You see, restlessness is my weakness, and walking is my remedy for this. I used to be conscious of the number of steps and relied to the dot on stepcounters, but I have since let go and just walked on and on and on.
Walking allows me to bask in the earth’s beauty – feel the sunshine or raindrops on my face; listen to the simple symphony of the waves, wind, birds, or crickets; let my imagination run as I gaze at the clouds, mountains, trees, streams, or stars.
These are some of the recently taken photos that came to mind with this week’s challenge. And I’m humming to some upbeat tunes in my walking playlist as I am writing this blog.
During my recent trip to Chicago, I grabbed the opportunity to meet up with a good friend from way back, Roselle. Two decades ago, when we were still at the University, we became close when we joined an academic organization, and since them she and I shared an apartment until we graduated. A few years after we started working, she and her husband moved to the US, and we kept in touch through social media. We met up every several years thereafter when she would visit the Philippines. I was so excited I get to be the one to visit her this time.
Before we met, Roselle asked me what I would like to do for the weekend. I asked if we could do something that involved exploring the outdoors. She said she’d bring me to the Turkey Run State Park in Indiana – it’s where her family goes to regularly to trek. It sounded enticing, so I said let’s do it!
So on a Friday night, she picked me up after my paint party at Park Ridge, IL. We drove to her home in St. John, IN. We had an early start the next Saturday morning, where we drove a couple of hours (108 miles) from St. John to Marshall, IN. We arrived at the Turkey State Park at 11 o’clock in the morning – Marshall had a one hour difference from our point of origin.
It was a beautiful day – the weather was perfect for walking – even though it was late spring/early summer, it was not yet too hot, and the shades of the trees was enough to keep us cool.
As per the park’s map, there were 11 trails – each having different levels of ruggedness. We planned to take Trails 3 and 5. The map said that Trail 3 was very rugged, and was 1.7 miles long. Trail 5 was moderate, and was 0.7 miles long.
So off we went, and crossed the footbridge over Sugar Creek. I watched people canoeing and swimming in the water.
I had to be careful of my steps as we passed through the ravines of Trail 3. There were steep and rough rocks at the trail, with some parts having water passing through. There were small pretty falls because it was still late spring. I was told in a few weeks they would dry up in time for summer. I met some furry friends along the way – one of them had to be carried by the fur-parent as they climbed up a rock.
We passed through lush woodlands for Trail 5. I love how the sun would peak through the canopy of the trees. There was hardly any people in that trail – the place was peaceful and quiet, and left me to my imagination. Several times while walking I would imagine I was an actor in a scene in movies that crossed my mind – mainly involving forests.
It took us about 3 hours to finish the trails – because along the way we got lost and ended up doing some parts of Trail 9. At the campsite we rested under the trees, munching on light snacks and refreshments. We headed off shortly after and had barbecue with Roselle’s friends at a small park halfway through St. John.
It was a fun, tiring day – and what better way exploring the beautiful outdoors than to spend it with a good old friend! We had some giggles reminiscing college days, and I’m happy Roselle and I got to spend time together during this trip. It’s the simple things like this that I cherish the most.
Recently I went with my sister and brother-in-law for an out of town weekend trip to Wilsons Promontory National Park in Victoria, or as it is more commonly called Wilsons Prom. We drove 230 kilometers from Melbourne (around 3 and a half hours) to the southernmost tip of Australia’s main island.
Our first stop was at the Whisky Bay, where we walked up a trail of about 500 meters to get to the viewing deck. It was windy and cold at the time, but I was just astounded by the beautiful view of the beach and the gigantic waves. There was only a handful of people in the area which allowed me to contemplate more during that walk.
Next we went to the Visitor Centre to get a map of the different trails. I read through a lot of information about Wilsons Prom in the Visitor Centre. There is also a souvenir shop and a convenience store next to it. The highlight of that short stopover at the Visitor Centre was the flock of colorful birds lounging around, like the Crimson Rosellas and Laughing Kookaburras. There was this especially playful juvenile Crimson Rosella that instantly felt close to me – that he literally perched on my shoulder and my head! It was so funny, and at the moment I missed my doggies at home. Animals are so awesome (and charmingly cheeky at times)!
On our drive to the next trail, we had to slow down because of some animals crossing. In this photo there was a couple of emus crossing the road as we were about to park for our next trail: the Wildlife Walk.
The Wildlife Walk was a trail that took about 45 minutes to an hour to complete. Here, we saw several kangaroos eating their afternoon snack. We were really hoping to get a glimpse of wombats, but since they are nocturnal and shy animals, we didn’t see any (even when my sister and brother-in-law went back to the trail the next day). The closest that we could see to a wombat was the entrance to their burrows and their poop.
Although overnight camping can be done at Wilsons Prom (so as long as a permit is secured at the Visitor Centre), we opted to drive to the nearby town of Foster and stayed at the Prom Country Lodge. The owners of the lodge also run a cafe called Cafe Max, named after their lovable labrador retriever named Max. Being the good host that he was, Max the labrador greeted me when I asked the cafe owners what time dinner was to be served.
The next morning, we drove to our next trail: Miller’s Landing. Kangaroos were having breakfast as we parked the car. Miller’s Landing trail was an easy 2 kilometers walk where we passed through lush greens and trees to get to the Corner Inlet Conservation Reserve. We ended at the beach to watch birds and look at the mangroves. It was a lovely morning walk for our healthy dose of sunshine. Again, no walk was complete without us attempting to see a wombat – which as usual ended with us only seeing the entrance to their burrows.
Going back to the city we had lunch at one of the towns at a quaint restaurant called The Rusty Windmill. I enjoyed a latte, scones, and my mixed vegetable curry with apple chutney and yogurt.
Some things that we kept in mind during our visit to Wilsons Prom: to do an overnight hiking a permit needed to be secured; no dogs, cats and other animals allowed; no feeding or interfering with the wild; respecting the surroundings and the creatures at all times. Wilsons Prom is also surrounded by marine protected areas.