I find myself longing for hikes and camping these days. Most everyone else not in the humid south is out enjoying hikes and adventures and here we are sweltering in Texas, hibernating indoors during the afternoons. This is fine, I enjoy letting Forest play upstairs for awhile as I read a book or do some chores. I peer outside the windows at the garden or pond, often falling into a daydream. It looks enticing to get out there but the heat has a way of making us cranky. I’ve actually been enjoying getting a run in at lunch twice a week with the searing sun beating down—the only thing I keep forgetting that would make it more enjoyable would be to get my hat off the rack when I leave the house and maybe slather some sunscreen on my arms. *Duly noted.*
Over the 4th of July weekend we were at Chris’ mom’s east Texas house for a few days. It was last 4th of July that I had taken Forest for a mid-day walk in the stroller to get out of the house for a bit. He wasn’t quite two yet and playing outside with some self direction wasn’t on the table at that stage so off we went for some diversion and sanity. I ended up finding a little trail to explore at a later date and made a mental note to go when I could. It only took a year to get back there but I finally got to explore the trail.
Chris, his mom, and Forest went fishing one evening after it had cooled down a little and I took the time to explore the trail. I knew it wasn’t long but my goal wasn’t to put in some miles but really to just go see what I could find, enjoy the evening, and get some peace and quiet for myself.
I found it.
The trail was wide at first, following a slight slope down a cleared powerline before turning towards the bottomlands adjacent to a creek. Ferns stretched wide across one section and I was immediately enticed to stop and search for tiny bits of delight. Plants were labeled in some areas but I didn’t have a field guide for some of the ferns so I wasn’t sure if the labels were accurate.
Only wearing tennis shoes, I didn’t linger in the fern areas long as I didn’t want to get my shoes wet. Moving down the creek I saw the sun was lowering on the horizon, rays of sunbeams reaching through the forest canopy. The creek bed was made of red clay and the sunlight made it look more spectacular than it might have been during the middle of the day. The nearness of a populace and access to the road meant there were pieces of trash here and there.
If I’d had boots I would have climbed down into the creek bed and begun walking up the creek but I kept to the banks and went looking for plants and interesting tidbits beyond where the trail dead-ended. I wasn’t disappointed. Getting off the beaten path is delightful and I haven’t done it enough in recent years.
I tinkered around for awhile and then got the feeling I needed to check in with the other three. Sure enough Forest was being very toddler-y and needed a little mom time. I attempted to get him to come back to the trail with me, which he was interested in at first, but quickly became even more challenging and wanted to be in the company of all of us. Bedtime was calling and things were going downhill fast with toddler behavior. No extra trail time to poke about a little bit longer, though I know he would have liked going if he’d been up for it.
It wasn’t much but sometimes you take what you can get and hold onto it until the next time.