Walktober meander: no trail, no path, no destination

Some of you may be familiar with Robin’s (breezes at dawn) annual Walktober blog posts. Every October she invites all of us bloggers to take a walk, blog about it, and share a link to it on her original post.

At the end of the Walktober challenge she posts a story highlighting all of our walks. It’s a grand community event that involves bloggers near and far, from this country to that.

I have always admired this tradition–and wanted to participate–but have gotten sidetracked and distracted again and again from joining in on the fun.

This year is the year. Here is this year’s link inviting us all to take an October walk between the 3rd-18th.

Where to take a Walktober walk? There are many beautiful places here in our neck of the western Upper Peninsula woods. Rivers, lakes, forests, waterfalls…hmmm…where to trek?

I know, how about take off through the woods behind our house for a hike? No trail, no path, no real destination.

Just see where the feet decide to go. See how far they want to go.

C’mon, will you join me?

First of all, you may want to wear some boots. I know sneakers work well for many woods-walks, but it is really slippery out in the woods today. Rain drizzled on dying brown ferns everywhere yesterday. Red and orange and yellow leaves are slick underfoot.

It’s so beautiful outside. I wonder–per usual–why I don’t take this walk every week. In the “old days” I wandered incessantly everywhere through these woods. Up ravines and down ravines. Across the road, down the road, up the road, into whatever woods called.

It’s hard to write these words, but the effects of aging seem to be creeping in. It’s not as effortless to scramble over downed trees, to navigate through raspberry patches, to tiptoe down steep hills maintaining balance.

At what age does one choose the path well-traveled–the roads, the tamed landscape, the meadows? I am finding it much more convenient to choose the cultivated path more often at age 63. The gravel, the blacktop, the grass.

What if one fell and tripped out there two miles from home? It hasn’t happened–nary a fall–but tripping still happens. Tripping is a natural part of woods-walking. No cell phone service exists out there in the trees, except when it unexpectedly does.

The above photo shows a path of sorts. Years and years and years ago (long before our time) an old “road” meandered through the forest back behind our house. It’s littered with fallen trees and impassible roots in places, but it makes me happy to walk this path of history.

Fungus abounds everywhere, new life growing on fallen trees.

I didn’t spot any red and orange and yellow and white mushrooms this morning, but three weeks ago they burst forth in abundance everywhere poking up between fallen leaves.

I have a friend across the bay who picks and eats wild mushrooms with expertise. She’s taken classes, and she assuredly identifies them.

Not this little lady. Morels are identifiable in the spring, but the rest of the bunch–let’s just err on the side of safety.

Up ravines we hike. Up a ravine, down a ravine, slippin’ and slidin’.

The ravines formed after a wildfire razed our area in the late 1920’s. Loggers practically clear-cut the woods to provide Henry Ford with wood for the interior of his cars, and the remaining brush caught fire and burned. The fire started as a locomotive carrying logs to Ford’s lumber mill in nearby Pequaming ignited the slash left from the heavy logging. The fire burned for days and could be seen from L’Anse, twelve miles away. Huge swaths eroded in the soil and it meandered downhill into the Huron Bay, filling up our bay with silt.

Hence, the up and down ravines everywhere you walk.

I love ferns, even the dying and dead ones. The above photo reminded me of a helicopter. Its new name is Helicopter Fern, but don’t try to get Google to agree to this. Except–holy moly!–there actually is something called a Helicopter Fern, and my fern has no right to that title, except in imagination.

Look up–red and gold everywhere!

You may have noticed that our woods still sport lots of greens and yellows.

Yes, other woods in our areas are gleaming in bright bold autumn colors–but our woods wait until later in October to burst out. And often, I admit, it just depends on the trees.

Some leaves go from green to yellow and fall off.

Others turn bright reds and oranges and you hear the Hallelujah Chorus as they fall.

Thanks for joining me on this Walktober walk. None of us fell, I hope?

We’ll–hopefully–keep walking without trails and signs and roads–for years and years to come.

Some of my most admired walking friends are still hiking in their 70’s. I want to be them when I grow up.

Thanks for joining me in this meander to nowhere and everywhere. Anyone with a blog who might want to participate–will look forward to reading about it!

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in October 2020 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

55 Responses to Walktober meander: no trail, no path, no destination

  1. Ally Bean says:

    I enjoyed our walk together. I love the colors in nature this time of year. I agree about the nagging worry about falling down while in the woods. Who’d find me? How would I get back to where I was safe? I did buy a wood walking stick earlier this summer. It helps with balance and is darned stylish. I call it Moses.

    • Kathy says:

      Good morning, Ally Bean. That walking stick DOES sound stylin’! One of those might be just the thing–but maybe it’s challenging to use a walking stick with one hand and a camera with the other? Please give my regards to Moses. Love it!

      • Robin says:

        Quick note because my eye landed on this before I could write my own comment: It’s challenging to walk with a walking stick in one hand and a camera in the other but can be easily done if the walking stick has a loop-like handle on it. When you stop to take a picture, just let the stick hang from one arm. πŸ™‚

  2. dawnkinster says:

    Where’s the ‘love’ button? I so enjoyed our walk in your woods today! It looks beautiful. Today is beautiful here as well, though a bit windy. I still need to decide where my Walktober will be. A lot depends on how my latest test comes out.

    • Kathy says:

      I am really glad you loved this. You remind me of my son–the posts you love are the ones that he often likes the best, too. Hoping your test has come out well. My heart is with you these days, Dawn–your whole family. xoxo

  3. Carol says:

    The best kind of walk for me these days, what with the old creaky hips – virtual. Thank you, it was lovely, but some of those ravine slopes are a challenge!

    • Kathy says:

      Virtual walks are better than no walks, Carol, and I am glad you could join me and not trip in the ravine. They ARE a challenge! I am not sure if folks realize how challenging they are–especially when they are slippery with wet leaves.

  4. Stacy says:

    That’s a nice idea, and maybe I’ll participate. (Maybe.) I am happy to have walked along with you to a place I’ve never been. My favorite view was looking up. I can only imagine what that was like in person. XOXO

    • Kathy says:

      I would LOVE for you to write a Walktober post, Stacy, if your muse agrees. Those darn muses, you never know if they will vote yay or nay. You know that “looking up” view was an afterthought, and it felt stunningly dizzying and gorgeous.

  5. jessicas334 says:

    So beautiful. thank you for sharing.

  6. Susan D. Durham says:

    This is lovely, and fun. Thanks for sharing about Robin’s Walktober event. I will check it out. I, too, worry as I get older, but have been fortunate so far in my walking/hiking ventures. I stick pretty close to home, or close to a road. Not the same as the “just anywhere adventures of old,” but stilI satisfying to the soul. I only tripped once during this walk with you, and it’s because you said something funny and I wasn’t paying attention when I laughed. 😊 Thank you for this today, my friend!

    • Kathy says:

      Oh my gosh, you soooo make me laugh! I didn’t suspect anyone else would trip during this post, but you’re right, it’s because we probably both started laughing and couldn’t stop. I am looking at your “Laugh” rock right now and thinking of you. And you know what? I think we will both continue to find adventure wherever we trod (trod?) because it doesn’t matter if it’s wilderness or road, you NEVER know what will happen next!

  7. rehill56 says:

    Fun walk Katita! I kept thinking of the John Denver song while viewing all the splendid colors and dancing light and dramatic clouds today! “You fill up my senses….”

  8. Beautiful autumn pictures, Kathy! I’m thinking of joining in on the Walktober fun, too. Your walk in the woods reminds me of when I was a child and the woods around our house had no trails, except for a few deer paths. When my father became elderly and was living by himself he created a trail through his woods for himself, after he became too afraid to walk along the road for his daily exercise. It’s overgrown again now. How the woods change over the years. I can see that now that I have 63 years of observing under my belt. Every autumn is different, and every walk. Thanks for sharing this one and its history. I also hope we are still hiking in our 70s!

    • Kathy says:

      Yes, indeed–I hope/think we will be hiking into our 70’s and maybe beyond! Not sure about off-trail wilderness hiking though. That’s where the challenge comes in. How cool that your dad made himself a trail to walk on. Sweet! And you are right about the woods changing all the time. So much to see. Hope that you do decide to post a Walktober walk. πŸ™‚

      • You know, my aunt is 92 and every morning she drives herself to the local nature center in West Virginia and takes a long walk, about an hour, up and downhill, through the whole place, by herself. I went with her when I visited a year ago. She wasn’t even using a cane! She likes it because it has paved walkways and she can look at the rescued wild animals in their large enclosures along the way. I hope I’ve got the same batch of DNA in me. πŸ™‚

  9. Larissa says:

    Thanks for bringing us along with you ❀

  10. Yes, I would love to join you! This walk sounds magical, your finds are always beautiful. I understand how it can be a challenge navigating the woods, but it is all worth it, isn’t it? The colors alone are so pretty.

    • Kathy says:

      The wilderness walks do still feel worth it. What’s a little tripping anyway? Whenever I hike along trails it feels so civilized and easy compared to this. Thanks for joining me in the walk and enjoying our autumn colors.

  11. Thanks for taking me (us) with you on this beautiful Fall walk. I’m about to go out for one now. It’s in the 50s, still windy from a huge storm we had last night, trees are half green and half orange/red/leaves falling down. Sky is bright cloudless blue. I’ll bring you with me. I figure the more we walk, the more assured we can be of being able to walk into our 80s and even 90s!!

    • Kathy says:

      Did we have fun on that walk? Thanks for bringing ME along? Did we tell wild & crazy stories, perhaps about tunnels and magical passageways and creative writing? I surely hope to be walking a long long time. My mom was still hiking along the beaches in Florida in her early 80’s. Then, sadly, she slowly opted not to go. Then it was sad to walk without her in the nature preserve. I am going to visit a friend today and she is 75 and hiking LOTS! We will probably go for a walk on her property. (But she has more meadows and fields, so it will be a different kind of hike.)

  12. Lori says:

    I love your photos that look like abstract paintings. I’m in love with photography and so enjoy your pictures.

    Looks like we’ll be taking a ride on my dad’s boat this weekend. I was hoping for autumn colors down the river, but Dad says it’s only about 25% changed in his “neck of the woods.” I’m forty miles from the border, and Dad is another forty miles from there. Still not far enough north for color yet, apparently. Maybe two more days will help? πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

    One of my favorite things is clicking photos at the sky through the trees, like in your red and gold photo. Thank you for sharing.

    • Kathy says:

      Do you think the photos look abstract? What a lovely compliment, Lori! I am not a “real photographer” but am always trying to capture the spirit of what’s there. Sounds like maybe it works for you?

      How fun that you will be going to your dad’s and taking a boat ride! Yep, a couple days may make a bit of difference in the colors, for sure. P.S. When you said you liked the sky photo I decided to post it on Facebook. πŸ™‚

      • Lori says:

        Some of your photos do look abstract (in general over the years). The one in this post with the mushrooms looks abstract-like.

        I’m a novice who knows not what I’m doing with photography, but I love taking photos anyway.

        P.S. My bro and I are in a struggle over who gets to use the boat this weekend. He takes the kids on tubing rides. We just want to go for a leisurely autumn tour boat ride. πŸ˜‰

        • Kathy says:

          I am imagining you boating right now…if you’ve whupped your brother into shape and won out in the Boat Wars. Nah, just kidding. Hope you found some loving compromise! πŸ™‚

          • Lori says:

            Hey Kathy, I probably was on the boat while you responded. Bro and I worked it out. I’m so blessed. Will share on my blog when I get a chance. Thanks for the nice response.

  13. Debbie says:

    I loved our walk together– thanks so much for letting me tag along! I’m still trying to decide when — and where — to do my Walktober, but I’m definitely participating. There is too much beauty around not to share it with the world! I so enjoyed looking up into your tall trees and down on that tangled trail — the history lesson was a good addition, too.

    • Kathy says:

      Debbie–hi! Have you done a Walktober before and blogged about it? Glad to hear you’re participating this year and sharing what you discover in your neck of the woods, as they say. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  14. dorannrule says:

    Oh thankyou for sharing this since I am in a boot and urged by doctors to stay off my feet. Walking through the woods with you was a divine reprieve from isolation.

    • Kathy says:

      Oh Dor! I can see why you wouldn’t be wandering off-trail these days (or even on-trail) so am glad you stopped by for a virtual hike. Heal quickly, my friend!

  15. Meaghan Aplin says:

    Thank you Kathy for this lovely post. This is our first autumn back in Southern California and we miss the foliage greatly. I will be taking my 3.5 year old and 6 month old to join me for the WALKTOBER. I am sure our pace will be slow and I will be reminded to look at things with new (appreciative) eyes. My daughters are wonderful at reminding the adults around them that we are surrounded by wonder.
    We will walk slowly, following the preschoolers lead, and discuss anything she finds interesting; around here it will be smoke trees, cheese bushes, wildflowers and big horn sheep.
    I am so glad I found this post and I am happy to join WALKTOBER despite a lack of autumn coloring in our area. Now I will be accountable to get a blog post completed in time to join!

    • Kathy says:

      Meagan, oh you just reminded me of the joys of taking little ones for walks. That is such a precious time! Those slow paces do allow for a deeper and more appreciative seeing. We ARE surrounded by so much wonder! Thank you for sharing this–who cares when you don’t have autumn color?–because you have WONDER!

  16. Robin says:

    Welcome to Walktober, Kathy! I’m so glad you could join us this year. I love meandering, no destination type of walks. Thank you for taking us along with you. It was a beautiful walk and I didn’t slip once. I did chuckle at your remarks regarding cell phone coverage. It is the same here. We don’t have it until, inexplicably, we do. Age brings up all sorts of questions, doesn’t it? I have a friend in her mid-70’s who walks half marathons and marathons, and hikes all over creation. I want to be like her when I grow up. πŸ™‚

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you for the inspiration for Walktober, Robin. It’s been great fun to finally participate! So glad you didn’t slip, and thanks again for your walking stick advice up above. Glad you also understand about intermittent cell phone service. i am always assuming we have none, but then suddenly there it is–way out in the woods, far from home. As for your friend–how cool is that?–I may not want to do those marathons, but sure hope to be walking a long long long time.

  17. Reggie says:

    Walktober is such a marvelous idea, Kathy! Here we are in spring, not autumn, and our main hazard currently is hayfever, not slippery fallen leaves… aaa-tishoo! Hope you continue walking and meandering and exploring and adventuring for many more years!

    • Kathy says:

      Oh, hay fever, I feel for your sneezes and sniffles, dear Reggie. Ki has allergy issues out in Oregon, too, and they’re no fun. Hoping for LOTS more years of walking adventures–for both of us!

  18. What a fun, lovely walk! I stumbled *:d* across Dawn and Katie’s blog a good while back, and found out about Robins’s Walktober. My Marlee (a doxie) said she was a princess like Katie, and wanted to do a Walktober walk too. So we joined. Alas, I can’t get a link to my blog post on Robin’s blog, but that’s okay. I love walking with everyone else and seeing new vistas. You have a beautiful place to ramble—in any season. Thanks for inviting us. http://www.threadcatcher.blogspot.com

    • Kathy says:

      Angie, sorry you couldn’t get that link on Robin’s blog, but am glad you are enjoying all the Walktober posts. And I see you and Marlee are friends of Dawn and Katie. Will hop, skip and jump over to visit you!

  19. aFrankAngle says:

    Robin’s tradition is wonderful, so thanks for joining in AND providing an excellent walk. Not only was your title perfect, the words and images that followed matched the title. Very well done. I felt like I was wondering the woods without a path or destination, and all in the spirit of enjoying the getaway. Well done.

  20. Eliza Waters says:

    A delightful, woodland Walktober, Kathy. Our terrain (and ages πŸ˜‰ ) are similar, so I understand the little niggling thoughts about falling out in the woods while walking solo. I have two friends who fell and broke ankles while walking on slippery leaves, but at least they weren’t alone and help was there for them. My knees won’t allow much angled walking on slopes, so I’ve had to scale back the hikes I used to take. Hey, at least we are still getting out there, right?!

    • Kathy says:

      Oh dear, Eliza, I am so sorry to hear about your friends who broke their ankles! How awful. Robin recommended a walking stick, so maybe we’ll have to head in that direction. My knees are mostly OK, except when they’re not. Gosh, getting old is not for the weak at heart, is it? Glad we can still get out and walk and nourish ourselves in Nature’s beauty.

      • Eliza Waters says:

        Yes, we adapt to each new stage (accepting as gracefully as we can πŸ˜‰ ). To quote Bette Davis, “Getting old ain’t for sissies.” πŸ˜€
        I had a neighbor who walked on the road a couple miles a day well into her 80s. Good role model!

  21. Rupali says:

    Wonderful woods Kathy. It must have been a fantastic experience.

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