During this pandemic I’ve made going for a walk on the Ice Age Trail an essential party of my mental health and wellness plan, as have many people. In order to maintain a safe physical distance I try to hike on days of the week and during times of day when there may be fewer people. As a retired person that’s easy for me to do. I’m also making a point of visiting segments of the Ice Age Trail (and other trails) that are not as popular and tend to get less foot traffic.
Despite these precautions I still come across people as I hike. This is fine by me as it’s an opportunity for a brief social interaction, something I’ve missed while spending a lot of time at home. When I see someone approaching I usually step off the trail a bit (not enough to damage vegetation) to allow the other person to pass. I’m delighted to report that I am frequently rewarded for this simple action.
One day, as I made room for a hiker to pass and stood for a moment to enjoy the woods around me, a turkey flew out of a nearby tree. On that same hike I stepped off the trail and spotted a toad that was doing its best to blend in with the dead leaves all around it. On yet another hike I yielded the trail and was pleased to find some hard-to-find morel mushrooms, which were small but enough for the next morning’s omelet.
The moral (or should I say, the morel) of this story: There are so many wonderful things waiting to be discovered if I slow down and look for them….Along the Ice Age Trail.
Patti Herman live in the City of Lodi with her husband, Bill Welch. A retired educator, Patti is glad to be living in the Lodi Valley where she is surrounded by so much natural beauty, including the beauty to be found along the Ice Age Trail.