American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Surprise Hike

Wasn't expecting to hike today. It must be 35 degrees. Overcast. A slight breeze--enough to make the flags wave.

I was taking my wife's car into the shop for service when it finally gave up the ghost. I must have been about 5 miles out (maybe 3) but I was familiar with the area being so close to home. I decided to hoof it.

Just getting to the trail was an adventure. I had to descend an 8' concrete retaining wall and nearly did so accidentally while deciding where to climb down. That would have hurt.

After the adrenaline subsided (a little) I climbed down and made my way for the trail. It wasn't as close as I originally thought but it was easy to find thanks to the controlled burn going on over the past few days. The air was still filled with the smell of smoke and charred earth.

Time for a quick inventory. No compass and no map. That's okay, I know the area. I'm wearing blue jeans, my hiking boots, a wool shirt, and my favorite L.L. Bean Barn Coat--the one with the cuffs falling off and the mismatched buttons holding in the liner. I have a notepad and a pen. I have my metal match (Light My Fire Scout Model) and the sawzall striker Vinosaur made. My cell phone is in my pocket and will be used to take all the pictures. I also have my wallet, a SwissTool on my belt, a BRK&T Gameskeeper on my belt, and my stocking cap on my head.

That's a good selection of clothing and gear. I'm comfortable. Heck, I'm nice and warm despite the fact that I have no windproof clothing. This wool shirt is really keeping me nice and toasty. If I exert myself it may keep me TOO warm. It's chilly out too. Not so cold that I worry about frostbite but cold enough to freeze the puddles scattered on and off the trail.

Hmm...hurt my back a little when I tripped. Oh well, got to get moving if I'm going to make it home in time to get another cup of coffee before the machine shuts off.

Need to keep in mind also that the area is still full of coyotes. There are tracks and signs on the trail but none can be very fresh as the dirt is frozen and the tracks are deep. Last time it was warm enough to sink into the mud must have been three or four days ago.

It's good to see Spring is coming. The trees along the path are starting to bud. There are some old cattails off the trail and I head down to collect a few for tinder. Cattail fluff is an excellent tinder and will work very well with the metal match in my pocket should I need to get a fire started. It also works very well as an insulator and I could shove it down my shirt, in my boots, etc. if this wool shirt weren't keeping me a little too warm already.

Another mile and I was ready to cross the street into my neighborhood. I find it strange to make the transition from wood to neighborhood so quickly. I could probably go on and on about the problems of (sub)urban sprawl but that's not what this blog is about.

Down the street and into the garage and I'm home. The coffee maker is still on and a hot cup is ready at the push of a button. Aah...

Thanks for reading,



Post a Comment

<< Home