Monday, March 23, 2015

First Weekend of Spring

There is something so restorative about taking a walk on a familiar trail after a long winter. When I awoke Saturday morning, the fist weekend of Spring, there was no doubt in my mind where we were going to go hiking - the Plover River Segment of the Ice Age Trail.

Our spring melt happened quickly this year so I wasn't worried that this tiny river would be flooded and the weather was still cool enough so that not many people, if any, would be out hiking it.

The trail was still crunchy with frost when we began and the ground was a little firm in the shady spots. A cool wind chilled me on the open prairie areas, causing me to pull up my jacket's hood, but once inside the forest, it was very comfortable.

As we neared the river the air became noticeably chilly and damp, but a welcome feeling. The babble of water over rocks drew us in quickly.

Charlie and I hiked in perfect harmony. She barely pulled forward at all, we were like a single unit going the same speed on the same mission. No hurry, but just enjoying every minute. Her ears and tail were relaxed, she had a happy panting smile on her face and she was engaged with her environment. As opposed to our city walks where her ears are pinned back, her body language is stressed and she's pulling forward constantly trying to get back home.

I guess we're both just more comfortable in the quiet peacefulness of woods, lakes and streams. We're country folk.

Our urban walks along city sidewalks this past month have been killing my knees; I'd be done after a 30-minute walk because my knees were too sore. I kept thinking that I was just out of shape. Or getting old. Which is probably partly true.

But after almost 2 hours of hiking up strenuous hills, knee-jarring descents, leaping from boulder to boulder and keeping up a quick pace the whole time, my knees felt great! There's an amazing benefit to hiking on earth rather than pounding pavement - my body felt the difference.

Charlie and I absorbed the earth's energy on this gorgeous first Saturday of Spring, breathed in crisp fresh air, stretched our limbs, bathed in sunshine, played in crystal-clear spring-fed water, marveled at Mother Nature... and then went home and took a nap!

Yep. Charlie was absolutely exhausted after our excursion. All that fresh air, sunshine and physical activity took its toll and it was time to rest. A perfect day if you ask me.