JUST A STROLL IN THE WOODS-- ha
Fourteen adults and one pooch scampered up a very steep and snow covered trail in the annual Mohican State Park winter hike recently.
During a lull in our ascent I told my hiking companion, Lynn Rush, “I hope to get to Heaven some day, but, I didn’t expect to climb there today.”
She and my nearby trekkers chuckled and the pooch frolicked in a shower of snow while I tried to get my heart-rate under control.
Nearly a hundred of us did a similar hike last year. But, not with a foot of snow on the ground.
After a kilometer or so of steep ascent I wondered if we were getting close to Coshocton.
And that pooch, I swear, smiled at me while he paused to water a near-by sapling and I was leaning breathlessly on another tree.
Periodically our ascent would intersect a mountain bike trail up on that ridge. I would have trouble getting up there on an escalator. In good weather.
We watched for eagles and deer known to be well represented in the forest. But mostly I stared at the ground pondering the next safe place for my 704,239th foot step.
How can you go on a hike with three fourths of your steps being uphill, I wondered? That doesn’t seem possible. But, it is.
High on the ridge I savored the vista of the next ridge south...the silence...the soft green of the hemlock adding a splash of life to the deciduous skeletons all around.
Reward is often the product of effort.
Finally, Jim South of the hike sponsoring Mohican Trails Club, paused at a fork in the trail and announced 5k hikers should go that way and pointed down, down, down what looked to me like a ski jump studded with a bazillion trees.
About a third of us selected that route. The rest of the Sasquatch crowd opted for the full 10k stroll.
“Jim” I asked, “If I simply lay down here and roll will I wind up near the campground commissary?”
That was a mirthful question but I hoped my spaghetti-like muscles would appreciate my sense of humor.
Ohio State Parks regional manager Louis Andres (left), Lynn Rush and Cheryl South warm up with refreshments during our hike's very snowy winter day at the Mohican State Park Campground.