No Mosquitos

We went hiking this morning, and it was quite lovely. 

Not Getting Dirty Drama Queen

When Trikelia walked out of her front door this morning, she had no idea what she was getting into. It was supposed to be a nice, average day of hiking through the swamp with her friends. img_8075

They loaded up their packs and trucked out the the trailhead, checked to make sure everyone brought their water, tied their shoes, and pulled up their gaiters. And then Chrissy started being a diva.

“I don’t know if I really want to go today, guys. I mean, it just rained yesterday, and there’s already water on the trail right here,” she whined.

Trikelia watched the five dollar bill change hands between Will and Chris and shook her head in disgust at their bet. To be fair, she did admit to herself that she would have joined in, had she known about it. She sighed. “Come on, Chrissy, you didn’t have to get in the car this morning. You already knew it rained, and you’ve been wet before, jeez.”

Chrissy narrowed her eyes. “But this time I have new shoes.”

“Just stay with the car then,” Will shrugged.

“Give me the keys and I will.” Chrissy crossed her arms in defiance, and she nearly missed the set of keys when Will tossed them to her. The other three turned their backs and started down the trail as Chrissy unlocked the back hatch and unloaded her pack.

They walked in silence for about twenty minutes before Chris started in on Chrissy. ” I can’t believe she pulled that crap today.”

Trikelia nodded. “I know. I don’t know why she even got up this morning if she was just going to cry about her shoes. For crying out loud, we hike in a swamp. I don’t know what she was expecting. And it’s not like she’s never been before.”

Will just shrugged again. “Whatever. She spent most of the day complaining anyway. No biggie. Just don’t tell her next time we plan something. Problem solved.”

“Yeah, I guess,” said Trikelia. She paused and held up an arm, signalling the boys to stop for the snake slithering across the trail in front of them. “But let’s not let her ruin our day. We’ll just have more fun without her. She can sit in the car and eat her organic hippie food all by herself.”

“Those weird rice cakes she brings are so gross!” Chris chimed in.

The three of them laughed together and started walking again, the snake far enough out of the way now.

Lost on a Wild Goose Chase

Stefan plodded on, his pack weighing heavy on his back. The mornings on the trail were the worst for him; the longer he walked, the better he felt, other than sore feet. By the end of the day, he was joyful as he set up his tent and cooked his final meal of the day. 

But today felt different. 

A strange sound woke him early, a strange sound that had yet to repeat itself. In that place between wakefulness and sleep, Stefan was unable to identify the sound, and it gnawed at the back of his mind. 

He came upon a footprint on the trail: a bare human footprint, pointing sideways, as though the owner of the foot had raced across the trail, rather than along it. Stefan stopped, and squatted to study the print. 

Fresh, because the dry dust hadn’t crumbled in on itself, or been blown away. Light, because it was quite shallow in the fine dirt. And odd–were those claw marks at the tips of the toes?

Stefan stood up and tried to peer into the woods where whoever had gone. He stared, and just as he was about to give up, a sudden movement. 

“Hello?” he called. 

No answer. 

He took that fateful step off the trail. Stefan knew better, truly he did, but he told himself that he wouldn’t go far, that he wouldn’t lose sight of the trail. 

In less than a minute, he broke that promise. 

Something metallic glinted in a stray shaft of sunlight, and Stefan bent to investigate. It was a key, a shiny gold skeleton key. He picked it up, as unable to resist its brightness as a crow. The key was smooth and warm, almost feeling liquid in his hand. 

He looked up and realized he had no idea where he was in relation to the trail, but the wonder of the golden key helped the briefest twinge of worry fade away into nothing. 

He began walking in the direction he was facing, neither knowing nor caring if it was toward the trail. 

Far behind him, and off to his left, his cell phone vibrated in the dirt of the trail, erasing the footprint as it danced along the ground. 

Today’s Adventure

Today we went hiking at Bodcau. I’d looked up a map of the trails last week-ish, and, while a tad squirrelly, they seemed easy enough. Catch a couple loops and head back, not too far since Abby was with us. Ian found a photo of the map since Safari kept crashing on AllTrails’ site (so no link to that).

We hit the post office, stopped at Arby’s for some sandwiches, signed in, and unloaded our lunch at the one picnic table at the trailhead parking area. After we cleaned up, we grabbed our water bottles and crossed the street where we laughed at the map on display–the red, orange, and yellow trails had all been sun bleached to a nice lemony yellow. Whoever had shared their photo of the map had obviously been here when it was new.

We lined up in our order, Ian, Abby, then me, and set off. The plan was to start at the left side of the orange trail, the spot nearest the arrow on the map, and make those first two loops before showing Abby the dam, playing at the park a bit, and going home to swim.


That map is old. Has to be. Highly inaccurate. And yes, the one posted is the same as this one. We got to a bench–a bench, one of three that we found on the orange trail, even though only one is marked–and sat down to see if we could puzzle out where the heck we were. Where the small loop should have been was the beginning of a much larger loop that appeared to be monopolized by bikers. We’d passed it up rather than up-and-down it with Abby. The second and third loops had never appeared.

We shrugged and kept going.

We came to a good sized hill around the middle of the map (maybe?) and discussed turning back versus keeping on. We kept on, and we saw a chair-shaped tree, a fungus, and a splash of feathers.



The next bench was just around a bend, so we kept on some more. And I pointed out that we’d come to the fence, so this map was crap. The trail headed away from the fence again, but never out of sight of it, and we finally came to the piles of gravel across the street from the office. What?!?

Another bench was near the road, so we took another break for discussion. Ian wanted to take the road back. Abby took his side. I said, ‘race ya! I’ll take the trail.’ I knew I could beat the two of them back even though I had twice as far to go. Ian wasn’t too comfortable with this idea, but he agreed because I was excited about it. Don’t let him tell you otherwise.

And so we parted ways, briefly.

Oh em geez I can make so much better time without a three-year-old. I knew I had them. On my way back I picked up Abby’s feather that she’d lost, along with her water bottle label that she’d peeled off and stealthily discarded. She’ll learn.

The quandary: should I cut off a dogleg or stick to the trail we’d taken out? I stuck, so as not to cause Ian undue concern. Not that he’d know until I got back, but for future reference.

I was seriously enjoying myself, confident that I had this race in the bag. Then I heard Abby piping from the road. I kept one eye on the trail and the other through the trees, trying to catch a glimpse of Ian’s red shirt or Abby’s pink one. No luck. I got closer and saw a red splotch a few feet from the red shininess of our truck.

They beat me by eight whole minutes! I don’t know how it happened. He even carried her for three quarters of a mile, and I walk fast by myself. Oh well.

Since we hiked over an hour more than expected, we just took a quick drive over the dam and back before checking out and going home to hop in the pool. Which turned out to be too cold for anyone four and up. But hey, my feet and Abby had a good time in the water.

20140507-003913.jpg Oh yeah, and we saw the aftermath of a landslide. Good times.

Red River National Wildlife Refuge

Who wants to see some pictures? These are some of my favorites from a morning at the wildlife refuge–but none of wildlife.