Okay, so where was I? Oh yes, here:
The “boardwalk”. Yes, there are boards. Well, mostly there are boards. I see gaps ahead.
I’ll be honest, I thought about turning back. There would have been no shame in that, and thanks to the hills, I still would have ended up with a decent little hike-let. But then I remembered that not an hour before, I had rescued myself from the bowels of the forest (thanks for nothing, Susan), and I decided to just try it to see what would happen. The worst would be that I’d get soggy sneakers, right? So I thought “lite” thoughts and moved forward.
As I stepped onto each section of “boardwalk”, I paused for a little “stability hop” before continuing. Other than a bit of dip, everything seemed to be fairly stable. I felt secure enough to take a look around. Big mistake:
OMG, is that an alligator?! Um, no, it’s a log, but I did set a personal record for the 20 yard dash so it served a useful purpose.
The “boardwalk” meandered on for a bit. Most of it wasn’t so bad, but then there were the other segments:
Sections like this one required some creativity, a minor dose of bravery, and a whole lot of balance. To cross this section, I had to jump to the lone high-and-dry spot on the left and then jump again to the right to reach the “boardwalk” again. This worried me because it allowed for no stability test of that section. Also, the obvious choice seemed to be to left foot on the dry spot and then right foot on the bridge, and my left leg is weaker than my right. I also worried about the forward momentum thing. (And because I was in a worrying mood, I spent some time fretting over the high cost of gasoline, the instability in the middle East, and whether or not the hike was going to offset the taco pizza I’d had the night before.)
With all that worry out of my system, I mentally walked/jumped through the process, then “engaged my core” (anti-forward momentum strategy), and jumped.
The landing? Dead.Solid.Perfect. If I hadn’t been worried that another hiker (or Bigfoot) was around, I’d have thrown my arms up in one of those gymnastic-centric dismount Vs. So I kind of did that in my mind and moved on. I had no idea what time it was or where I was on the trail, and I was just beginning to feel the urge to pee. (Exercise does that to me.)
I observed this healthy tree along the trail:
The woods are alive with yoga! I was cool with that as long as none of them started to zumba.
Back on terra firma, I discovered that the “boardwalk” wasn’t the only place with water hazards:
This one was particularly difficult in that the only dry spots were on top of the logs. Oh dear.
I’ll bet even Mary Lou Retton never took a photo from the top of the balance beam before. Hah! Score one for Cammy! Once I was up on the log and saw that it was braced with a stone underneath it, I felt more confident. It also helped that from there, I could also see a bit of another rock that I might use to leap-leap to finish the crossing.
And the view from the other side:
I’m getting pretty good at this stuff! The trick seems to be observe the situation, develop a plan A, visualize it, develop a plan B, visualize that, and then GO. Kind of like life.
I was happy to veer away from the lake for a bit. The only downside was the veering brought more hills. And this:
Still feeling positive after the last puddle jump, I didn’t even have to think much on this one. I could have walked around it, but even this girl knows that if you go tramping through piles of dead leaves in the forest, it’s entirely possible you’ll make a discovery you don’t want. Personally, I have experienced both a snake reveal AND an underground yellow jacket nest (with 23 stings as a result), and I didn’t want to risk anything even close to that. Plus, I wanted to beat the obstacle View from the top:
I was a little shaky on balance, but you can see a sliver of lake underneath my finger.
And then finally–FINALLY–I was in the homestretch. I had enjoyed the
obstacle course trail hike, but I beginning to be desperate for the “toilet facilities” described in the brochure (but not desperate enough for any woods-peeing. Yet.) There had been an outhouse-type building at the beginning of the trail, but their use of the plural had led me to believe there were multiple toilet facilities available. Silly me.
Crossing the levee was almost as treacherous as some of the other trail hazards, thanks to the large geese population that doesn’t mind peeing or anything else outdoors. (And thank goodness for that, because there would have been a long line at the one outhouse and I wasn’t in any condition to wait.) It was like a minefield out there.
These geese were the only up-close-and-personal encounters I had with any wildlife, and that was short-lived as they flew away almost immediately after I snapped this photo.
I was relieved when this came into view:
Yes, the car is exciting, but what was truly gratifying was the green roof (on the left) of the “toilet facilities”, a.k.a. outhouse! Only a hundred yards or so until bladder freedom. Just to keep the drama level high, I had to cross this first:
I looked around a bit, but this was the only option. (That’s a redbud tree in bloom, for those who aren’t familiar with them.) The steps were nice and wide, but what bothered me was that I could spot geese droppings on a good number of steps, and the ones that weren’t filthy all seemed to have cracks in them:
Still, it was better than crossing a log, and I made it across without any drama or nastiness and hightailed it to the outhouse. Don’t worry, I didn’t take a photo of that! Suffice to say, it was one of those “hover over an open pit” type facilities. (I just thought I had been hightailing it before!)
I arrived back at the car sweaty and tired, but feeling somewhat triumphant. I’d just experienced the pay-off from consistent emphasis on functional exercises (squats, lunges, step-ups, core stabilizers, etc., not to mention the wall sits that improved my “hoverability” for the outhouse) over the past few years, and I was grateful I’d chosen those areas for my focus. I’ll definitely continue them, that’s for sure! Who knows, I might return to the park for that 4+ mile trail.
This particular trail is classified by park officials as “Easy to Moderate”, but with all the obstacles and hills, I’d consider it to have a definite lean to the moderate side. I don’t think couch potatoes would consider it easy at all. Thank goodness I’m not a couch potato! (she writes, as she prepares for an afternoon nap)
I enjoyed my adventure, but I’m also happy to be back to my normal hiking venue:
Have you had any adventures lately? Are you ready to create one?