I’m almost afraid to even mention the weather this weekend. I’m more superstitious than I’d admit to, I guess. I have this feeling that no sooner will I mention that it is not too hot here that the solar flood gates will open with a vengeance and the temperature will rise into the mid-90’s and turn humid.
It’s a (very) rare summer in southern Pennsylvania when summer hiking is pleasant. But this year the weather has routinely been nice enough that I can hike in the woods in mid-afternoon and still enjoy the experience.
So yesterday Dog and I headed into the woods, on a trail I haven’t walked for a bit. Many of my hikes this summer have been to examine the trail that I take with the camp kids on Thursdays, so I can know what I am likely to see and to identify interesting plants that I don’t already know. But this week, Dog and I took another trail down into the valley.
It was a pleasant afternoon. The woods are a bit dry, though not dangerously so. Dog enjoys these walks enormously, sniffing under as many logs as he can. We walk down along a grassy two-track road. The trail isn’t much used, if at all. The grass is nearing knee-high. The breeze kept various biting insects at bay. Our walk was mostly shaded, the leafy canopy too thick to allow in much sunlight.
Midsummer, even on an afternoon as pleasant as this one, is not the time when the forest is at its most active, so our walk was a nearly silent one. A few wood thrush sang their fluted call, a towhee questioned our presence, and a single chipmunk darted across the trail as fast as if his tail was on fire. But mostly, the walk was quiet and peaceful, lacking in drama of any kind. That’s what I liked about it. Forays into the woods don’t need drama to be interesting to me. The lack of drama is its own reward, a respite from the bustle of daily life. That alone makes it worthwhile.