25 March 2008

The long way around

Not as young as I used to be, not as young as I used to be ... That was my mantra this afternoon as I hiked the trails of Kanuga. Not content to choose one place to go, I studied the map, linked three trails together and set out. First of all, I was a bit too heavily dressed, even though the day remained in the upper 40s, low 50s all day. The outer layer came off in the first 15 minutes. And, secondly, I can no longer made the pace I used to set, particularly on the steady climbing portions of the paths. All that is to say that I had to deal with expectations and disappoitment as I settled into the hike. Once I got over those frustrations, I enjoyed the adventure.

From Camp Bob to Long Rocks to High Rocks to the Wolf Mountain Rest and back to Kanuga. I went in that order so as to avoid the treacherous final climb to the summit of Wolf Mountain. Been there, done that in the past, but the ascents along the way were hard nonetheless. And, of course, my walking stick, which I made while here last summer during a guest period, is hanging on its lovely hook by my coat closet in the laundry room. As always, though, the difficulty encountered along the way was quickly forgotten as I looked out, satisfied, at the long views available this time of year at the locations intimated by the trail names.

That these forests are in transition is obvious this time of year with the foliage not yet on the decidious trees. The results of the 2005 Christmas ice storm is evident everywhere, the fallen trees beginning to settle in for their long rot with skads of 18-inch white pines covering the open forest floor all around them. More sad is the march of the woolly adelgid infestation through the hemlocks. Many of these trees close in to the conference center buildings have been treated (although not all successfully), but there is nothing to do in the forest but to let the infestion run its course, changing for a very long time the look and compostion of the forest.

Where to tomorrow? Eagle Rock, perhaps.

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