This week, I was afraid we'd have trouble meeting our 3.1 mile/day goal because it's finals week and the weather has been questionable. Finals week is usually a good week for walking because I only have to go to campus for about 8 hours to collect final papers and then I can bring them all home to grade, so we can get lots of short walks in when I need a break. But this week we went straight from winter to summer. There's been 80 degree days and lots of rain, so the times that were good for walking haven't necessarily matched up with the times that I was home.
On Wednesday, I didn't have any finals to collect, so I got up and went straight to the couch with my coffee and a stack of papers to power through some grading. Barley was the best girl and didn't chase her brother or try to eat his food or snack out of the litterbox. She let me get two full classes finished before lunch, so we celebrated in the afternoon by checking out a new park.
Hogback Ridge Metropark is one of the parks in the next county over and it's split in two by the Grand River with no way to get from one side of the park to the other unless you want to swim (which we don't). We'd been to the south side once, but weren't impressed. The trail is only .6-miles long with a steep staircase in part of it. It's also not a park that a lot of people visit, so people ignore the leash laws and Barley and I avoid parks where that's common. But the north side of the park is only a few minutes farther away than the state park and the trail map says there's a 2+ mile bike trail, so Barley and I decided to check it out for a change of scenery since we didn't have time to adventure to our favorite places.
|Big smiles for exploring new places.|
The trail was nice and I think it will be really shady when the trees all have their leaves back, but we definitely didn't see 2+ miles of trail. It was about .75 miles down to the river and then the trail sort of disappeared. There was a sign at the parking lot saying the trail had been damaged, so maybe part of it got washed away, but we just went down to the river and back up with a couple detours on some trails that went into the woods--but I wasn't in the mood to get muddy, so we didn't explore those much.
|Maybe there used to be 2+ miles?|
The covered bridge park in our town is just a few miles away from the new trail and we hadn't been there since last summer (there's not much trail and usually there are a lot of kids splashing in the river), so we stopped to get in one extra mile on our way home.
I had a morning final exam period on Thursday, so I planned to take Barley to the Arboretum for our grading break on Thursday afternoon. When I left work, my car thermometer said it was 58 degrees out and I had been a little chilly on the walk across campus without a light jacket (this is what being close to the lake does to temperatures!). By the time I got home, the thermometer read 70 degrees. I tossed on shorts and after lunch Barley and I headed out to the Arboretum.
When we got there, it was up to 80 degrees and not a breeze to be found, so we headed towards the rhododendron garden in hopes of finding some shade.
|We stopped by a wilting magnolia hybrid on the way.|
For a place that had a lot of trees, we had trouble finding benches in the shade for our water breaks!
|Barley thought this might be good shade cover.|
|This was labeled a smiling rhododendron, so Barley had to pose with it.|
We stopped pretty much every half mile for a water break and it took us a full hour to walk 2 miles! When Barley decided to crawl under a bench, I decided it was time to start heading back to the car.
|Barley found a friend.|
We passed through the crabapple collection on the way back to the car and everything was lovely and pink.
|Barley was more than happy to stop to smell the flowers on such a hot day.|
Despite the heat, the rain, and the weird schedule, we still ended up with 30.25 miles this week, which was a pleasant surprise when I ran the Garmin report last night!
|Soth got a few outdoor adventures when I needed grading breaks, too.|
I have 1.5 classes left to finish final grades for and then Barley, Soth, and I are officially on summer vacation!