Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Day I Listened to My Calves

I made this photo x-large so you could see where I walked/hiked/sprinted/almost drowned.
I was on the Ridge Trail, and then the Three-Mile Drive. Basically the perimeter of the arboretum.
Today was the day. I decided to conquer a new trail at the MN Landscape Arboretum, a harder one. The Ridge Trail didn't scare me, I've been walking a lot and my calves said they were ready. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say the first half was up hill. It seems like a long walk up hill and a long walk down. The terrain is natural, just mowed in the prairie area and then dirt and wood chips in the forest area. It's quite bumpy, as Jack will attest to. Oh yea, did I mention I pushed a stroller the whole way? Going downhill isn't just testing my legs, it's testing my arms as well. I have to hold on to Jack's stroller so it won't go speeding off without me. He might enjoy that ride but
not the crash that would follow.
Panoramic shot of where the woods got creepy.
And then I felt like I was being watched.

If Snow White had a cell phone, the story would have been very different.

Along the way we came upon three turkeys, they waddled off in a huff. Then I startled a squirrel
enough that he chirped and chattered at me until I apologized. At a crossroads we stumbled upon a turtle getting ready to lay eggs. She was in a very zen-like state, so I was able to get a picture without
bothering her.

At this point I could have turned right and been back in my car in twenty minutes. Not today! I said to myself, "You got this, take the long way and hit the three-mile trail." After all, it's paved and seems easy after the trail I had just dominated! Since you couldn't see me sweating and hear my heavy breathing, I can say dominated. So we continue our journey towards the car. It started to drizzle just a bit, but it was no big deal. As we approached another hill, we saw a single turkey. I called it and it responded. Jack thought it was funny. I impressed my son with my turkey calling ability. 

A little farther and it started to sprinkle. No problem, it felt good since I really worked up a sweat! And a bit farther, now it was raining, raining enough that I had to cover Jack's stroller with the rain guard. Now we were hearing thunder and even saw a bit of lightning. I found my way to an awning by a restroom. I FaceTimed John to let him know the predicament I found myself in. I could laugh about it. The one day I didn't check the weather, Mother Nature was letting me know I should have paid more attention. I took a deep breath and headed out, I still had to get back to the car and there was still a bit to go. Now it was pouring. Thunder rumbling and my cell phone was giving me weather warnings. Now my eyes were stinging from the rain and little bit of mascara getting in my
eyes. They were stinging enough for me to not realize I took a wrong turn. I ended up walking in a complete circle, an extra fourth of a mile for nothing. When I found myself right back where I called John, I was getting frustrated. I was soaked to the bone and it was raining even harder. 

Before it down poured, we saw lovely bits of nature!

That's when a red truck stopped. Two wonderful ladies that worked at the arboretum offered me a ride. I was hesitant for a moment because I was dripping wet and didn't want to mess up their seat. But it was no big deal since it was always carrying dirt covered gardeners. The gardeners following behind them put the stroller in the bed of the truck and we hopped in the cab. Jack was in heaven as we drove along. He got to see the world from a whole new perspective. He squealed in delight as he pointed at everything and let out a "wow" here and there. The two ladies were so nice and they thought Jack was a hoot. Then a call came through on their radio that a kid was sick and needed a ride. We were right there and pulled over. The lady in the passenger seat got out so the kid could get in. Turns out he was having trouble with his asthma. We drove to the visitor center. While the driver walked the kid in, I unloaded the stroller and got Jack back in it. Keep in mind, it's still pouring rain. Just as I start towards the car, a bolt of lightning cracks right over us and the thunder is immediate. 
I hear my phone give me a warning, "Lightning has been detected in your area." I yell at my phone, "No sh*t!", and hustle to the car. By the time I get Jack strapped in his car seat, water had pooled in his stroller! I get in the car and I can't believe the adventure we just had. The fiasco is over.

If I hadn't gone the long way, I wouldn't have gotten caught in the storm. But then I wouldn't have conquered the trail either. Even with the ride in the truck, I still walked over four miles! Pushing forty
pounds! My fingers and toes got a bit pruned, but no big deal. Besides, I found a deep sense of satisfaction knowing I accomplished my goal under such circumstances. 

No filters here. Just a rain soaked mess!

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