Sometimes I forget how easy it is to go exploring. I don't have to drive for several hours to find some place new. Hitchcock Woods is essentially in our backyard and every time I go it's different. Last time I was in the woods was when Megan came to visit. Sunday afternoon I took Bella for a walk - we spent about 4 hours just aimlessly following trail after trail. I didn't have anywhere to be, no schedule to keep, nothing urgent on my to-do list, so we just wandered. It was barely 80 degrees, sunny, breezy, and beautiful, and we were both content to just be outside.
I'm not entirely sure how far we walked. Maybe 6 miles? I am not very good at estimating distance. Here are some maps:
Does anyone care that much really? I don't know. It's easy to get lost in Hitchcock Woods if you don't know where you're going. Also, depending on recent weather conditions, they'll frequently close trails if they get washed out or unsafe. Apparently quicksand is a real and imminent threat when it rains heavily. I parked at that pink dot at the top of the map, walked down past the Cathedral Aisle Fences, and then made a clockwise loop. It would have been more circular, but the path was closed in two places: where Whitney Drive and Barton's Pond Path fork, and at Barton's Pond Bridge because the bridge was gone...likely due to the 40 days of straight rain we got in July. I had to detour up Wood Cut and then back down to my original trail.
It's a long walk. Bella was exhausted after relentlessly posing for my pictures. And despite the cooler-than-usual temperature, I was sweaty. Luckily we found a stream at the blue dot and Bella got to wade around and cool off for a little while before we headed back to the car.
Aiken is like an Equestrian's wet dream. I would love Aiken if I had even a slight interest in horses. They're pretty to look at. They make fun noises. But beyond that, nothing. Also, I hear they are expensive and time consuming, so that pretty much rules them out as a potential hobby for me. But Hitchcock Woods is a horse hot spot. We ran into quite a few on this little jaunt of ours. Bella loves them. She sits and sniffs and stares - not quite sure what to make of them. Are they friend or foe? After the fourth or fifth sighting she lost interest. It was much more difficult to pry her curious nose away from all the manure on the paths.
A successful Sunday in my humble opinion.