Friday, November 25, 2016

It's Too Nice Out to Stay Indoors

Hey there, Friends.

First, I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving (or an excellent Thursday if you weren't celebrating). Mine was very nice, thanks for asking.  I also scored leftovers from dinner at my parents' house which is awesome because that means I don't have to cook for a few days.  It's like mini-Thanksgiving all over again!

Did you go out into the swarm and battle through shopping on Black Friday, Friends?  I sure as hell did not. I can think of nothing that anyone needs -- including myself -- that would make it worth it to get involved in that nightmare.  In fact, I decided to do pretty much the opposite.

As I've mentioned before, I have set myself the goal of trying to visit all of Scenic Hudson's parks. I haven't gotten through very many of them yet.  It's a work in progress. I didn't have to work today, and it was pretty nice out for the end of November.  It was overcast outside, but it wasn't raining, so I decided it was time to go out on an adventure and explore another park.  I didn't want to go too far since the weather was looking a bit iffy.

I settled on Illinois Mountain since it was just across the river.  If it's not raining here, then it shouldn't be raining there.  I wish I had a deeper or more profound reason for my choice, but that's it.

Backtracking a bit here....

I went out on a hike this past weekend.  My mother implored me to stick to going to the Walkway Over the Hudson or the rail trail system.  Why?  Apparently it was the first day of deer hunting season, and people would be "trigger happy and shoot at anything that moves".  This was over breakfast, when we met at a local diner. This will be relevant later, promise.

Back to today.

I'm proud to say that I found the place with no problems, and Google Maps did not screw with me today and take me to some unused, long-closed park entrance.  (Google Maps and I have had some issues.)

It was so peaceful.  I think I saw four other people the entire time I was there.  I hadn't realized how much I really needed to just get away, get outdoors and unplug from the world for a little while. It's so relaxing and grounding to be out in the woods -- listening to the crows and geese call as they fly overhead, watching the chipmunks and squirrels scurry by, listening to the crunch of the leaves under your feet.  Hiking might not be everyone's idea of relaxing, but it works for me.

I took some pictures for you, Friends!  Want to see them?  Fantastic.  We're doing it anyway, so scroll on past the pictures if you want to read on.

Here we go

Pretty lake in the park

The vines are shaped like a heart!

Poor tree has some issues

Not sure what is going on with this tree.  Looks like someone had built something on it at one point.

Someone built this on the side of the trail

Moss was about the only sign of green 

Figured out where the geese were headed

So, I got through the Red trail and the White trail.  I had just gotten to the head for the Blue trail when the sky started to get noticeably darker.  Well.....shit.  I'm all for going out and exploring in iffy weather, but I'm not totally stupid.  Starting another trail going even farther away from my car when it looks like it might start pouring at any minute?  Not a good plan.  I turned around and headed back the way I came.  At least if the heavens opened up there was that little shelter that someone had built next to the trail.  Might come in handy.

As I was walking back I had the idea that it would be fun to shoot a video of hiking through the woods.  It would be like you were with me, Friends!  In what I considered to be a stroke of brilliance, I decided to do it using Hyperlapse, so it would be fast hiking.  No point in boring you to tears with a long video, the soundtrack of which would be me crunching leaves underfoot, squashing through mud, and breathing loudly.  Nobody needs to hear that. It might have come out like crap, I really didn't care. I'd look at it when I got back home.  If it worked, cool.  If not?  So be it.

And that's when I heard it.  At first I wasn't sure what it was exactly, but it was loud.  After it happened a few more times I realized it was gun shots. Fuck.  I totally forgot about hunting season!

This was a bit troubling, Friends. I realized I still had a good mile or so to get back to the park proper and out of the woods.

--I can't tell where these shots are coming from.  I think they are from a good distance behind me somewhere, but the sound kind of echoes and bounces around, so I'm not confident about that.

--I hope this is someone who knows what they are doing and realizes that a deer wouldn't be prancing about in a public park wearing a red fleece.  I know I have dark hair, but I look nothing like a fucking deer, so please don't accidentally shoot me.

--WTF is a hunter doing in a Scenic Hudson park anyway?  I thought that was against the rules.  I wonder if I have service to pull up the website and check.

PLEASE NOTE: seasonal hunting is permitted on Town of Lloyd property—wear bright-colored clothing during hunting seasons.

Okay, I obviously glossed over that part when reading earlier.  I have no idea where the property boundaries are.  Hopefully not too damn close.

I have no choice but to keep going since I need to get back to my car.  This is suddenly far less peaceful and relaxing than it was on the hike in.  The sky is still getting darker, and now there are gun shots in the distance.  To add to the mood, the woods have gone utterly silent.  No more birds calling as they fly overhead, no sign of chipmunks or squirrels running about.  It's like everything went into hiding.

Friends, have I ever told you about the nickname a friend of mine has given me?  I don't think I have, but it's pretty relevant here.  She lovingly refers to me at times as Apocalyptic Annie. It's pretty fitting, honestly.  You see, I have a tendency to look at situations that seem potentially dangerous and immediately start assessing how it could all go horribly wrong.  Like my own version of The Gashlycrumb Tinies. Partially it's because I have a slightly warped sense of humor, and the scenarios get more imaginative and far-flung as I go along.  The other part?  If something horrible is about to happen it would be nice to have some sort of plan in place on how to handle it, no matter how half-assed it may be.  It's good to be prepared, damn it!  I know that it is ridiculous, and I realize that 99% of the time not a damn thing is actually going to go wrong.  My brain just goes there. It's like, "If x should happen, then I will do y," and then I just carry on doing whatever it is I am doing anyway. Let's not get all deep and psychological about it, Friends.

Now that you've had a little stroll around the inner workings of my mind, let's get back to the story. So I'm in the woods, all alone, and apparently someone is hunting relatively nearby.  You so know that Apocalyptic Annie mode kicked in.  My brain decides on two things:

1) Go faster. Get the hell out of here and back to the car quickly, and preferably without being shot.
2) Keep shooting video.

Yeah.  That was my brain's fabulous idea on how to handle the situation.  Haul ass? Obvious. Shoot video?

You see, my theory was that if the worst should happen and a hunter did shoot me on accident, there would be video evidence. Like my own little screwed up version of The Blair Witch Project, except I wasn't going to shoot video of my face all up in the camera.

Oh yeah, I totally did it.

Nothing happened, which should be clear since I am sitting here in my home writing this.  Maybe I shouldn't even admit to having done it, but whatever.  Think of it as a new little personality quirk of mine you get to discover.  At least maybe you'll find it a bit amusing.

What did we learn today, Friends?

--Don't go galavanting about in the woods during hunting season.
--Listen to your Mother when she warns you about said hunting season.
--Maybe remember to tell someone where you are going before going off into the woods during hunting season.
--My brain will come up with the most ridiculous and half-assed ideas.

I think that about covers it all.

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