Hiking Club Trail #27
Date: September 8, 2018
Location: New London, MN
Length: 4.0 Miles
Difficulty: Moderate/Hard (Mostly hills)
Cumulative Hiking Club Miles: 78.1 of 197
This one was rough not only was it hot and humid - this park is nothing but hills. As soon as you get to the top of one you are immediately going down then right back up again. Because of this each mile felt like 3 miles.
I wish this park had more HCT signs - we didn't get lost but it would have been a little reassuring if there wasn't such a huge distance between the signs.
Had my Mom, Penny and Winston along. I realized how long it had been since I had Penny out on the trail almost immediately. She still has such a hard time when we come across other dogs on the trail. I am trying desperately to distract her from it but to no avail. She gets so anxious and even once got off the leash causing a small situation and just adding to my frustration on this day.
My mom is also dealing with some knee issues that had mostly gone away before attempting this park. But the hills cause some issues. Half way through she was doing ok but the last mile brought to life my biggest fear of taking my legally blind mom on the trails with me.
What happens if we have an injury on the trail???
She had mentioned to me that her knees were feeling weak. We had just under a mile to go and we were pretty deep in the woods so we were trying to take it easy. We come to a bigger downhill and she is having some trouble seeing due to the shade and she really isn't trusting her knee. I am helping her down the hill when she suddenly falls - I just happen to pull Winston out of the way...
Now she has fallen before and really she is pretty good at it but this time it was different. Usually she falls and is on the ground laughing - this time she is in pain... I quick tie Penny off to a tree and hope no other dog walks by - quick hook Winston to another tree and then go try and help her up. She manages to stand up but I can tell she is in pain and I am hoping there is an easy way out of the woods and that I don't have to try and drag her up and down hills until we get to the car.
Long story short we very slowly make our way about 1/4 of a mile to a road. That road isn't on my map so I am not exactly sure where we are. I want to leave her at this point and go find the car but because the road (and the parking lot I parked in) are not on the map I am not even sure which way to go to find the car (this seems like a huge miss for this park as I almost always know the way back to the car). Good thing a car came past and the woman (DNR Park worker) gave my mom a ride back to the car and I walked with the dogs back.
Good news I no longer have the extreme fear that we won't be able to figure it out in an emergency (and I ALWAYS carry a first aid kit for both the humans and the dogs). And I am very glad the injury wasn't much worse.
We will be taking a little break from hiking - especially the hilly parks - in order to heal. But can't wait to get back out there.
OH BY THE WAY I RECEIVED MY 75 MILE PATCH - Mom and Penny will get theirs at the next park (we are almost caught up to each other which means I won't have to do any more parks for the 2nd time.
I started this journey less than a year ago - I am officially 78 miles in but unofficially I have done almost double that amount...
Labor Day = the end of summer. I don't know about any of you but I like to stay close to home on this holiday. Most of the state parks are full, traffic is heavy - just not my style. The weekend after Labor Day is my favorite though because suddenly the Parks that were full over the summer become empty just like that!
So in an effort to catch my Mom up to me on her hiking club miles we headed out to William O'Brien to do a 6 miler and finally get her to within 2 parks of me.
It was HOT and HUMID so the park was more empty than I thought it was going to be which was a pleasant surprise. This is my 4th time out to William O'Brien this year and this Park never disappoints.
Beautiful scenery. You can see that we are starting to change from summer to fall. Some leaves are changing colors, the field is starting to take on a pinkish tint, flowers are starting to die and the light is taking on a more golden glow. We are coming into my favorite time of year and I couldn't be more excited.
This time on the HCT I opted to do it in reverse - to get the hilly section out of the way in the beginning as my mom has been having some arthritis flare ups in her knee. This worked out great by the time she started to tire we were on mostly flat ground which is a lot easier to handle.
Ran across some wildlife: 2 turtles, leopard frogs, a snake, 2 rabbits and a deer. Winston was having a great time with this - even though he is mostly deaf now if he saw it he'd chase it as far as he could on the leash.
This park is one of my favorites and I still kick myself that I have lived fairly close to it for most of my life and my first trip there happened last September... If you get a chance go check it out!