I hike Crowder’s Mountain for several reasons. Other than the obvious of, because I can.
I do it to make sure I get my exercise in. I always take the trail with the 336 steps going up. That trail is steeper and… has the steps. The steps that are of varying heights. Some may be four to six inches high, others are nine or so inches. There are spaces where there are no steps. Trust me, that is a work out. I tell people that is my cardio. Especially now, while I’m adjusting to the increased weight of the new backpack.
Depending on how much walking around Bella and I do, I can rack up several thousand steps on my fitness band. My heart rate is thumping, my legs are screaming and as warm as it gets, I’m definitely sweating out any impurities. I also make sure Bella and I stay hydrated.
I will go ahead and admit, I use it to escape. No one can ask for favors while I’m somewhere between the beginning and end of the hike.
I use it to stay at least slightly connected to humanity. I had a really nice conversation today with a lovely seventy something year young lady who was sitting near where I always give Bella her water. I talked with others as well, but not as much.
I use it as a time away from electronics. Yes, I do take a few photos, but really not many compared to how long I’m up there. I did purchase an inexpensive pair of earbuds a couple weeks ago thinking I could do as I’ve seen others and listen to music as I walked. Then I got to thinking, that would defeat the get away from electronics thing.
I watch others as I pass them, many listening away to what ever is playing on their phone. I’ve overheard snippets of conversation from people talking work. Maybe, they are out for the exercise alone and the music helps them hike. Maybe it distracts them from how much further they have to go. Maybe it helps them to keep a rhythm in their step. That hike is great exercise, there is no doubt there, but its more. Its more, and they are missing it.
As you hike, which ever trail you choose, the natural beauty that is around you, the trees, the flowers, the boulder formations. All waiting to be seen. That Carolina Blue sky overhead. The ones where the hawks and buzzards sail on the air currents. You see their shadows cast on the ground as they fly overhead. The butterfly that dance closer to the ground but not quite. The squirrel run among the rocks and fallen trees, teasing and tormenting the dogs that pass. A lizard or snake slithers in the leaves causing you to look and try and find what was there.
You feel the dirt, the gravel, the small boulders that are scattered along the trail. You try and avoid where the water runs down and off into the woods, leaving parts of the trail muddy. At various times there will be trees and wildflower in bloom, waiting for the butterfly and bees and to be seen by those passing.
As you walk, especially if it is a day when you find yourself a solitary figure as you hike the trails. Deep in the woods you can hear the winds whispering. Sharing what has gone on before. Reminding you, there is a comforting peace to be found in the quiet. When the only sounds are those of nature and your footsteps along the path. Your mind can wander to where ever it wants to go, imagining who crossed this mountain in years past and for what reasons. How people years and centuries ago must have felt, what they thought, as they made their way.And those folks, with their music, or pod casts, or videos, are missing it.
As Bella and I hiked back down off the mountain, we took our time. I saw no reason to hurry. I really don’t want to push her too hard, making her too tired or too hot. She loves it, but as soon as we get home she stretches out on the floor for no less than an hour as she rests.
After Bella had finally gone back outside, and I was preparing to go on a grocery run, I heard both dogs bark. I walked into this room to look out the door but something out back caught my eye. Mom had wondered if the black cat they’ve been feeding had her kittens or if she lost them. Nope, she had at least one, because she brought it around and took it under my house. I’m hoping the other two cats don’t give her any problems. As far as that goes, she may have already moved again.
I hope she’s careful My son went outside earlier tonight to move the bowl of dry food in case it rains. He was calling me to bring my camera. There was a huge owl just at the edge of the yard. It flew the minute I walked out with the camera. It was too dark anyway. But I hope mom kitty keeps her baby (Plural?) safely out of sight. Because I’m pretty sure the cats missed seeing the owl.
I went by the handy dandy home and garden center and picked up a few more plants, since they are on sale. I’m going to try and get everything in the ground tomorrow.
As I’m sitting here, working on this, the dogs start barking at something out in the dark. It reminded me of an incident. well, two.
As Bella and I were hiking down the mountain, we passed a lady and her young daughter. The daughter may have been five of six. As we passed, she made barking sounds at Bella. To her credit, Bella paid her no mind. Mom though proceeded, after greeting me, to remind and explain to her daughter why you don’t make barking sounds at dogs. She spoke not in anger, not yelling, not unkindly. She calmly explained in a manner that the child would understand but also pick up on the seriousness of what she is being told.
The other was at the handy dandy home and garden center as I was making my way back to my jeep. I passed a man and young boy. The young boy started out across the parking lot to be stopped by the man. There is basically a road that runs directly between the front of the store and the parking places. The man, what ever his relation, also spoke calmly to the boy reminding him about looking before walking out into the road.
Both kids faced a possible dangerous situation, but they’re missing the harm that could come, because someone loves them enough to explain calmly, rationally, completely.
So much today, that I am so glad I didn’t miss.