Mud Run

It wasn’t until I got home after my hike to Bachelor pond that I realized I didn’t have anything to talk about. Probably because I forgot to take a pen with my note pad. No matter. Everyday has something worth noting. I gave up my morning for my day off by helping out at work. The student move out rush continues to batter services and my work place, despite being new to the area, is no exception. It was while I was at work that I learned of a failed Greek restaurant that went into debt while furnishing their building. It’s a shame, Oxford’s eateries are either Mexican, Asian, or American in variety. That honestly describes most of southern Ohio come to think of it. A true Greek sit down restaurant would have been refreshing. But if the owners were over come by simply attempting to stand up, how could they have expected to even walk?

After work, I headed back home to have lunch and grabbed a few items for my hike to the pond. IMG_20170511_133757Outside is humid and warm with a slight drizzle of rain. I expected it to be alot more wet but it seems the worst of it came over night while I was asleep. I took my bike through the campus out towards the trail head, taking care not to run over any of the oblivious students and parents loading their cars and rental trucks, and down the long hill past the horse stables to the head of the trail. This is trail is actually the same walked from the Covered Bridge post but what’s interesting about this particular one is that it splits into 3 or 4 different areas. One of which was the previous header image.

The beginning of the trail is padded down as it’s just off a historical site and a great fishing spot, so I am able to take my bike down the main part of the trail. The recent rainfall further ate away  the eroding ground next to the Harkers Run creek since the last time we were here. Miami maintains these nature trails so I hope they build a bridge a new path around the crumbling piece of trail soon.

IMG_20170511_134422I stop at the stepping stone crossing with my bike. It’s usually where I top while heading up to the pond. Though the bridge further down is faster, I enjoy the look of this path a bit more. It features a much more diverse look of the forest  even though most of it looks the same to me anyways. I lock my bike to the nearest tree that I could fit the lock around and double check my items. I always bring a hatchet, fishing line, and hooks. If I ever feel like it, I just fashion myself a makeshift fishing pole with a stick to see what I can stumble upon. The hatchet makes for a good tool just to have. Plus I can help clear away the aggressively invasive honey suckle all around our area.

I hop across the stepping stones in the creek, swollen from the several days of rain we’ve had. Early like spring weather is lingering alot longer than usual here. The summer 80-90F temperatures with bi weekly rain normally sink in by this point in the year but the last few weeks have still been 50-70F in the day and 40s at night with almost daily rain. So the trail was expectantly muddy. It was part of the reason I went out. I wanted a bit of a mud run.

On the other side, you are met with 2 directions. IMG_20170511_134752One way was a deer trail that led directly up the hill, and the other is the main trail. I was going to go the deer trail until not only 20 feet in was a deer’s skeleton. Though they have obviously been there for quite a while and I was in no immediate danger, it was still slightly off putting. Instead I went the normal path along the creek side then up the steep hill. While walking through, I was reminded of a recent comment about my area. Since i’ve lived in the North Eastern/ North Central area of America all my life (i’ve moved states several times), the forests and what they offer have all blended together. I’ve never thought much about my surroundings and that thick forests with trees as tall as a 6 story building in every direction would be abnormal to some people.

IMG_20170511_142859As I walked through, I took note of the Mayapples around the area and the progress their fruit were making. Mayapples are a plant native to my area. They look more like odd ferns or weeds that grow just over 1ft tall, but on the under side of the female plants, a single flower will bloom then turn into a tiny fruit similar to a plum. The taste is unique but is similar to a pear and eating too many (3 or more) could result in a stomach ache. But it’s worth it to have at least one or two each year. I  say each year because as soon as they bear fruit, the deer will eat almost all of them them within a few days. Further through the trail gave way to a large open patch of forest filled with some type of Fir Pine trees. Story is that about 90 years ago some Christmas tree farm was abandoned or shut down leaving several random patches of dwarf pine trees to survive on their own in a few spots on the outside of town. Most of them are in the middle of the now nature trails. It’s a bit strange to be walking through a dense deciduous forest to be met with a sudden patch of open space and short pine trees.

After a bit more mud and temporary streams running over the well beaten path from the rain, I walk over one last hill and come to Bachelor Pond. IMG_20170511_150414A small resivoir at the top of this patch of woods. While the area is calm now, in a few week the newly hatched toads will emerge from the pond by the hundreds. Last year, while I was in the area, the ground was moving with them. I could easily swipe my hand across the ground and come up with about 15 in my hand. In the winter, the same area become a musical tripwire when you reach the area just as the top of the water freezes over. Skipping rocks across the top makes a sound similar to a long piece of wire being struck across the ground. Like a sharp whirring and twang with a shrill echo behind it.  After a lap around the waters edge and scaring the bull frogs resting along the shore so that they cried out and plopped into the water, I took the same path back, this time even quieter as my thoughts have run out, and back to my parked bike across the creek with the stepping stones. Then home



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