A couple days ago I realized I was sitting on my butt when I shouldn’t, so I went for a hike at almost 8pm. It was a loop trail that was 1.6 miles long. No biggie, I’ve walked longer. It started out nicely.
I saw what I thought was an owl or a hawk flying and the area was beautiful, almost picturesque. I made sure I had my cell phone and a full bottle of ice cold water. As I was walking, I was trying to enjoy the scenery, but still walk faster than normal. Shortly after the above photo, there came the cry of a bird of prey and I saw a large bird with white undercoloring with grey spots and a smaller bird right behind it. I think it was either a hawk or an owl. I’m sad I didn’t get to take a photo of it. The trail was pretty decently maintained- only twice did I have to go over fallen trees.
The path began to turn and that’s when I could see the ravines. The tall, huge trees and all the ferns made me think of a much old time, before humans, before the rise of mammals even. It reminded of some pre-historic era that you see on TV. Part of me wanted to stop and just enjoy the beauty, but I knew the sun was going down and I was timing myself to see how long it would take me.
Of course, the trail did not stay at the top of the ravine. Eventually, the path headed down. As I walked, I realized that the rain had made everything quite slippery and I went down so cautiously you might have laughed. I crossed a couple wooden bridges that went over tiny, muddy creeks. And as always, if you go down, you must go up.
This was just as muddy and slippery as going down. The path kept going up once it turned to the left. At the top was the only time I saw anyone, a teenage couple. About this time, the wind kicked up and it was like a jet was above me it was loud. I raised my arms and spun around. It was so beautiful! I started trying to walk faster just in case of another storm. As you can see in the photo, the light wasn’t quite as bright as earlier.
I was keeping a faster pace when I hit a very dense section of the woods. It was like twilight in there. I was ok until I remembered- there’s coyotes in the Metroparks. They had been introduced to naturally curb the deer population. They had put a couple pairs in various areas, but they quickly found each other, banded together, and now prowl the Metroparks and suburbs. Their howls have been heard in downtown Willoughby, a nearby suburb. Granted, downtown is a “Main St.” set up, but still. And they could be in these very woods. I started to panic and walked as fast as I could. My shoes started coming untied and I let them. I was not stopping to retie them and get attacked. I started muttering, “Let your humble servant get home” and just kept repeating it and repeating it. I heard a bark, a howl, and I kept swearing there was something walking on those leaves. I did not see a single coyote.
Eventually, my coyote panic subdued as I came to a less covered and lighter area. A new terror hit me then. I was getting late. I have been walking for over 30 minutes and I was not out. This was supposed to only be 1.6 miles! I was walking quickly again, watching for the white flower on the blue background to be nailed into a tree to let me know. I was also scared because this loop trail is away from the road. You have to walk 500 feet to get to the beginning. What happens if I just start the loop again? What happens if I started going down one of the trails that touch this one? How will I get back to my car? My water bottle is empty?! Crap! I thought at one point I had started looping back and I called my mom to calm me down. I talked to her for another 5 or 10 minutes and then I saw it. Not the post in the first picture, but the one that was another 20 feet past it. I was almost out.
As soon as I was out from the trees, it began to rain. I knew what it was- a message. “I got you out, now hurry home little one.” All the way home, there was lightening and thunder.