Monday, November 18, 2013
On a recent overcast day with a cold wind blowing, we were facing a day indoors sheltering from the elements or doing something else. We chose to do something else and piled into our vehicle and hit the road. Our first priority was lunch at a favorite place that is in an old mill built along the river and situated just off screen to the right in the view of my header picture at the top of the blog. It is a good place to eat but also a good place to pick up a gift certificate for a birthday coming up.
With bellies full and birthday shopping done, we decided a drive through a nearby state park was in order. It was past leaf color time and most of the leaves were on the ground anyway but it is a nice little park with some trails for hiking along the river that we have frequented over the years. On the backside of the hills along the river lies the lake in the above picture. It is the place where I learned to swim as a youth and holds lots of memories.
These days public pools are everywhere and thus children like my daughter learn to swim in clean sanitized conditions. My daughter was amazed to learn that I learned to swim in the same lake where fish, snakes, turtles and other critters also lived. Back then, it was my only choice. During the summer, I would board a school bus for the half hour ride here along with hordes of other rural kids and we would spend half a day at the beach seen in the background waiting for our level of swimming lesson classes to be called. If I remember right there were four levels and classes were around 45 minutes long. So if you were a beginner or an lifeguard level, you had almost three hours of time to kill before your lesson or after it.
One of my frequent ways to kill time was to hit the snack shack up on top of the hill for some goodies and then to walk around the entire lake on the trail. If I walked at a good clip and didn't dilly dally too long I could make it around in about a half hour. But with the woods full of things to look at, I'm guessing I mostly took about an hour to walk around the trail in my flip flops and swim trunks. Once the youngest daughter gets a bit more mobile, I hope to take everyone around that trail one more time for old times sake.
Near the parking lot and boat ramp next to the dam, stands an old gnarled tree that always captures my attention. It is a fine tree and I couldn't resist taking yet another photograph of it.