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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Friday, October 11, 2013

And you thought a run was good exercise...

You should try a patented Chris and Scrappy tour through the woods.  Start out the usual way, through the fence row to Plex land, along what we call "Groundhog Road", to the woods entrance at the big tree- all this you can see on my "the Map" page.

Here we see our hero looking where he just "chased" a black cat to.

Click on the pic and you'll see that white blob is a chipmunk.  Saw a lot of them along the way.

Around the loop trail where we scared up Ms. Deer for the first time.  My battery was too low, and she too fast, to get any good pictures of her, but the walk basically devolved into unintentional deer tag again.  Now as we drop to the back trail section of the loop trail, I can bring up a map which will give you an idea of what's going on here.

As you can see, we followed the loop trail back into the woods (where we scared Ms. Deer farther south towards the creek) and down to the bridge.  I decided I'd give Scrappy a chance to splash around- and he decided he wanted an adventure.

Oh, but first we found this log, covered in "Halloween fungi"...

I though this was going to be a better pic that the other one of a 'munk.  Silly me.  And now, back to the bridge...

First, down we go to water level.

 And here we have where scrappy wanted me to cross.  I got a little wet, but not bad.

On the other side, we wandered along the bank and then turned south towards more familiar territory...

 ...the ravine, which we were at the bottom of, for a change.

I wanted to show you how nature had this tree ball up its roots into a great mass to hold it on the slope.  But somebody blocked most of it.

After climbing out of the ravine (not to mention fighting our way through enough thick brush that Scrappy began to panic a little), we took a bit of a break.  At least I did.  And I thought to myself about all the times I looked at the nice walking sticks at Johnny Appleseed and said, "Too Expensive!"  Could have used one getting out of the ravine.

Above, you see where we went next, to the far side of the main trail, where the best way to get through is follow this mostly dry stream bed that takes a windy course towards the creek.  Now the problem with a "mostly dry" stream bed is that the not-dry spots are nice and gooey.  Scrappy loves to follow it when it's gooey, and prefers to wander the other direction when it's dry.  Eventually we wind our way close to the creek- and the Deer comes bounding out again, heading (I thought) across the main trail and down the ravine.  I figure we're done running into her today.

Moments later, and mere feet away from our goal, we find that a nasty tangly tree had fallen across our path, leaving us no choice but to double back through heavy brush to get around the damn thing and all the neighbors it took with it.  Ten minutes later, we were there.

 Right above Scrappy is where we wanted to come out..

 ...but here's where we ended up, and it was actually closer to where we wanted to be.  Because, for me to get across unscathed (as if I wasn't plenty scathed already...)

I had to rock hop this line.  Believe it or not, I made it okay.  At this point, we had but to follow the bank around the bend north... The Spot.  For you newbies, this is a magical patch of grass virtually Isolated from civilization that we often go to.  There's really only two ways there...

 One, the around-the-bend way we took today...

..and two, through a tiny break in heavy brush and over an ancient wire fence that you have to find a place knocked down enough for Scrappy to get over.  This was our way out today.

 You come out on the lower of the woods' two main ridges.  This is one of Scrappy's favorite haunts, as it is honeycombed with dens to sniff.  Here, much to my surprise, we ran into the deer one last time.  I would've bet money she was on the other side of the creek still.

 Couple of puffballs just "sprouting".

Next, we left the woods along "dead tree road" to another of Scrappy's favorite places.  The Barn where IPFW keeps a lot of its lawn equipment and other junk is a home for a large share of the indigenous ground hog population.  I started around the back side of the barn, where most of the dens are...
 ...when I looked up at the back barn doors, and saw a head peep out that hole, see us, and disappear back inside.

 Scrappy was unable to get any closer, despite our circumnavigation of the barn.  As we began heading generally towards home, I heard a marmot "all clear" whistle from behind us.

 There is also a small house near the barn, and it is also full of groundhog holes.  Scrappy always check this in vain.

So we began walking the tree-lined trail to the east of the soccer fields.  Suddenly, God heard my thought from back in the ravine (He must get bad reception from below trail level) and sent me this:

Not just a stick, but a stick perfectly designed for my height and grip.  I decided it was a good omen, and took it with us.  I named it Stick.

 Then it was time to take a break.  The tree-lined trail ends at the new soccer fields, which are banked up about seven feet or so.  So we laid back, sat back, breathed deep, and rested.

Then it was along the Plex road home, when we chanced upon a man and his white toy poodle.  This dog was about a third Scrappy's size, and a fourth his weight.  When the dog came over in his little poodly steps, they sniffed... and then the little guy stood up, growled and basically slapped Scrappy around (much to everyone's amusement.  As I told Scrappy, "C'mon, " to go, the poodle began to follow us instead of its master.

"C'mon, Conan, "  the man said.

"His name is Conan?" I had to ask.

"Yes," he said in one of those half sighs that indicated to me that he was really saying, "I didn't name the stupid thing!"

Laughing, I chuckled out, "Well, that's appropriate!"

It may have only been an hour-and-a-half, 2.2 mile walk, but I think we got lunch walked off quite well.


  1. It would be nice to be out for a walk everyday..sigh. I've got to do something about exercise.

    1. Everyday? You think I live through THAT everyday?

  2. CHris:
    The pictures you take up there NEVER cease to amaze me...(Halloween fungi - only YOU could come upon such
    It's like you're NOT in Fort Wayne at all.
    (lucky dog...yeah, both of you)

    Nice walking stick you got there.
    I have one I found once...(never named it, though...yet), and I sanded it down and am planning to shellac it and add a brass tab at the bottom (for wear)...perhaps a leather wrap up top too.

    Excellent travelogue.

    Stay safe and ound up there.
    (and carry a big stick)

    1. Yeah, I took KC out there Saturday and he was amazed by it, too.

      I've thought about doing something like that with Stick... but first I have to start remembering to take him with us!