My little suburban safari did not go as planned. But that was the point — to go outside my comfort zone, to stretch my limitations, and to face the unexpected, the unknown, and the unplanned for.
The first thing that threw me for a loop was that, immediately after the first big turn, Hungary Creek transformed into a reedy, rivuleted flood plain covered in chest-high grass. I had never previously navigated terrain like that, and it was more than a little nerve-racking. That was a very, very long stretch for sure. But I learned a little about nerve, and how to pick your way, and foot placement. Proud to say I didn’t even once get myself sunk below the shoe tops.
Once I was back to woods and thickets I was alright. It was easy walking for the most part, although circuitous because of fences and property lines. Eventually however the creek ran through a narrow culvert. When I emerged onto the road I found myself smack-dab in the middle of the Hoehns Lake gated community, surrounded by “No Trespassing” signs. The creek was running straight down the middle, and they would’ve called the cops for sure if I had stuck to course. Didn’t have much choice besides high-tailing it down the private road to the main road.
Of course, along the way I got barked at by several dogs and challenged by a frowning resident, but they weren’t anything I couldn’t handle with a few apologies, some raised hands, and some smiles.
Back on the main road I skirted the private property, regained the creek on the other side, and continued my adventure. Eventually though I ran into an 8′ high chain link fence with barbed wire ontop — another community — Laurel Lakes this time. See selfie at right. It’s the only one I took during the trip, because that unfortunately the end.
I had covered roughly 5 miles at that point. So I ambled over to Laurel Park, sat down in the shade of mighty pine, had a snack, and took a catnap. Then I hiked the 3 miles home.
What did I learn this trip?
- Don’t panic in high grass and start hurrying to get out — you might step in a hole and find yourself with a twisted ankle while up to your neck in mud. Pick your way with your feet cock-eyed so you press the grass down ahead of you. You can see where you’re headed quite a bit better, you make a kind of mat that keeps your feet from sinking into the goop, and it gives the snakes more time to flee ahead of you.
- As I’m getting older I have to slow down. I am no longer as sure-footed as a billy goat. If I was to stumble and jam my leg into a tangle of logs and flood debris, I’d spiral break a leg.
- No matter how light you’re traveling, throw in a pair of dry socks. I was lucky my feet didn’t get soaked. If they had, I would’ve been miserable.
- Old-fashioned blanket-covered canteens are twice as good as the modern kind. They ride better and bounce less. My 2-liter, pill-shaped canteen was more comfy that a 1-liter bullet-styled one.
- Hemp-cotton blends dry almost as fast at poly-cotton blends. My hemp-blend shirt kept me cool and dry.
Although I didn’t successfully walk the whole creek, it was still and fun and educational day!
Original Post from 10/26/19
This suburban waterway runs through the powerline easements of my neighborhood, between parks and housing developments, and winds its way in and out of dense thickets.
I’m calling it an suburban safari.
Once upon a time a safari was understood to be a trip to Africa to hunt large game. Technically though, safari is a Swahili word that means “journey” and that’s mostly what it means these days — a journey through unfamiliar territory.
Your assignment this week is to go on a safari. Like me, you don’t need to go very far to find unexplored territory.
safari: Martial Arts Training Involution #180
Take a hike, go for a paddle or mountain bike ride, etc. Carefully select an activity that will be challenging based on your experience level. Beginners, seek the advice and help of friends and loved ones who know your skills and read my book The Wildwood Workbook: Nature Appreciation and Survival.
At a bare minimum, tell at least two people where you’re going, take a fully stocked possibles bag, a fully charged cell phone, and plenty of water.
If you enjoyed his training involution you’d probably enjoy my books. Why not check one out?