Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Daily Journal: June 10, 2014

Note: Andrew here. From now until we begin our hike next spring, I'll be keeping a short daily journal about preparations, recent hiking experiences, and just general thoughts about hiking. Few of these will be too long, and some will have pictures. You don't have to read every one, and we're not going to foist 'em all on you on Tumblr, Twitter,  or Facebook.  However, it will be a good way to keep my writing muscles in shape. I'll still be writing the weekly AT Hiking Training Plan posts, and we'll still have our usual irregular features, but this way there'll be something here every day.

Location: Schaumburg, IL
Miles Hiked Today: 0
Weather: Cool, Rainy

Tuesday evenings can be be tough ones. Not as bad as Monday, but still bad. Even then, none of the evenings are bad in a real sense. More of in a sense that they are pretty far away from the weekend. The memories of the fern shrouded trails and stunning vistas at Devil's Lake State Park near Baraboo, Wisconsin are still quite fresh, but there are still more days left this week than not before I can hike again.

It's hard to not go hiking during the work week even when I don't go to places like Devil's Lake. The Oak Openings and glacial ponds of Moraine Hills State Park, or the gentle Oak-Hickory woods and low marshlands of Kennekuk County Park are still places in nature, places I enjoy being. But places like the East Bluff high above Devil's Lake stick longer, make you more eager to return again to the same place. Even if the place is packed.

In there own way, the people that hike from the lake shore beaches and picnic areas up to the top of the bluffs are somewhat brave. I would never attempt to walk up the rocky steep paths (some of which are more appropriate to mountain goats) without good hiking shoes, let alone in flip-flops and sandals like so many people I saw. Even the "easier" ways up, along crushed rock paths that can be steep and washed out at times, can't be easy on their feet.

Places like Devil's Lake State Park, and the Baraboo Hills surrounding it, dispel the myth that the Midwest is nothing but flat corn and bean fields. It's about 400 feet (or more) from the shores of the lake to the highest points of the bluffs above. Granted, distances like that are relatively small differences in the mountains both east and west of Wisconsin. However, it's still a fairly significant height difference, and one that is large enough that it has a intermediate basin with an elevation about halfway between the extremes in the area. I became quite familiar with this fact after taking a wrong turn and ending up way away from where I thought I was heading. Turns out I went much farther up from the low point I hit on the wrong turn than I ended up going back down to the basin where my car was parked. Although there was less root and rock issues than the Appalachian Trail has, the steep inclines and declines that were also relatively long gave some practice for effort. It's good to know there are places this close to Schaumburg that can give me adequate training for the challenges of the Appalachians.

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