I did eventually drag myself out of the house to take my hike/walk, and I'm glad I did because it was pretty much a perfect day. I discovered that they've created a new way to get to the trails along the river from my neighborhood, and that makes it much easier to get there. There's a kind of canal/lake down the side of the neighborhood, and then the levee, and then the river basin where the park is. Before, the only way to get to the park was to go to around the lake, so it was about 40 minutes of walking from my house to get to the park to then start the walk in the woods. Now they've built a bridge from the middle of the neighborhood, at the end of the walking path that runs by the library, so I can get all the way to the park without walking along or crossing surface streets, and it's only about five to ten minutes beyond the library (I didn't time it, but that's what it felt like).
There's also something kind of magical about it. It reminds me of Stardust, where there's the Wall outside the village, and on the other side of it is a magical world that you can't really see from our world. In this case, there's a levee, and you can't see what's on the other side. You cross a bridge (iron, to keep the fairies on the other side out, of course) and climb the levee, and from the top, you can see both the neighborhood on one side and the forest on the other.
Here's the view of the bridge and the neighborhood from the top of the levee:
And then you follow the path (it sort of seems like it should be made of yellow bricks) down the other side of the levee, and it feels like the "real" world disappears as you enter this new world and follow the path into the woods:
The path stays mostly away from the river (probably because the river tends to flood), but there are spots where you can glimpse it between the trees:
I was out for about two and a half hours, though I did take a few breaks. There are occasional park benches, and I stopped to eat my sandwich, walked a bit more and then stopped to eat my apple, and then before I headed home I sat and had tea and cookies while reading a bit. It was just the right weather for it, warm enough to be comfortable but not warm enough to get hot with the walking. By tea time it was just slightly chilly. I haven't thoroughly explored the whole area. For instance, there's a non-paved path that I don't think is meant to be an official path, but there aren't any keep-out signs. I saw a couple of armadillos rooting through the underbrush, and there were a lot of squirrels. I will have to make a habit out of this. Last summer, they were doing a sermon series at church about sacred spaces -- the places that feed your soul and make you feel close to God -- and there was some discussion about beach vs. mountain. I think I'm a forest person, though I need some water in my forest, like a stream, river or lake. I like the whispering sound the wind makes as it blows through the trees, the crunch of leaves under foot, and the way the sunlight filters through laves and branches to dapple the ground. I think it would be good for my soul to escape to my magical land regularly.
And to top it all off, I was able to salvage a loaf of bread out of the starter that didn't really start. It did eventually get bubbly, but I figured it wasn't enough to make the whole recipe rise, so I improvised. It wasn't the best bread I've ever made, but it was just enough to enjoy with my cheese.
Then I had a very busy weekend and I would love to hibernate today, but I have to do some forms for this freelance gig, and my printer just completely ran out of toner, so I must leave the house.