Alton Baker Park du Jour

October 12-16, 2009

During a fairly rainy week, nary a drop fell upon our heads during our daily four-mile hikes on a variety of Pre’s Trail and River Trail routes. Indeed, the sun had us shedding layers as we basked in what was once called “Indian summer” weather. Enhancing the experience was the sight of fall colors changing the park landscape on a daily basis. The reflections of brilliantly colored foliage off the still waters of the canal on a very sunny Friday morning were stunning. The experiment of having no advance registration at the Y for the hikes — just show up and sign up — has to be called a disappointment. Here’s what happened:

Monday: Starting out with an early morning temp of 28 degrees wasn’t too inviting, I guess. After waiting 10 minutes, I went on the hike alone. I found out later than Ken Rivernider was just running late and we missed connections. Two great blue herons posed for me on the stroll.

Tuesday: Ken Rivernider and Myron Cook joined me on a great walk through an invigorating park. Along with school children on a field trip, we were treated to a rare sight — a large raccoon putting on a daytime vaudeville show: playing with a small branch, tossing it around, catching it and frolicking on the bank of the waterway.

Wednesday: Ken Rivernider and I reversed the route of Tuesday’s hike.

Thursday: Margaret Prentice joined me for a saunter in the sunshine.

Friday: Margaret Prentice, Sandra Larsen and Dick Hildreth joined me on the warmest, sunniest day of the week. Margaret pointed out a heron rookery on a tree that none of us had noticed before. The herons have flown off for the year, but their five large nests bear witness to their having been here.

Alton Baker Park is a true gem in the heart of our city. It offers constantly changing vistas, chances to see all sorts of wildlife and wonderful opportunities to renew one’s spirits. You don’t need to be an Obsidian to hike its trails, but having genial company always enhances the experience. Members participating during the week: Marshall Kandell, Myron Cook, Ken Rivernider, Margaret Prentice, Sandra Larsen, and Dick Hildreth.


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