Friday, October 27, 2006

A Hike in the Woods

I have a lot to do before Al gets home late tonight, so I thought I’d just do a quick post about my walk in Fontenelle Forrest before I left on my trip. It was an absolutely gorgeous fall day, with temps in the lower 60s under a sunny sky.

Fontenelle Forrest is a little haven of woodsy goodness in Bellevue, NE. Although Nebraska is a lot prettier than I thought it would be, with its rolling hills breaking up the corn fields, it’s still not as pretty as other places I’ve lived. Upstate New York, Arkansas and Ohio have woods and hiking trails covered in leaves and tree limbs that arch over the trails. So, finding Fontenelle Forrest was a nice surprise. However, unlike the other places I’ve lived, I had to pay to enjoy it. I was a bit appalled, to be honest with you. I mean, I’m all for supporting places like this so that they don’t get cut down and turned into a parking garage, but $7? Oh well, it was for a good cause, and I really needed a fall hike that day to calm my pre-travel nerves.

Fontenelle Forrest is 1,400 acres with 37 trails winding their way through it. My $7 came with a great map and the trails are well marked, so I didn’t get lost. That’s a big deal because I tend to get lost a lot. One of these days I’ll post about my experience getting lost on a loop around the lake. Anyway, back to the hike at hand.

The longest trail is the main Riverview Boardwalk, which is where they also display any exhibits they have. This day they had sculptures of giant bugs. Very Halloweeny, I thought. This is a popular trail and the map recommends that first-time visitors should take this route. But that’s where all the small children were, so I opted for the trails going in the opposite direction.

It was serene. The insect-eating birds were skittering through the leaves, and the sounds of kids on the boardwalk yelling to express their excitement slowly faded as I went further down the trail. I was a little concerned that I seemed to keep going downhill. I’m very much aware that what goes down must come back up. The trail was a little slick because of the covering of wet leaves, and I was a little more careful than I usually am because I’m always aware that I could get a muscle spasm that will send my leg kicking off when I haven’t given it permission. But it was nice because it forced me to slow down a little and enjoy the walk.

I talked to a very nice older gentleman about what birds I was seeing. They have a great bird-watching program here, and since he had binoculars and I don’t really know what a stranger is, I asked him about what he was looking for. But, because I also have the short term memory of a gnat, I don’t remember what he told me.

I only walked a few miles, but it was quality miles. I feel calmer just talking about it. I think I’ll have to buy a membership so I can go whenever I want. Here are a few pictures for your viewing pleasure.


Newt said...

Oooohhh pretty country. Sounds like a perfect day for yourself. And funny, we both have the memory of a gnat. I do the same thing. I'll ask someone for information and no sooner do I say "Oh,that's so interesting" I have already forgotten what they told me. I can be like that with books too unfortunately. I'll completely forget what it was about a week after I read it. Unless of course it haunts me like The Thirteenth Tale did.

Jay said...

Looks and sounds like it's a pretty cool place to just go wander around and be alone with one's thoughts.

Mary said...

Beautiful pictures.

Kell said...

Newt--I even try that whole "repeat the name when you're introduced to someone" thing. It doesn't work. And I'm the same way with titles and even worse with authors.

Jay--We'll go next time you come up.

Mary--Welcome! And thanks. Sometimes I get lucky and they come out.

Betty said...

Love your photos. But, is that park as secluded as it seems? Do you carry pepper spray when you are there alone? Ok, Ok, I know - I'm such a MOM.

susan said...

It seems as though the older I get the worse my poor memory gets...and if it's a number, I don't even try!

Looks like a lovely $7 park.

Peggy said...

$7 is a lot to gain entry into a park. I'm glad you had a nice walk. Thanks for sharing it with us. One of my favourite things about an autumn walk is the smell especially if there are cottonwood trees. I bet it smelled nice too.

Kell said...

Betty--*Sigh* No pepper spray, but I did have my cell phone this time.

Susan--Numbers? Forget it. I have to keep a list of phone numbers with me because I don't remember anyone's number.

Peggy--Ya know, I didn't really notice any smells. I'll have to tune into that next time! And, I think $7 is a lot, too.