Sunday Afternoon At The Nature Preserve: The Uneven Path Taken

On Sunday, for the first time in months, Zen-Den and I went to the Nature Preserve intending to wander around the flat easy path that connects the herb garden to the old farmhouse.

‘Tis a pretty path any time of year, and knowing what I was getting into, I wore shoes for that kind of leisurely walk.  A stroll.

However, somehow [let’s blame it on curiosity], we got [shall we say?] off course and ended up on a moderately difficult path that took us half a mile down a steep hillside to a creek, along the banks of the creek, then back up to the parking lot.

From this experience, I learned three valuable lessons:

  1. I will always in the future, regardless of what we say we’re going to do, wear hiking boots when going to the Nature Preserve;
  2. I will always in the future take one of the free maps, readily available in a display in the parking lot;  &
  3. When descending uneven, seemingly never-ending limestone steps down a hillside, my mind thinks about the worst that can happen.  In this case, it flashed to the scene in Grace and Frankie [Season 4] when we get a glimpse of Grace’s icky knee, complete with stitches and a long bloody-ish incision, after knee replacement surgery.  Oy vey.

And on that angst-filled note, here are some photos of the path we took at the Nature Preserve as we walked, trudged, and then climbed our way around it.

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Oh so pretty in late winter! Must see more.

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What a charming little path. I wonder where it goes?

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My goodness, this path suddenly looks old and not tended.

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Well, at least that little stone bridge up ahead looks sturdy.

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Oh look! What a nice flat rustic wooden bridge over a little dry creek.

• • •

Oh dear, this uneven path just keeps going down, down, down to a large creek.

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Finally! What a lovely, relatively flat, stoney path by a large creek.

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Yes! Look at these civilized wooden stairs leading back up the hill to the parking lot. Hallelujah!

THE END

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Usually.

59 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon At The Nature Preserve: The Uneven Path Taken”

    1. Teacher Turned Mommy, I was wearing basic sneakers [as they used to be called]. Great for walking around in general, but without any ankle support or treads on the bottom. The result was that I was rather unbalanced as I went down these steps. Kind of scary…

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  1. So pretty! It looks dry in the pictures, which is a good thing. Can’t imagine trying to negotiate all those stones and wood covered in slippery winter moss and slime 😦

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    1. Deb, the dryness was the blessing in this hike. You’re right, other times of year there’d have been no way I could have walked down those stones. And now that I’ve seen that part of the Nature Preserve, been there, done that!

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  2. Three things: 1) Beautiful pictures. 2) Always wear hiking boots. I learned this the hard way too. Now I don’t care if kids are hiking in flip-flops. 3) I stopped getting notification emails from your blog 😦 I just checked the settings, and I should get an email for each post, but nope. I may have to unfollow and re-follow.

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    1. Dan, thank you.

      No flip flops for me, either.

      I’m sorry that you no longer get the emails, and have no idea why that’s happening. I’ve not changed a thing at my end. WP is great when it works, but doesn’t always work– which isn’t so great.

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  3. I can just picture Lewis and Clark grabbing the free map to the uncharted West before they crossed the Mississippi. You don’t want to end up on a lousy path when going on a major expedition like that…

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    1. nance, I like your idea and will be doing that. I had on sneakers, nice ones, but they weren’t up to the job. All the way down the hill I keep thinking to myself: “Yep, this is how people end up in the ER.” 🤔

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    1. OH NO! Jill that was my fear. I kept on my feet by going slowly and leaning on Zen-Den– who would get far ahead of me, then come back to assist me. I felt ancient.

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    1. Susan, I was Girl Scout– and clearly I have brought shame, all these years later, to my troop by not being prepared. I dunno what we were thinking. It was just so nice to be outside…

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    1. Janet, we just kept seeing cool things slightly ahead of us, so we kept walking. Then suddenly it occurred to me that this path was all stone, all the way down. By then it was too late to turn back, so…

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  4. I’m glad you didn’t take a tumble and shred your knee. Yikes.

    I love Grace and Frankie. Haven’t watched the fourth season yet though. I’m going to watch it with my mother when I go out to help her with some appointments next month. Looking forward to it!

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    1. Carrie, I was careful as I walked down because my mind was in a tizzy about what could happen.

      Season Four of Grace and Frankie started slowly, but ended in a place that I could never have imagined. You’ll see. You’ll enjoy.

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  5. Hiking boots for ANY kind of hike are always a good idea.
    BTW – That reminds me to check in on Gracie and Frankie. I haven’t seen them in quite a while!

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    1. Donna, I thought about wearing hiking boots but talked myself out of it because we were only going to wander around the farmhouse. Lesson learned.

      I enjoyed Season 4 of Grace and Frankie. It ended on a different note that makes me really hope there’ll be a Season 5.

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  6. Wow, it looks pretty, but uneven in spots. I hear you on the hiking boots/shoes. I wear my Keens whenever I go for a walk because I can slip around, even on gravel. At my/our age, we can’t afford a fall!

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    1. Margaret, it was truly beautiful which is how we got sucked into walking the path we did. I had on a nice pair of sneakers, but they were more for wearing to the grocery than traipsing around in nature. “No falls” is my new mantra!

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  7. Very nice pictures. They almost made me feel like I was with you. I can see why you were being so careful on the trail. You definitely did not want to have any more knee problems!
    I don’t even have to leave our property to fall. Last evening before heading to band practice, I made a trip out to my studio that has a boardwalk leading to the back door. It had rained yesterday, and not thinking, I took my normal strides and soon ended up on the ground. Nothing happened except that I’m rather sore in strange places today!
    At least you got to see some beautiful scenery😁

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    1. Beth, I can see you doing exactly what you said you did. I’m sure that you can explain it all by invoking your artist persona– you were too busy envisioning your next painting to worry about slippery slopes. That being said, take care. Neither one of us wants knee problems.

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  8. Wow, that was quite a hike! Part of me is glad you continued forward but I also was worried that you might take a spill or turn your ankle. Not age-related at all (anyone can fall or step wrong), but it can take us so dang long to recover. Good on you for getting out and about.

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    1. Janis, it’s funny because we had a great time being outside, but this was not the wisest walk/hike we’ve [well, I’ve] ever done. Zen-Den with his fat feet was stable as can be on this path, but I was a plodding mess, suddenly aware of how easily I could fall and hurt meself. But I got some good photos, so there’s that! 😌

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    1. Marcia, that is what I have learned from this adventure. Be prepared. The Nature Preserve is delightful for those who have the good sense to wear hiking boots. 🙄

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  9. I’m sorry that I kind of smirked. The photos are great and tell a story of a walk that went a bit different than plan 😆
    Yes – hiking boots always a good plan.

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    1. Joanne, yes hiking boots would have made all the difference! I’ll make sure to have them on the next time we go to the Nature Preserve. You live, and if you’re lucky, you learn.

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    1. Betsy, this was ill-advised, but there we were so happy to be outside, not thinking about where the path was going– until it dawned on me that I was hiking down a hill… in walking shoes. When I saw those stairs I almost ran up them, so happy was I. 😁

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        1. No. Not at all. His big fat feet just walked down those steps like no big deal. He was quite patient with me, however. Probably knew that if I fell we’d be in the ER all afternoon.

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  10. Oh my. Lovely photos. Terrible way to descend — in fear. I had a similar experience a few years ago, on a trail at McCormick’s creek. I always wear these Patagonia shoes, meant for long-term comfort (and look it) but that one trip, I was like, “I need hiking boots!” Never did buy a pair… Clearly you’re wiser than I.

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    1. joey, I get your experience. It’s unnerving to suddenly realize that maybe this walk wasn’t the best idea. The sad part is that I have hiking boots, but decided against wearing them, silly goose that I am.

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  11. 1) I love a good (accidental) meander and have been flummoxed by poor shoe choices in the past.

    2) I LOVE Grace & Frankie. Lily Tomlin has been one of my favorites since I can remember, but am glad you didn’t injure your knee and have to have surgery, though the grossest part of that scene was the eggs, in my opinion, I literally gagged.

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    1. Kate, you described our walk perfectly: a meander. I would have enjoyed it more with the right footwear, but then I wouldn’t have a story to tell, would I?

      I’d forgotten about the awful gross eggs. You’re right they were worse than the knee. The knee was expected, but the eggs… not so much. Ick.

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