Saturday, May 08, 2021

Rock Faces and the mystical hike

A while ago I met Aurora through reading some other blogs. We discovered that we both enjoyed photography and admired the Kickapoo Valley Reserve. On a whim I said we should get together and take a spring hike.

Yeah. I things like that don't often happen do they? I mean we all would love to meet some of the folks we interact via the internet. I did that years ago. Met up with a fellow horseback rider in Virginia when I went to visit my brother. She drove me up onto the Blue Ridge Parkway where we went hiking. Another time I met another photographer whose specialty was in Infrared. 

None of us turned out to be an Axe Murder-er-er...

Oh and there are plenty of folks I'd never want to really meet up with.

There is a lot of fun in meeting other folks. Especially those who have the same interests. The whole idea was to find a fascinating area and explore it with all of our senses. Enjoying the outdoors and the landscape was the main reason we got together.

After consulting with the Charlie the Trail Boss, we headed out to a very very secret and very unknown trail. The land varies with each sweep of the hill or draw. The pines  whisper of things long past. If a person stands quietly they can hear the old forest talking.

That is how it feels.
We made our way slowly along the valley with steep hills rising above us and a creek on our other side. 

Believe me, the colors and the amount of incredible spring flowers was nearly overwhelming...

I was keeping an eye on Charlie who loves to adventure ahead on the trail when I realized that Aurora had stopped. I mean like statue stopped. 

Charlie was watching her intently.

We were at the pine forest where the little bluffs started. 

I asked her if she was alright.
And her reply didn't surprise me. It went somewhat like this:

I'm just soaking all of this in. You probably see this all of the time and yet I am struck by it. I just...have
to stand here and...

That may not be her exact words. But I knew exactly what she was feeling. In 1997, I was with Rich in about the same spot staring up at the trees---, the bluffs, the angle of the hills, the pines,----  and suddenly I was overwhelmed by it all. I'd come from Kenosha, land of flat and here I was suddenly immersed in what felt like a primitive forest or land.

At the time I was speechless and all I could do was sit on Buck the mule and stare. I was positive that fairies and dragons lived in this land. 

I stood silent so pleased that this land struck her in the same way it had struck me so many years ago. 

After all, didn't a dragon just poke his head around this stump?

Oh wait. I see him!

The Rock Faces!
Aurora asked if I saw the face in the rock. I said I did! She saw one face and I saw different one. 

Here is the one I saw. The Sad Face. It looks like a statue from the Roman Empire that has been tilted. 

Can you see it?

Aurora will have to show 'her' rock face. Hopefully I just did not pressure her!

We left this valley and headed out the ridge. 

More about that maybe next time. 

I had the best time. Our hike/walk/adventure was fun. I enjoyed it with Aurora and seeing things through her eyes as she looked around. I do have to admit. KVR is overwhelming in so many ways.

I don't like to leave, I'd rather stay in the forest and hills and listen to the trees. Or...sit on top of Blackhawk rock and watch the world below awaken at sunrise.

Can I just turn into a Wood Sprite?


  1. Way to go! I am sure you and Aurora had a great time! Good to have friends with the same interests...especially when they are not the axe carrying kind of bloggers!

    1. Hiding the axe under my sweatshirt was pretty hard, but I did it... :)

  2. Absolutely love this and how nice to have some sort of normality too!

    1. Thanks it felt nice to get out with someone who had a great appreciation for looking at things! It did feel pretty normal too!

  3. I see the face! I love the Dragon photo. So cool, I had to chuckle. There used to be a photo floating around the web of a moss covered root system and rock that looked just like a sleeping dragon head. Very cool if it was not created by an artist or anything.. ( Which I think it was all natural.) Everytime I try to take pictures of the small woodland flowers, I only get blurry spots of color. But I shall keep the cheap o camera. it has other qualities I find useful.

    1. Yes, keep what is good for you by all means. The best camera is the one you have!
      That hole in the rock was and still is a conversation point among the old timers who used to use this trail 30+ years ago.
      I want to go back and re-explore the top of that bluff.

  4. Great post & photos that truly capture the essence of an unforgettable day. Charlie picked amazing trails (secret is safe with me!) full of an absolutely incredible amount of wonder. I am still soaking it in and feel so fortunate to have experienced the area, and more so with your vast knowledge. I cannot wait to go through my photos and reflect. I will treasure the memories forever!!

    1. Hopefully we do get another chance to explore the region together. I know it is a bit of a drive for you. I hope to be checking out another loop this week. Charlie has recovered and is raring to go.

    2. I would love to explore more trails with you and your fearless leader, before/after heat and bugs. I don't mind the drive. It is so pretty, and would be shorter if I bring directions and turn my psycho GPS off. Touring the countryside is fun, but not as much when trying to get somewhere. I am sure we will figure out some other time(s) that work. Until then, I will continue to enjoy your hikes vicariously :)

  5. LOST my whole response to this interesting exchange! So sad.
    I love it when my GPS gets lost, and says I'm "entering an undigitized area" .... which is in the area around Athens Tennesse and Winston County Alabama where I was born.... exploring new territory is better when you don't have assistance from an electronic device.

    Love the Kickapoo are so fortunate to have such a place nearby.

    1. We are! I used to be an rebel. No cell phone no GPS and...a very old clunker car to take on road trips. I ended up one time just taking back roads in a general direction and kept heading east by south east. I eventually made my destination, but I discovered so many neat places too!
      The GPS does not recognize portions of our road and comes up with an 'unknown' message!