Not really a river, a shallow creek end to be exact. It’s only mid spring and the water was still uncomfortably cold. At the other side we take some down time to rest and watched small mouth bass chase a a group a minnows up and down the stream. Oddly enough, I found it relaxing to watch. Relaxing to watch predators hunting down smaller prey. That’s not too weird.
With dry feet, we lace up and explore the shoreline we were on. The location is perfect for finding Horn Corals. I already have a few but it’s always exciting to find more. Unfortunately I didn’t spot any but I also didn’t look as hard as I usually do, there were other things in the area that were catching my attention. Like the person I though I saw on the shoreline but now disappeared, or the possibility of finding other reptiles living under rocks. Instead, Leyna questioned a pool of stagnate water, trapped on the other side of a downed tree, wondering what sort of creatures may be living inside of it.My assumption was mosquito larvae which upon closer inspection turned out to be correct. Feeling the child in me rising, we sat down to dig a channel of water from the running creek into the pool of water as to flush out the existing mosquitoes. In the process we found a tiny little garter snake no larger than my finger in length and a salamander that succeeded in evading my grasp.
Moving forward, we move uphill to what I thought was the College Loop all this time. The area was indeed a Miami trail that ran along 4 Mile Creek. The entire area was covered in wild ginger and features an area that seems to be a dump for old, unused, concrete water pipes. I can only imagine what was inside the small concrete mountain tangled in young trees and weeds. The fascinating scenery was unfortunately interrupted by a horrid smell. Down the trail gave reason to the concrete jungle and the smell. The water treatment plant connects directly to this trail. Knowing the end of the trail was just up the hill we resume course up the final hill. It was a narrow, steep, and twisted uphill climb. Roots acted as the stairs and the stairs that were made years ago were planks of woods falling with the eroded ground. The end of the trail abruptly end into a wide open cul de sac. On one end, the water treatment plant, the other, a small neighborhood. I take a look at my phone to see where we are and how far we have gone. To my surprise, we weren’t even at the college loop. As stated earlier, I though the previous path we just ventured out of was the loop but it actually lie dead ahead of us. We climb to the top of a hill to get a better view of the area and spot a person already on the trail. The leaves on the trees were only just budding so seeing into the woods presented no obstacle.
Scanning behind us, I notice an area that looks like a trail entrance. It reveals itself to be a side entrance to the actual College Loop Trail. We were both tired at this point but this trail was the reason for the walk. We head down the steep path for our first time and take note of our surroundings. Most of it looks just like any other part of Oxford’s woods except for the unfamiliar terrain. A crazy narrow set of stairs and water carved stone presented itself to be a bit tiring to climb. At the top we spotted a very large woodpecker. A Pileated Woodpecker to be exact. It was about the size of a large crow and are slightly rare in our area. We slowly started creeping towards it to see how close we could get. At about 50 feet from the bird, the man we spotted from the hill closed in from the opposite direction. He spots us slowly tiptoeing and confusingly stops in his tracks to observe us. We point towards our target but the woodpecker spots the stranger and takes off. We exchange a short conversation to let him know what we were up to. Seemingly amused, he goes on to inform us of his own sightings and we part ways. The rest of our walk filled with small talk, verbal notes of our own observations, and plans of dinner. We were at Jungle Jim’s the other day and had rabbit thawing in the fridge. I’ve never had rabbit before. We step out on the other end of the trail into the Level 27 student housing complex. Reminds me of the place I lived in Mason, OH. Curious about the new Anex houses being build across the way, I snap a quick picture of the colorful housing complex and we turn around to walk back home. Our return home was relatively quiet. Most everything was said and noted along the way with the exception of the weird “ghost joggers” I swore I saw running on a trail parallel to ours that apparently didn’t even exist in the first place.
Home now and very tired. Dale steps out of his room to greet us. You will meet Dale soon, he’s the reason/ idea for this site. But as of this post, I don’t think he knows of it’s existence yet. It’s a surprise.