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Archive for the ‘Daily Walking Log’ Category

Mileage:  route around Maple Avenue Lake and the Wetlands, total for the day, 4.14 miles

Today I discovered that the camera in my Blackberry has a zoom feature.  Good to know, since I really wanted to get pictures of the Great Blue Heron who was wading at the edges of Maple Avenue Lake.  The zoom feature cannot, however, make up for the low pixels, so this juvenile GBH may not even be recognizable in the photos below.  In the first one, I was able to get pretty close (he is framed between the trees in the middle of the shot):

However, once I came too close, he lifted off with those enormous wings and settled on the opposite side of the lake.  In this shot, he is barely distinguishable from the rest of the flora:

Here is a much better picture that I didn’t take. 

This raises the problem of cameras and the walking tour.  Today I booked the walking tour with Contours.  The route is called The Cleveland Way, around the North Yorkshire Moors.  You can check out the link I posted on this blog.  Now I have the tour set, but I wonder about the camera.

On the last several trips, I have relied on a compact HP digital camera.  The pictures have been good, sometimes even spectacular, but the possibility of missing something as beautiful as the Great Blue Heron makes me think about a Canon or Nikon digital SLR.  If I save money on hotels and transport, could I invest in the right camera?

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Mileage today:  1.5 miles acquired during the daily constitutional, 4.39 total for the day

Unfortunately, the last several days have not been the best for walking.  A combination of factors are to blame.  First, there was the trip to Lisle, Illinois for the accreditation forum.  I was able to get out on both Wednesday, May 12 and Thursday, May 13, getting miles in around the Marriott Conference Center.  In fact, there was a wetlands area nearby, and I sighted a snowy egret, redwing blackbirds, and (heard) vocal frogs along the way to the Starbucks.

Really, there is an egret in the picture above.  The important part of walking while away from home is to observe the natural setting that could be wedged between the civilized domain of a strip mall and the wildness that lies just beyond the parking lot.

The second factor was the rain, incessant rain, all weekend.  But I am happiest, I think, when I return to my accustomed routes and sights.  Here are the wild roses I saw today when I stepped out around 11:00 AM near the practice football field.

My plan was to go around Maple Avenue Lake, but the geese commandeered the path.  I have encountered the same geese family this spring.  I think they are notable because they have at least 12 goslings in their brood.  Even for geese they seem particularly fecund.  For some reason I don’t want to challenge them for the right of way.  Instead I backtracked to the wetlands route, where I found a broken stump with life emerging.

I have also started Wuthering Heights, the most Yorkshire and most Bronte of the novels I plan to read.  More on the novel in the next posting.

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Mileage:  1.5, along the National Heritage Road, past the Oakley Observatory, and back; total for the day, 3.5.

Setting out around 9:30 this morning, the sky appeared ominous.  It seemed likely that my walk would end in a downpour.  The clouds over the football practice field almost convinced me to retreat to my dry office.

Given the looming skies, I kept to the paved route, down the National Road Heritage Trail that runs behind campus.  This path parallels the Wetlands area, so I could hear the geese although the view was screened by honeysuckle. 

The cardinals and wrens dodged back and forth, and I even saw a green heron who perched on a power line.  Beneath him I found wild iris, deep purple and a cousin of the Siberian iris

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Mileage:  2.5 miles from White Chapel, through the Ropes Course, and around Maple Avenue Lake; total for today, 4.5 miles.

I started from the Hulman Union today and directed my feet toward White Chapel.

This route edges along Speed Lake before it runs behind the chapel.  Along the way, I came upon this clump of Siberian Iris, their deep, rich purple tucked away until I discovered them.

I pass so many different flowers, both wild and cultivated.  Seeing the iris called up a few lines from Gray’s “Elegy written in a Country Churchyard”:

Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,/And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

Of course, Rose-Hulman in the spring doesn’t suffer from the dry, desert air (that will have to wait for August), but it does seem ironic that so many flowers along my walks are never seen.  Deep in the Ropes Course today, I was sure I was walking along paths that haven’t been crossed for a very long time.

While I have provided pictures of flora and fauna in all of my walks from the past several weeks, I have resisted including pictures of the most problematic natural feature–my feet. 

I have suffered from an inflammed plantar fascia tendon in my left foot for the past two years.  Repeated visits to the podiatrist resulted in a moment of truth; since the high doses of ibuprofen and orthotics were not curing my problem, the only other treatment would be an injection of cortisone.  That news was part of my last visit, and I haven’t been back.  So today, I resorted to YouTube videos from quacks and self-healers, searching for pain relief.  Tough it out, I shout at my left foot; the walking trip is not negotiable.  So before I subject myself to the painful needle, I will try to warm up the tendon before I walk, ice it when I return, and stretch it in the interval.

As I write this, I am rolling a frozen plastic bottle of water under my left foot. 

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 May 4 mileage:  2 miles around the Ropes course and front of campus, 4.5 miles for the day

May 5 mileage:  2.5 miles around the Wetland and Maple Avenue Lake, 5+ for the day

May 6 mileage:  3 miles total, with a short jaunt in Hawthorne Park

I decided to try a new route on Tuesday, going around the Sport and Rec Complex and meeting up with the area near the front of campus that is dedicated to the Ropes Course.  This route takes me around the baseball and softball fields, then across the front of the Rose-Hulman campus.

The gentle rise and fall of the front campus is a better challenge than the even, paved paths of other routes, more like the hills that we will face in England.  The only drawback is that the new route brings me right to Highway 46 and the constant traffic.  I prefer the quiet of Hawthorne Park, or the geese threats of the Wetlands.

I am still keeping up my mileage by supplementing a mid-day walking break of 2 miles with additional walking on the golf course at Pine Woods.  The combination is keeping me at roughly 5 miles per day.  I won’t think much right now about the 10 miles that I will need to complete during the week of July 17th to 24th.

While I appreciate the additional walking I can do on the golf course, I wonder why I am paying the extra fee for a cart when I am not using it.  Nick drives the clubs while I hike the fairways.  Actually I have carried my golf bag in the past, and the experience isn’t that pleasant.  And the cart comes in handy when I have to scale the near vertical cart paths at our local course.  If only there could be a golf cart to ferry me up the likely hills in Yorkshire.

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Mileage:  2 miles around Maple Avenue Lake and the Wetland Trail at Hawthorne Park.  Total mileage for the day:  4.6.

The path up to the lake is bordered by blooming honeysuckle:

After a solid weekend of rain, the skies cleared on Monday, so the trip around Maple Avenue Lake was particularly pleasant.  I passed several fishermen.  God, I hope they don’t eat what they catch . . .

The fishing theme was reinforced when I got to the other side of the lake.  In the trash bin was the empty package for a Barbie fishing rod and reel.  I can just imagine the pink, sparkled rod and reel that helped a little girl and her patient dad share the joy!

The route around the lake offers different fauna than the Wetlands route.  In fact, I see a lot more turtles at the lake than I do at the wetland.  They prefer the dead trees half submerged, like the tree pictured below.  The turtle breeds are various–painted, snapping, etc.–but they line up on the log and sun themselves with equanimity.  And when I get too close, they roll off.  Sometimes all I know of their presence is the watery plop of each one as they fall in.

I did get to see a box turtle today.  This one was incredibly patient and posed for his picture.  This was my second sighting of a box turtle today.  As I drove to work around 7:30, I passed a box turtle who was crossing Highway 46 in the lane opposite to mine.  I am always tempted to stop the car and run back to ferry a box turtle across the road.  I can do this on my country road without too much concern, but attempting turtle rescue on Highway 46 could be a risky for me as it is for the turtle.

Not all the fauna at the lake is natural and untamed.  I met up with Mickey, the German pointer dog who belongs to a friend.  He is a runner, very athletic, and a swimmer too.  When we met up, he let me pet him, and I earned a damp hand for my trouble.

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Walking mileage:  2.79 around the wetland, 5+ miles total for the 29th (mileage boosted by walking the golf course).

New route:  around the perimeter of the Hawthorne Park Wetland:

I also took along a better camera than the one on my Blackberry.  Even with better equipment, however, I couldn’t get good shots of the birds and other fauna I encountered which included a pin-tail duck, a kingfisher, geese with goslings, mallards, and redwing blackbirds.  The blackbirds enjoy perching on the spent cattails:

The mallards, male and female, swam off in the small swamp that is adjacent to the wetland:

I also sighted a beaver, swimming with all his might with a twig in his teeth.  Again, poor camera equipment meant that his picture wasn’t really worth publishing.

On Friday, I took the day off from Rose-Hulman and spent my day at home trying to get the wilderness at Lobster Creek under control.  It seems that digging, weeding, and mowing can earn you 4+ miles, which means I am keeping my mileage up. 

 The plan for the weekend is to do a longer walk, either at McCormick’s Creek State Park or out on our country road to Highway 46 and back, 8+ miles.  Let’s see how the weather holds.

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