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Nature kick

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

When I started taking the occasional walk back in May, I was mostly just starting at home, walking out to the road, and then turning left or right as the mood took me. Those strolls became far less frequent, if I could have claimed any frequency at all, when I started playing pickleball again. But the last couple of weeks, my thumb/wrist has been acting up, so I've been walking again, and instead of just picking a route near home, I've been wandering out to various parks and nature areas. Yesterday I went to the University of Michigan's Matthei Botanical Gardens, where a swan (just one!), a ton of bunnies, and even a few deer awaited me.

There's three or four nature trails at Matthei, but the longest one, a 1.2 mile loop, was apparently unavailable. Not having been there in ages, I believed that the bridge over the creek being blocked off meant I couldn't get over there. But then on my last loop around the rest of the trails, I saw and heard a bunch of kids over on the far side of the water. So I took the fork of the trail I'd skipped the previous two times to see if there was another way to get there. And wouldn't you know it, there was indeed. But I figured that out at 8:45 PM, with light starting to fade already. Short little dilemma moment, about 30 minutes of daylight, 1.2 mile loop (1.3 with needing to get to where they started measuring). Yeah, sure, I can do it, just need to walk fast. No problem.

Except...and I really should have seen this coming because my wandering Tuesday evening kept getting interrupted by stopping to stalk bunnies to try and take pictures, or watching the heron sitting out in the middle of the pond. Turns out that over on the other side of the creek were where the deer were hanging out. So there was about 5 or more minutes of stalking those guys to try and get pictures. Couple youngsters were as curious about me as I was about them, that was amusing. Look above and you'll see the result of me trying to use flash to get a decent pic of a young buck hiding in the shadows. Funny thing, he didn't run away when I used the flash.

So I got done with the 1.2 mile look at about 9:20 rather than the 9:10 I had anticipated. And then I realized that I still had about three quarters of a mile to go to get back to the car, because that previously unexplored bit of trail was a bit longer than I thought. Let's just say that last mile was the fastest I'd walked in a decent while.

I was hustling just to get to 18 minute miles when I was walking last week, and thinking that I didn't have much faster in me right now. The 4th mile of yesterday's wander was covered in 17:34, as per the Pacer app I've recently started using. I might have cheated a bit by jogging for a minute of that time, the first time I've actually tried that. Not sure I had much more than a minute of that in me, but maybe I'll try another minute or two next time out. The darkness and uneven ground kind of made me not try it again last night. Anyway, I wandered out of the trail after 9:30, having passed a trio of kids who were smoking some sort of substance (clove cigarettes, if I judged the smell correctly), and going deeper into the darkness that I was scurrying to escape. Nice little 4.1 mile jaunt, all told.

Annoying part, I look at the stats this morning, and with the other movement I did during the day, I ended Tuesday at 4.99 miles of movement all told. If I'd seen that, I totally would have paced around my bedroom a a few steps just to get to that even 5 mile mark.

I posted a few more pics, including a couple of vids of me chattering at the animals emoticon


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