Unlike most mornings (which start out with a dense fog over the river and the fields) today started out absolutely bright and clear with a decent breeze coming off of the water. With the sunshine coming off the river the air warmed up quickly and it turned into an unbelievable day. About 75 degrees outside while in the direct sunshine it felt like it was about 80 or 82.
Perfect weather to be outside. Our morning hike wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. The usual 1 or 2 miles along the backwaters on the southern side of the river. But after getting some work done and having a hankering to get out in the sunshine, we headed out.
A number of weeks ago Melissa and I pulled off onto some DNR land (Department of Natural Resources) that was between Blue River and Boscobel. This land is directly west of the house – about 15 or 20 minutes away. A little too far to go to hike every morning. Our first (and only time hiking there) the bugs were so terrible that we didn’t make it too far up the trail.
Today was different. After running a few errands in Boscobel, Keeper and I were going to go to Ash Creek. A good ways out of the way to get there but the hiking there lately has been awesome. But, as we were passing the pull off for Knapp Creek on our way back I decided to take advantage of the fact that we were out that way and pulled off the road.
The road for Knapp Creek is right on the side of highway 60. Highway 60 runs right along the river and makes for a great scenic drive. Knapp Creek sits on the mountain side (north side) of the highway. We pulled off and Keeper leapt from the Jeep. Ready for our next adventure.
That’s one of the most rewarding things about starting a hike with the boy. After putting up with the heat and noise of the Jeep – even when he’s only coming with me on errands, it’s really nice to pull off somewhere and see his excitement when he realizes we’re somewhere for him to enjoy.
The weather was so nice that I didn’t even bother to grab a jacket or sweatshirt. Just a bottle of water and off we went.
The trees on our left as we started up the trail caught just enough of the sunshine to leave half of it in shade with a slight breeze. Just enough to keep most of the bugs at bay. Keeper was ecstatic. Off he plunged into the woods.
The trail runs along the creek all the way to the top. I will admit, however, that as we progressed up the trail two things became very evident: (1) the creek was bone dry. Meaning that it probably swells with either a heavy rain or snow melt but is otherwise unfed from a river or lake. And (2) that the trail was going to be some work.
At a steady 45 degrees or more it had me immediately thankful that I had left my jacket behind and almost had me wishing for shorts.
Keeper was a wild man – running down into the gully and crossing to the other side, running up the steep inclines on either side of the trail to stick his nose into this or that burrow or a tree hollow. Tongue waging like crazy we slowly made our way to the top.
Thankful to finally be at the top, once I stopped gasping for breath I was able to take in the serenity of the place. No noise whatsoever. No airplanes in the sky. Just the smells of the river and the land along with the sounds of the wind coming through the trees and the grasses.
As we emerged from the trees the top flattened out in prairie grass and wildflowers and the trail split in 4 directions. One of which we had come up. I can’t wait to follow one of the other trails and see where we end up.
But in this case they all went down at a precipitous angle. Which meant that if I was going to check one out I was going to have to climb back up just to go back down to the trail head.
We followed one for a bit, kicking around on the top of the mountain and then decided to head back down. By this time I wasn’t the only one panting and I knew that Keeper needed some water – both to drink and to roll around in.
Once we got down to the trail head I got some water out for the big fella and realized that the truck was completely covered with ladybugs. Not one or 12, but tons of them. There must have been 50 ladybugs on each side of the Jeep. By the time I was done giving Keeper water, I had nearly 40 or so on just one leg of my jeans. It was nuts!
We saddled up and headed across the highway to the river side. Because of the recent flooding, we didn’t have to go far to find some water. The boy immediately plunged in to the murkiest bog he could find. It wasn’t long before he was covered in nappy green and black water and happy as could be.
Before getting back in the Jeep I attempted to have him shake the water off on command. Melissa has had some success with this in the past and I thought I’d give it a shot. Hell, I even had some biscuits with me as an incentive and a head full of confidence (heck….we taught him to roll over!).
Well…. It didn’t work. Score: Keeper – 2 biscuits; Commands followed: 0; and to top it all off, as soon as he got in the jeep he finally felt the need to shake all of that nappy water off. With me sitting right next to him. Awesome. Good thing it’s a Jeep!
The rest of the trip we cruised some of the back roads taking our time to get back home. Roads with names like: Eagle Cave Road, Chicken Ridge Road, Weisbrew Drive, Hoosier Hollow and Oxford School Road (?) to name a few. And dang… those ladybugs can hold on really well. Even at 60!
All in all a wonderful afternoon. Very satisfying. And as I finish up this post, I’ve got an exhausted best friend asleep, dreaming at my feet. He’s twitching and his tail is beating against the floor. He must be dreaming of that rabbit that got away at Knapp Creek.