Thursday, September 30, 2010
Coopers Rock, Early Fall
Tuesday, Keith picked me up from work with a thermos full of coffee and another thermos full of hot chicken and noodles for my lunch, and we raced to the forest to dine. I love the picnic tables in the old campground area, it is woodsier there than in the picnic area near the park office. We saw the new playground they recently finished, and can't wait to bring the kids up to swing from it's tilty wheely monkey bars.
From the picnic area we took out along the Eagle Trail towards the Rock City parking area, following the paved road for a while till we located the Rhododendron Trail. A new Trail for a new season of hiking! The ground was damp but not very muddy, but the trail is really rocky and already blanketed with slippery leaves. It was a pleasure to explore a new area of the park. Eventually we came to a crossroads and headed back toward Rock City and the picnic area, via the Ridge Trail. It was interesting to gradually recognize where I was, we usually hike the Ridge Trail in the other direction and take a different fork back around. This time as we came around a bend I knew in my bones what would be up ahead. It is a wonderful feeling of intimacy with the land, and it draws me back to the park time and again.
We didn't see another human the whole time we were hiking, which was just fine with me, but we did cross paths with a ginormous Grey Squirrel who was too speedy to be captured on film. The smells in the park change with the seasons, some amplified by the recent damp weather. Sweet decay is creeping in to overwhelm the smells of dirt and green... Water in the creeks is cool but not yet icy... The forest floor is carpeted with acorns. I can't wait to get back.