Hiking Trails

JRR Tolkein: “Not All Who Wander Are Lost” – Trail Hikes by Daryl Warren | Columns

Author JRRTolkien said “Not all who wander are lost.”

However, a simple solution to being found if you get lost on a hike: start talking politics and someone will show up to talk to you.

Luckily, I was never truly lost for more than a few hours, so I didn’t have to deal with naysayers postulating on my conservative political beliefs.

My youngest daughter Alycia, who loves biking and hiking, once said to me, “Dad, the reason we get along so well together is because we don’t talk about politics or religion. So we’re not going there. I leave it in the hands of God.

My opinion: This is also a good position to adopt when hiking with a group of friends.

Speaking of which, last week we completed the “Old Geezer II” hike on the Lakeside Trail around Hills Creek Lake. We of course took our time, using the best amount of three hours to complete the 5km loop.

The small group of seven hikers made many short stops to identify and admire what we observed. It’s quite amazing to discover, over such a short distance, the diversity of fauna and flora. We have identified many trees: California hawthorn, sugar maple (ready to be tapped to make maple syrup), hop hornbeam (better known as ironwood), ash (now in agony of the ubiquitous emerald ash borer), white and red pine, hemlock, black birch, yellow and white, poplar, trembling aspen and beech.

We also saw evidence of beaver activity (some trees not quite eaten away), pine cones stripped of their seeds by red squirrels, black bear footprints, numerous gray squirrel tracks and cottontail rabbit and, oh my god, deer tracks all over the place.

We actually saw deer at three separate locations. Eight of them on the ice (probably looking for an open hole for a drink), another seven in the woods across the lake, and a single deer a little further.

Although the trail itself is covered in snow on a bed of ice, recent cold temperatures have frozen it over so the walk was easy. I used snowshoes to start the hike but took them off halfway through. Good friend Henry volunteered to carry them the rest of the way, strapped with riflemen to his backpack.

We had fun and didn’t talk politics.

Daryl Warren has been a serious hiker for many years.