I've been feeling crappy the last several days: either an oncoming summer cold or a bad allergy attack (and/or lack of sleep). Considering all the dust and the white cottony stuff floating around outside, I'm thinking allergies, so I should stay inside rather than hiking around. But I had a bout of sleeplessness and hit the trails at Pokagon State Park; 3.6 miles later, I can say no one ever accused me of doing the smart thing.



What am I allergic to? According to the allergy doctor, everything that can be found in nature.


Except water. I'm not allergic to water ... or maybe they didn't test me for that?
 


  

And now, with apologize to Robert Frost:

 

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood

And both smelled kind of musty

My nose asked me if I should

Go down something so dusty;

 

I shall be telling this with a sneeze

My nostrils full of mold

I took the road more allergen

It's worse than any cold.

  
  
  
  
  
   
  
  
  
  
  
 
  
  
  
  
  
 
  
  
  
  
 
ozma914: (Dorothy and the Wizard)
( Jun. 30th, 2017 11:27 am)

Stop! I know how much I'd like people not to show me photos of spiders, so I'm begging you to go no further if you hate photos of snakes.

No, no -- this is just the rabbit that lives in our back yard and tortures our dog. Last chance before reaching snakes. 

 

 

'Cause here are some photos of snakes. Specifically, to remind you warm weather is not all good, here are photos of snakes I stumbled upon (almost literally) at Pokagon State Park near Angola. I should add that, considering how much time I've spent up there the last few summers, seeing only two is actually a pretty good average for you snake haters.

 

This little fella really wasn't all that little. He was on a walkway over a swampy area last year, and as I approached he didn't move. So I took a photo and got closer, and he still didn't move. So I took this photo and got a little closer, and he still didn't move. So I went back the way I came. I figure it's his neighborhood way more than it's mine.

 

 

This little guy really was kind of little. I suspect he was a teenager, as teenagers sometimes like to pull pranks. In this case, our friend the garter snake staked out a place in the middle of that little concrete pad right in front of an outhouse door. So if you're a human going to the bathroom, you have to go past a little wooden wall, turn a sharp corner, and BOO!

Oddly enough, he didn't really scare me, but he did almost get stepped on, which would have taught him a lesson in how pranks can backfire. I assure you, if it had been a spider a third of that size I'd have left a Mark-shaped hole in the wall, in whichever direction I happened to be pointed at the time.

I'll see if I can get you some flower photos next time.

While walking back to the Spring Shelter at Pokagon State Park, I encountered my wife with a fella named Fred. Good thing too, because I would have made a wrong turn if she hadn't pointed the way, and the right way was still a half mile hike. Fred is the saddle barn's only mule:




That photo posted on Instagram at the time, but for some reason Blogger has never updated its app, and it usually crashes when I try to post from my phone (although a previous post I thought didn't go actually posted twice).

I'd planned to work out of the car while she was on the job (I'm revising Beowulf: In Harm's Way). But it was a beautiful day, so I decided to walk the to the Spring Shelter even though I'd already hiked almost four miles earlier in the day. It's in a wooded area along the saddle trail and usually quiet, except for the people who go there with empty containers, for the spring water. They've quite literally piped it right out of the ground.



Since I was carrying a leather case with my laptop, iPad, and my ancient iPod, I checked the weather forecast first: No rain predicted. Then I looked at the weather radar: No rain in the region. So I got there, laid my stuff out, and was engrossed in revisions about an hour later when big drops started falling on the keyboard

Just a brief shower to remind me I'm not in charge. And, after all, the Spring Shelter includes ... wait for it ... a shelter. At least I could see the clouds that were the source of my torment; and when I checked the radar, sure enough, there were the showers popping up. Not like last week, where it started raining on my while I mowed the lawn -- despite the fact that there wasn't a single cloud overhead.



Just goes to show, there's no such thing as a perfect writing spot.

 The Pokagon State Park Saddle Barn opened for business the first weekend of April, and Emily's first day back was that Sunday. The temperature was in the thirties when she got to work, but warmed up to close to sixty by the end of the day. (Her two days this weekend have been in much nicer weather.)

It was her first chance in months to see the horses, and they were glad to see her!

I don't think they cared so much about me one way or another, but apparently they're shedding, so they were happy enough when I scratched some necks.

Meanwhile, confession: It was the first time since our car accident in September that I walked more than a mile at a time. I made about 2.6 miles, mostly on the bike trail, which is easy going. But I did hit a trail along the way and even went off-trail a little--while I still could, before the foliage fills out and blocks cross country travel. My only complications were a little ankle pain and a sore back.

Not that the trails themselves didn't have complications:

Over the winter it was windier than election season. Emily says there were a couple of small trees across the horse trail, although they didn't present a serious problem. This one was high enough that it would have held them up. I vaulted it, which was a remarkably dumb thing for someone in my shape to do in the middle of nowhere.

There was one across the bike trail, too. I'd imagine the park employees will have everything cleaned up in short order--we could see a lot of places where fallen trees had already been cut up and moved.

 

No idea who the gentleman in the distance is; I didn't notice he was there until after I took the picture. I wonder if he said cheese? The good news is, people are already out and about, enjoying weather that, if not great, is at least better. The bad news is, my allergies are already acting up.

But that's okay, because I love green ... and the green is coming along:

.

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