Last Sunday the sun was shining brightly. I needed to get out of the house, get a little exercise and fresh air, so I decided to head down to our local Nature Trail for a stroll. The thermometer indicated that it was quite chilly (-12ºC) and it looked like there was a light breeze, so I bundled up – down coat, insulated boots, warm mitts and ear covers – and headed out. I drove down the road to the start of the trail, grabbed my camera (tucked inside my coat to keep the battery warm) and struck out along the trail.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that, on the trail along the creek, sheltered by the trees but exposed to the sun through their bare branches, I was warm – very, very warm.
Along the trail there are benches strategically placed to allow trail users to sit down and have a rest. A kind soul from Sussex Corner has been grooming the trail regularly this winter, making the footing firm and safe for people and the dogs they walk. I came to the second bench on the trail and discovered that someone had made it a feeding station for the local chickadees – one that they were obviously enjoying as they darted about over my head – grabbing seeds and rushing high into the branches with their treasures.
Along the trail, depending on the season, people have provided decorations – Christmas balls, Valentine’s hearts and so on. But the most delightful things to find are the wee doorways and windows into the world of fairies. You know they’re watching you, right?
I walked as far as the bend in the creek, and then began the trek back to the start of the trail. I’m out of shape and definitely felt it by then! I was way too warm and huffing and puffing a bit.
I was walking more slowly on the way back and discovered, to my delight, a couple of sets of footprints in some otherwise undisturbed snow.
I’m no tracker but think this might be a mouse or chipmunk trail heading down the side of the path toward a stand of trees. They’re actually quite tiny.
A little further on I came across another set of prints – perhaps a bunny?
I really need to learn more about recognizing animal prints – it would make the walks (and the photos) so much more interesting.
Although I was hot, sweaty and tired, I was sorry to end my short walk. The trail had been so very inviting. I must get back there soon! It’s a fabulous resource for both the Village of Sussex Corner and the Town of Sussex. Great walking in winter (or any time of the year) and a lot of fun for biking. I can’t wait to get mine out of storage and head out again.
No need to hibernate when there is such a lovely place to go!