Monday, September 15, 2014

A Nature Preserve Challenge

 This morning I saw a Facebook post from my husband about two young men (recently divorced and jobless) who rode their motorcycles from California to the Arctic Circle. Actually, they rode beyond the Arctic Circle until the road ran out! The photos were stunning. 

Now, I love both my husband and my job and hope to keep both for a VERY long time. However, this post reminded me of my love for the outdoors and also for a challenge I've had on the back burner for a while.

We are blessed in Lancaster Co., PA to have a wonderful organization called the Lancaster County Conservancy. Our family has hiked on some of their land over the past several years. The views are always beautiful. I have always hoped to someday visit each of the Conservancy Preserves. 

So this morning, after looking at the gorgeous photographs of Oregon, Canada and Alaska, I determined that I could get my little Ford Escort to the far reaches of Lancaster County after work. 

Today I visited Rannel's Kettle Run Nature Preserve. I left work later than I intended (that ALWAYS seems to happen) but I still had time for the drive north past Brickerville. It was a beautiful day today.

I found the preserve, changed from my sneakers into my hiking boots (yes, I sometimes wear sneakers to work!) grabbed my camera and crossed over to the trail head. The horseshoe trail circles the Conservancy Preserve. I walked only a few feet into the trail when I saw the sign: "Beware of the Bear." Ok, on the drive up it occurred to me that I don't usually hike alone. It occurred to me that I was off the beaten path and that there might be strangers on the trail. It did NOT occur to me that there could be BEARS on the trail. 

After I saw the sign I did wonder if there actually was a bear. It crossed my mind that the owners of the land skirting both sides of the trail might not love people near their land. It was POSSIBLE that the sign was a hoax. On the other hand......

Well, I decided to be brave and continue on. The hike is a nice one. Not too easy but not horrible. It ascends quite a bit and is very rocky. I kept a good lookout for the bear, scaring myself with every sound I heard and every large tree stump I saw out of my peripheral vision!

I have to admit that I scared myself out of the whole hike. I feel  a bit wimpy about that but convinced myself that it would be past 6 p.m. when I got back home and I did have CHILDREN at home waiting for me. (Disclaimer: my "kids" are almost adults and can totally take care of themselves.) Maybe they needed help with homework. Maybe. 

If you are a Lancaster County or nearby neighbor, I highly recommend this hike at Rannel's Kettle Run Nature Preserve. Just watch out for the bear.

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