This morning I found out that my Tuesday hiking buddies (the pair of deer from a couple of days ago) must sleep in a little on Thursdays. They were nowhere to be found early in the morning today, those slackers!
Instead of taking the road as I have for the past few times I opted for the trails this time. Now that they were open and there was no lightning I had the perfect opportunity I really get out in the woods alone. The only person I saw was someone walking on the road as I hit the trail.
The woods in the dark is such a wild place. While I was all by myself I was not even close to being alone.
The first signs of life I saw where some crazy long worms sticking out of holes in the trail. When the beam of my headlight hit them they retracted in an instant. It was wild! There were hundreds of them along the trail.
There was wind rustling the dry leaves. For a little while I thought it was just the wind. After listening for a few seconds I quickly realized it was an assortment of random critters on the forest floor moving at night. Later in the hike I happened to catch a glimpse of one of the noise makers, a big toad.
Other times I’d feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I paused, turned, and then saw a set of beady little glowing eyes staring back at me. I wasn’t able to see exactly what it was, but I’m guessing maybe a skunk. Regardless, sometimes I saw eyes and other times I didn’t, but I knew they were there regardless.
There was a robin that I almost stepped on by accident. I’m not sure who was more surprised, me or the robin! We both jumped more than either of us would care to admit.
The hike back down was as the dawn was just starting to crack and I was able to go down without a headlamp. There weren’t nearly as many sounds in the forest, but the birds started singing. So soothing to walk alone in the woods with the birds singing a song like that!
Ahh… alone time in the woods and spending time with nature. Alone but not alone, all at the same time.