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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hike at Martic Township Park

On my way to some familiar but still somewhat unexplored trails I took a detour. I decided to check out Martic Township Park. I knew nothing about it, but I had seen the sign a few times. I turned into the entrance and it looked like a dirt driveway to a low rent property. As my car struggled to get up the steep dirt/stone driveway I was led into a very small stone parking lot only big enough for a few cars. The only thing there were a couple of signs with the name of the park and a basic trail guide and some fliers.

When I saw the trail which looked like it led straight up a 40 degree slope, I almost left without exploring. I decided to check it out anyway, so I strapped on my new fanny pack and water bottle, I didn't want to risk dehydration again, and grabbed my camera.

The first 100 or so yards up that hill made me want to turn back, but it was so beautiful I wanted to see more. I had no idea what was in store for me, but I had to at least explore a little bit more. I reached the top of the hill and saw that the only way to go was either up more and over, or to go down hill towards a stream that was marked on the park map. I was tired of going up, so I chose to descend towards the stream.

I traveled down hill towards the valley and kept wondering how much further, and wishing that I had boots on instead of sneakers, but what I was seeing kept drawing me further down the path. The trail leveled out for a very short stretch, and I saw that the trail was kind of steep ahead of me. I thought that this would be a good time to turn back since I knew that the trip back was all up hill. I paused and looked around and took a few photos, then I heard the sound of water. I had to press on and at least go to the basin to see the stream.

I reached the bottom of the hill and saw the rolling stream. That was the payoff moment! Right then I forgot about the hills and journey and took in the sounds of the water babbling on by, and the birds and absolutely nothing else! I felt like my journey was just begining, and didn't care about the return trip. I had so much to explore.

I followed the trail across and then along the stream into nearly pristine territory. I was so amazed by the serenity and the rock formations. The stream wasn't very large, only about 4 to 8 feet wide and rarely more than a foot or two deep, but it rolled over rocks and boulders creating such a soothing sound that cleared the soul of any stray thoughts that might distract you from enjoying this moment.

I finally had to turn back and the return trip was just as enjoyable. I even found a millipede wandering the same path as me. It was so quiet, you could hear the leaf litter crinkle under his feet. There was so much more to see, so I will be back to explore other trails soon. But next time I will wear boots.

These are trails that I am glad that I didn't explore until now. If I had tried to wander these paths before today I surely would have turned back long before I discovered all of the beauty that was just over the hill. I was not prepared or fit enough to explore these trails until now. I would have missed out on all of what I saw if I had tried trek these trails just a few months ago. I'm so glad I waited.

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