Humble Pie with a Side of Mud
As readers to my blog already know, the Gibraltar Rock Natural Area is one of my favorite places to hike. It's the baby brother hiking destination to Devil's Lake State Park, which is on the other side of the bluff in the photo above-- across the Wisconsin River. Devil's Lake draws three million visitors per year. If I see a couple of people on a weekday at Gibraltar Rock, it feels crowded. Gibraltar Rock is a ten minute drive; the state park is about 45 minutes drive.
Gibraltar's Rock's trail rises to an elevation above 1200 feet. That's nothing for people used to mountain ranges, but it's a big deal in the Midwest. Yesterday, hiking conditions were fluid. The snow was mostly melted. The ground has been freezing overnight. The sun softens up the sunny part of the trail during the day, while the shady parts remain firm.
I tend to be a fast hiker. I've always been a fast walker. Thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail during my younger years taught me a lot about foot placement that became ingrained over the years when covering terrain.
I was feeling at the top of my game yesterday. Callie and I cruised to the top and then jogged down the back side.
I admired the old cedars, hanging out at the edge of the 200-foot sheer cliff and thriving. We took off fast down the trail back to the truck. I guess I was daydreaming about future destinations when Gibraltar Rock reminded me to take her seriously.
I was walking on a frozen leaf-covered trail when my left foot slid on a soft spot exposed to the sun. No problem. I've caught my balance many times in similar situations. Unfortunately, my right foot was no help, as it was sliding too. My body was out in front of my sliding feet. Suddenly, I was flying through the air on my way to a face-plant on the trail.
There wasn't much I could do at this point, but I did manage to twist my body so that I landed on my side, which slid through about six feet of soft mud. When I came to a stop, Callie looked up at me as if to say, "What was that?" I picked myself up, established that nothing was broken, except my pride. My left side was covered with mud from my shoes to the top of my hat.
I would have taken a picture, but my hands were full of mud with no way to clean up. Let's be honest.; there was no way I was taking a photo. I trudged slowly back to the truck, drove home and threw everything into the washing machine.
Today, my body sore, Callie and I hiked on city sidewalks. Maybe we'll head back into the woods tomorrow.