protective of me and attuned to the slightest sounds out in the woods. We started with the easy loop around a couple of big ponds, and passed several couples with dogs, and a few runners.
After the easy loop, the dogs were in their groove (and had smelled enough trees to approve of the place), so we ventured to the nature preserve on the other side of the pond. The nature preserve has several trails (ranging from beginner to advanced/short and easy to long and strenuous). We chose an intermediate trail, where the main trail branches off, and paused for a cute photo op on some random stairs up a steep hill toward the start of the trail.
I glanced at my Garmin, and saw that I’d trekked a little over half a mile deep into the woods. I realized we hadn’t passed or seen anyone, and started to feel a little weary about moving further away from the more populated side of the park, near the pond.
My mind wandered to last week’s episode of “The Walking Dead” (which I just watched on my DVR last night), and all of a sudden I felt uneasy in the woods, all by myself, about a mile away from the last human I saw. Shocking as it may seem, I didn’t bring along any knives or a badass sword like Michonne carries around. So we bravely turned back, followed our tracks to the other side of the pond, and actually stumbled upon a new trail that I never knew was there. There were lots of people on the new, wider trail, and I felt much more comfortable. You know, in case a herd of zombies were to pop up out of nowhere and attack me.
Thanks to an early start (and a sugar free Red Bull), we got a good 5 miles in this morning, and I enjoyed a light turkey/avocado/tomato sammy by the pond once we were done with our hike. The girls feasted on ice water and some treats I stashed in my backpack. It was a nice outing, but probably could have been more physically challenging if I hadn’t gotten so maturely weirded out by the eerily quiet woods and threat of an impending walker attack.