Risk's Ultralight Hiking

The skills involved in setting up a light backpack serve well for both hiking and touring. Learning what is really necessary and then finding high quality gear that meets my honest needs leads to much less carried and more fun. I hope this journal is as much fun to read as it is to write.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Three Sisters

Mike, my saturday hiking partner , was busy helping his daughter move. So I had a morning to take a walk someplace different. It had been 5 or 6 years since I had last walked through Sugar Creek Reserve in Centerville, and the park appeared to be a good destination for a cool late winter walk.

The cool morning kept the path from being muddy, having gotten below freezing overnight. Other than a jogger who passed me twice, I had the park all to myself at 730 AM.

A half mile into the walk, near the creek, I heard and then saw 5 white-tail deer crossing the water. They splashed their way across and then quietly stood on the far shore, frozen in their non-moving and wondering if I might be a threat. With the interest I have recently had in hunting, the thought of deer hunting did come to mind, but as I was thinking about this, they turned and nearly silently ran away from me into the brush and into a dense tangle where I swiftly lost sight of their white flasing tails.

I continued on around the 3 mile trail and came across an ancient grouping of three white oaks. Long known as the Three Sisters, these trees have been growing since Columbus discovered North America for the White Europeans 500 years ago.

The middle sister had its last leaves in 2004, but the trunk has not yet begun to rot away, its structure still giving homes to many classes of forest dweller - from the bacteria that are slowly consuming the trunk to higher animals making nests and dwellings in the slowly rotting limbs.

As I came back up on top of the hill, a sign reminded me that the Ohio wilderness had not been an unbroken forest. Buffalo kept large sections of the flat areas grazed well and there were large prarie areas full of grass. The trails that led from one of these areas to another were kept open by the animals long before native americans used them as paths and whites later built roads on the same tracks.

Arriving back in the parking lot, which had been empty when I started walking at 715, there were now a dozen cars and trucks. Many more people were out enjoying the park. I had only seen two of them by the time I left. Maybe they started walking the circular trails in the same direction that I had come.

Life is this way. Sometimes we are not alone, but are traveling in the same direction as others. It is not until we come full circle that we see how many others are on the path.

It gave me food for thought.


Post a Comment

<< Home