Saturday, January 18, 2014

Gunby Creek (Again)

My last excursion to Gunby Creek was profitable in the exploratory sense, but got cut short on account of the Saints/Seahawks playoff game. Upon leaving, I vowed to return and reap the remainder of the reward and today made good on that vow.

It was a whole lot drier than the last time I was there, but a lot colder. The flooded timber on the way in had a layer of ice on most of it.

Frozen Flooded Timber

Not enough to go skating but enough to be like "Wow, there's a layer of ice on all that water."

The creeks were low and didn't threaten to flood the trail, but the trail was just as soft and muddy as if it had been flooded. There was a slip layer on a lot of it too, where the first few millimeters of soil are dry and feel solid, but then just under that it's wet, and just under that it's clay. You could see where people had been busting their asses all day. I laughed to myself, then I slipped too. Ha ha, instant karma.

I checked out a little offshoot on the gasline that I'd missed last time and found something that you don't see every day.

The skull of a hawk.

Hawk Skull

And the rest of it, scattered about nearby.

Hawk Wings

How does that happen? I've seen the remains of smaller birds that I expect to get taken down all over the woods before - some coyote or fox skulking in the brush nearby got lucky - but a hawk? I guess it could happen. The first thing I thought though was that it would be funny if it went diving down for a rabbit or something, misjudged it's altitude, slammed into the ground and knocked itself too silly to fly away. Man wouldn't that be crazy. Maybe it was really old and died on the wing. That would be even crazier. Who knows though. I guess there are a half dozen possibilities and I entertained myself considering them.

At the far end of the powerline cut I noticed an old sign, bent, faded and totally obscured by weeds.

No motorcycles.

No Motorcycles

I guess at some point they were a concern. Things have changed. These days the property is surrounded by office parks, apartments and multi-million dollar homes. I'd bet none of them have a dirt bike in their garage.

Speaking of the past. I noticed this bridge to nowhere the last time I was out there.

Bridge To Nowhere

This time I checked it out. It's about 100 feet off trail. There's a little spur trail that leads over near it but no indication whatsoever of a trail leading down to it from above or leading away from it below. Whatever trail it was part of is long gone and completely reclaimed. It's not impossible that the tree washed downstream during a flood and just happened to wedge itself in where it is today, but it really looks like it's always been there. I love stuff like that.

There was a much nicer bridge a little further on.

Suspension Bridge on Gunby Creek

Suspension, no less. Classy.

Gunby creek itself was sort-of scenic.

Gunby Creek

Photos never seem to do creekbeds justice. Maybe I need to learn how to frame a shot, or get an actual camera, or something.

Across the creek I found the main trail that I'd gone there to see. It turned out to be the right-of-way for a sewer line.


There were side trails galore over there. Most of them followed spur sewer lines too but a few led to houses or neighborhoods or random streets. One trail led to a house, and then there was a trail parallel to it that had a brand new house built right on top of it. It looked like maybe that first trail was how people got into the system from the neighborhood until a house was built on top of it. So, they made a new one, and then a house got built on top if that one too. Ha. You can't stop progress, I guess.

I'd hiked in from the lot to the boardwalk, but once I got into the woods, I started jogging and jogged all day except for when I'd stop to fiddle with the GPS, or take a photo, or if it was really steep. I don't exactly have my legs back but they feel like they're coming back and that's at least encouraging, especially given how bad I felt last weekend. I'm not sure how many miles I covered yet though, so I guess I can't declare victory yet. It would be funny if it were only two or three.

It goes without saying that on the exercise trail I got steadily passed by overweight men, old women and children.

There's a 5k out there this Monday. I'm thinking about doing it just to gauge how badly I still suck. More likely I'll just work though. If I don't gauge how badly I suck then I can go on believing that I don't.

Yeah, that's sound logic.

Tomorrow, if all goes well, I'm going up to Helen to do some exploring in the real woods with Clark and Suzy. Mmm. Real woods. Deep, dark and cold. I might even see a bear.

I can't wait!

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