twenty two

I went to Kickapoo Valley Reserve for a Spring hike and met gal pal Blogger Val (say that 22 times really fast!) before the record setting heat wave. Guess what?? I was 22 minutes EARLY and didn't get detoured or lost. Like I did last year. I also wasn't struggling with such a heavy heart.

What a difference being on time makes!

Val planned a wonderful hike for us. With all the right stuff. Rolling hills, unexpected discoveries and wildflowers. There was instant

Flowers were just emerging. They were so delicate, yet commanding attention with their stunning shades of color and tenacity. 

Ferns were just emerging

We immersed ourselves in nature and caught up with each others lives.

Val's dog Charlie provided cuteness and was a good patient trail boss. Tank stayed home. I wanted to relax and as awesome as he is, Tank has endless energy on the trail. I knew I made the right decision when I found out dogs should be leashed on KVR trails in Spring. Tank is rarely leashed. My arm would have been at least a few inches longer.

Part of Vals master hiking plan was for us to hike a path near an old stone foundation. You might not know this about me, but I LOVE rocks!!! Big ones, little ones, old ones, new ones, you name it. I have always loved looking for rocks! They fascinate me. I still tumble rocks, have them everywhere in my gardens and place them along our house ledges. 

the stone foundation looked so far away

We walked up and around the trail a short distance, and much to my surprise there it was. SO cool!! We both lost track of time exploring all it's wonder. Like two kids in a playhouse.

looking down, into the old structure


Anyone know what the metal thingee across the entrance is???

close-up of the end of the metal bar

There were cool things inside the stone foundation. Some of them growing, others were glowing.

a colorful cove
(lookee at the shades in the rock!) 

There were many funny memorable moments throughout the hike that made us laugh out loud.

Laughter is good for the soul.

Perhaps the funniest moment happened at the stone foundation.

I was so excited to explore the stone structure. Without giving it a thought, I scrambled down to get a closer look inside. Ducking under a very low down tree, while carrying my heavy long lens/camera. My big travel camera backpack got stuck and I had to 
get on my knees to crawl through. I said a few choice words. I did not notice how Val got down to the stone foundation entrance.

You think I would have chosen a different way back up to the trail.

Nope. It was a repeat scene in reverse. Once again I ducked under the tree branch, and had to crawl on my knees. I stood and looked up to my left. There was Val. Standing above me, up on a dirt bank. Grinning from ear to ear "you know you could have just taken this way" LOL!! 

Guess you had to be there. Apparently I have to do everything the difficult way. 

(by Val) of me getting off the ground

Throughout our hike, Val took mini Lego/Squatch photos at key locations. I am always amazed at how fast that woman moves!! Blink and you'll miss your opportunity to get a shot of her setting up her masterful mini scenes. I managed a couple shots of her in action. You can view them on her blog (link above).

low growing colorful fungi

(Val instantly knew the name, me ummmm...)

so pretty!

You didn't think our walk in the woods would be without finding faces, did you?

Val was looking for a tree she saw on a prior hike, that reminded her of me. Here it is: 

squooshy face

I wasn't sure if I saw the face on the tree at first. I don't usually look for them. If only I had a photo of Val making a squooshy face. Confirming what I saw.

There were a couple down trees off the trail that caught my eye. I couldn't get a good vantage point of the first one, but this tree bump made me smile:

See the parrot face?

After our hikes, I always wonder why I did not take more photos ~ and then I remember. I was too busy enjoying myself. Soaking up nature in realtime. Not through a lens.

We both had a really good time!!

My favorite photo of the day. A big smile, that you don't have to see. During another funny moment at the stone foundation. It says it all...



Far Side of Fifty said...

What a great hike with Val, I am so glad you two can hike together! Gene says that the iron part was probably a support for the roof or a tarp as it looks like the tin roof has fallen in the interior. Cool place to explore!!

aurora said...

That makes total sense, tell Gene thanks!

Linda said...

Oh wow. What an amazing day! That rock enclosure is cool!! Yes, laughter is so good for the soul, as is exploring and feeling that sense of wonder and joy with a good friend. I love wildflowers and have to constantly stop to photograph them, but I use my phone. Haha. Not quite the same.

Shirley said...

I wonder if that was an old milk house? Or root cellar?
Nothing like a good nature hike with friends (Charlie counts!)

Val Ewing said...

Wow that photo of me reminds me of Home Improvement's Mr. Wilson on the other side of the fence!
I love that shot!

Obviously I was laughing. Such an enjoyable hike too!
That old foundation is like a highlight of the trail and it always takes me by surprise.

We sure had a lot of laughs on that trail. You would love it in the fall's glorious colors!