Hiking in Stillness

This week,  I was pulled to the woods!  I needed to have my feet on the trail and enjoy the stillness of Mother Nature.  There is something so cleansing about being in the forest, among the trees.  Although I did not see a single, solitary critter, I knew they were there… hiding in their cozy Winter homes.

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Due to temperatures being in the upper 30’s, for a few days, just a dusting of snow remained on the trail.

I am thankful that just a few miles from our home is a beautiful 235 acre nature preserve, with many hiking trails and a beautiful 80 acre lake.  It gives me a quick fix, when I don’t have time for a day hiking trip.  Due to the wind and cold, I decided to take the trail around the lake.

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The lake is home to many beavers, that leave their mark on numerous large trees, throughout the year.
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The trail changes in elevation, half way around the lake, which makes for a nice view and booty work out!
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Numerous hidden trails lead to the water’s edge.
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There are two words that come to mind…
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Cold & Still
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Nothing but the wind’s song…

As I made my way along the trail, I still hopped for just a glimpse of a woodland bird.  Yet, not even the birds made a sound on this frozen day.

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I had completed three-quarters of the loop and was hoping to see some of the wild ducks, geese or even the pair of swans that call this beautiful place their home.  But, not today.  Everyone was toasty warm and out of sight.

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Now keep in mind, I have hiked this loop probably 100 times, yet I have never noticed what appeared to be a stone wall, about 50 feet from the trail’s edge.  Usually there are too many critters to photography, for me to notice anything else.  In the warmer months, this area would be beautifully camouflaged by plant life, from the forest floor.   Today, I could see stacked rocks through the bare trees. As I made my way closer, I noticed a stone foundation cut into the earth about 4 feet deep.  From the main trail, this would have just looked like surface rocks, stacked on the ground.  But, for some reason, today I was able to see this forgotten structure and had to explore it a bit closer!

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Being a curious bird, I came home and was determined to find out any information I could on this stone foundation.  Although there was very little information to be found, my imagination started churning!  The original owner of the land passed away in 1988, donating all of his property to the local park system.  He was known to be a very eclectic individual, who supposedly lived in his garage after his house burned down.  Could this be one of his old buildings?  The more I discovered, the more my imagination pondered!

The stories, shared by locals, also said that he buried his money on his land and would dig it up when property taxes were due.  He would sell holiday trees for $5 each and ran a small boat livery.  He would allow locals to use his land, but the only critters that were allowed to be hunted were mosquitoes.  He was also said to wash his face and hair in whiskey and had a great dislike for land developers and lawyers.

I have yet to discover the purpose of this little structures, but I will continue to ask questions and see what I can discover!

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I was coming around the last bend of my hike.  I never tire of this view!  I had one more little path, off the main trail, that I wanted to visit.  It leads to what I like to call the lizard tree…

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Do you see a lizard?
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The curved body, tail and right leg?

Once I passed the funny little lizard tree, I made my way out to the dock.  The wind was howling, which made taking photographs a bit of a challenge.  I did manage to see a few footprints on the ice.  Maybe a fox?  I was not going to cross the ice to take a closer look!

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It was a frigid and beautiful few hours in the woods!  I was thankful to have time with my thoughts.  I was filled with such gratitude for, even during the deepest of Winter, Mother Nature provides such beautiful gifts.

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…




Flicker Here, Flicker There…

Weekly Photo Challenge – Variations on a Theme

The Northern Flicker is one of my favorite visitors to our winter feeders.  This little friend is a member of the woodpecker family and is about 13 inches tall, with a wingspan of 20 inches.

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I love the little heart shape, on the back of his head.

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“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tunes without the words and never stops at all.  ~Emily Dickinson

Love yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…


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