Monday, February 11, 2008

A Walk in the Woods

Part of my New Year's Resolution is to go camping five times this year and that always entails hiking as well. I've been a little worried about that as I've had a very minor knee sprain that just doesn't seem to want to completely heal. It doesn't hurt, really, but it's not quite fully extending either. Don't leave any dumb comments about telling me to go to the doctor - I'm not doing it. But! I have been doing a little bit of testing to see if I'll really be able to hike the Honey Creek Loop at Big South Fork in May.

On Saturday, I went to Radnor Lake, just south of Nashville. Radnor Lake used to be a "State Natural Area," which I guess is the state's way of saying "nice try, but you're no State Park, honey!" but now I guess it's finally a state park, if a puny one. It's pretty (see pic, which I stole off the web), but I have had issues with it in the past. For starters, it's right smack in the middle of a bunch of upscale residential areas and a few years ago, the people who run it - which I think is an uneasy mix of government and some hippie vegetarian volunteer types - began charging you admission if you drove to Radnor Lake, but it was free if you walked or biked....which of course meant that only the rich white folks who live around it ever went, because YOU CAN'T GET THERE unless you drive! It's a long way away! So Radnor Lake was sort of like a really big Gramercy Park, a private place for the rich. I boycotted and since then they've rescinded that policy. I'm SURE it was because of my boycott, about which I told no one and in fact never really knew I was doing.

There are a few trails there, none of them particularly challenging, but this little test was really about distance, to see how long I could go before I started thinking about my knee rather than the scenery. There were deer and turtles and Canadian geese and regular old ducks and some screechy kinds of bird-type things. I also saw my friend Teri M., who once got her finger broken in a bar fight. She sued and lost, mainly because one of her star witnesses was our friend Chris K., who wasn't a very reliable witness since the defense called about thirteen other people, all of whom saw Chris K snorting up cocaine like a Hoover earlier in the evening of said bar fight. Also, he once called the police and made them come to his house because he was, uh, convinced that there were robbers hiding in tied-up garbage bags in his vestibule, just waiting to burst out of them and kill him for his drugs. Yes, that's what he told the police who then said "uh, well, let's talk about these drugs...." and that was, as they say, that. So Teri M lost her case, but she really shouldn't have; she just called the wrong witness.

Where was I? Oh yeah, the hike. I did pretty well; I got three or so miles in, mostly level around the edge of the lake. It was a nice day, so the 30,000 other people who decided to go to Radnor Lake were sort of getting on my nerves; one trio of women who kept vying with me for the lead on the trail were talking for a LONG time about a mashed potato bar they were planning for one of their daughter's upcoming wedding and I just thought that sounded both nuts and passé at the same time. But at the same time I sort of wanted to get invited to see how creative they were going to get with it. I mean, if you're going to have a mashed potato bar at a wedding, just make the damned cake out of mashed potatoes, I say. Or the dress! Yes, that would have been good, the dress. It sounds like Project Runway challenge. "And I made the hat out of gravy!"

There were also a lot of children and parents, all of whom were ignoring the bajillion signs that said STAY ON TRAILS - FRAGILE ENVIRONMENT so I did secretly laugh when one little kid who ignored the sign fell down when he tripped over a tree root OFF TRAIL and his parents lost their minds about how they really should put up railings. I mean if there were a bunch of railings everywhere, it wouldn't be a natural area, it'd be the second story of a what I wanted to say. Sometimes I really am surprised how tunnel-visiony parents can be. It's really not about you ALL THE TIME. It's about ME. Plus, Radnor Lake is all about the Zen and the loons and the geese and the deer and the solitude and the introspection (or so all their marketing materials would have you believe) so I was irritated that there were screaming kids making me all tense and their parents yelling MADISON! GET BACK HERE! It made me kind of hostile; I was glad to get back in my nice quiet car at the end of it.

And then the next day I did two and a half miles at the Shelby Bottoms Greenways. I think if I keep up the weekend practice, I'll be good for May. I have to introduce elevation next week.


Debi said...

It should be okay to smack other people's children, or at least smack random parents, don't you think?

You walk sounds lovely, honey.

Rooie said...

Well, there was that lake there, all handy for the drowning and such.

Happy hiking!