A Great Day to Take Jackie Out in Forest Park

I love it when a plan comes together. Although I pushed myself to get work a lot of work done during the daylight hours a few days ago, I found enough daylight to go for a brief hike. Without having a plan, I ended up again on Leif Erikson Drive. This time I headed north to the Alder Trail, 1.5 miles from my car. At that point, there is almost no traffic on Leif Erikson. There was less on the Alder Trail. It climbed rapidly into a side canyon, then more gradually. There was a point at which I was breathing fairly heavily, which surprised me. Few trails in Forest Park will do that to you besides the Ridge Trail or the Powerline Trail.

In many spots on the day’s hike I saw numerous bright white patches of Trillum.  I remember wondering if the plural should be “Trillia” or “Trilliums”. Silly writing geek.

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I hooked back on the Wildwood Trail and headed south for about a third of mile until it hit 53rd Drive.  I took a brief offshoot uphill to the spot that as a teenager, I knew as Inspiration Point. At least, I think that’s where it was. I was disappointed that it did not seem very inspiring. At sixteen, an open place in the woods must have been inspiring because it let you sneak a beer, a clove cigarette, or a kiss. I’ve grown a lot since then. So have the trees. There are essentially no views.

From there it was all downhill. I encountered two interesting people on the Wild Cherry Trail. Before I’d even turned onto the trail from its terminus near my second encounter with 53rd Drive, I saw a boy about ten years old take off from the parking area, staring at what I assumed was a smart phone. He wandered down the trail for a hundred yards. I walked slowly, waiting for an adult to catch up to him. The boy then stepped off the trail, holding the phone up in front of his face. I surmised he was geocaching. He did not seem to realize Jackie and I existed. I quietly passed the lad.  Ten minutes downhill, I heard big strides behind me. I pulled off to the side to let a tall man with impossibly short shorts pass on impossibly long legs. He said ‘great day to take him out,” referring to my canine partner. I agreed. And he was off.

I was soon stuck behind a young couple. It seemed rude to try to pass them on a narrow trail, and I was in no rush.  I didn’t try to eavesdrop,  but I couldn’t help hearing a lot of twenty-something cute couple conversation. I couldn’t tell you the substance of a single utterance of either party.  I couldn’t help but think how different my hiking experiences are. I almost never hike with others, and I rarely speak. They were shiny happy people, and good for them.  It was a great day for all of us to get out in Forest Park.

About Josh Baker

"The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.” ― John Muir

Posted on March 28, 2014, in Flora and Fauna, General Hiking, Hiking with dogs, Outdoors, Photography, Solo Hiking and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I took my collie on this very hike several times. Alas she is long gone and we are far away. But I remember 7 or 8 years ago being very disappointed at “Inspiration Point” which my hiking guide book assured me was worth a visit. Ha!

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