Moonie and I belong to a Facebook group of local people who love to hike. Unfortunately, a series of pesky injuries have prevented me from joining them since last July – until yesterday’s evening hike at the Audubon Society’s Powder Mill Ledges Wildlife Refuge in Smithfield. We arrived at what our hiking friend Stephen had advertised as a “mini hike” (my mini Moonie’s favorite kind) to find our fearless leader reviewing the trail map.
Our party consisted of 8 humans, one Moonie, and one doggie, all set to take a 6 p.m. hike and cover as much ground as possible before sundown. Luckily, Powder Mill Ledges is a small enough refuge that we’d be able to cover all three trails well before dark. We set right out, looking for trail markers for our blue, yellow and orange trails, set off in the beginning by big, friendly signs.
Many parts of the trails are marked not only with signs and tree markings but also with rail ties, catwalks, bridges, and even with a path mowed through a field. It’s not impossible to get lost – and our group did hiccup once or twice when we’d get caught up in chatting – but it’s pretty hard. It’s generally a smooth and easy place to hike and to look for birds and the occasional chipmunk.
Or, if you’re Moonie, you’ll look for candy and manage to find the one piece someone had dropped in the whole entire refuge.
(“But it’s pink!” he pointed out when I told him he couldn’t have it, as if matching his hair color meant it was his. We left it for the ants.)
Moonie forgot about his candy when he lay on his little back and enjoyed the view of the treetops above him. I think the little dude could have stayed there all day if we weren’t racing against the sunset.
He climbed up into my pocket when we hit a couple of little muddy patches, keeping his little toes clean.
Moonie loved all the old stone walls we came across on the trails, marking old, old property boundaries. He also got excited each time we’d spot water through the trees, dreaming of froggy and turtle friends in the water.
After a confusing start to the season (a too-warm winter followed by spring snow), Moonie and I enjoyed seeing so many spring leaves and buds along the mini hike. What a nice sight in the warm evening light!
Almost before we knew it – the three combined trails were just shy of two miles – the ten of us were heading back to the parking lot. Moonie spotted a few more pretty blossoms in the sky before our mini hike concluded.
What fun! Moonie was on his best behavior, the cheery and funny other hikers made us laugh, and I didn’t have any issues with my injuries. The only problems we encountered were mosquitoes, which are officially hatched and hungry, and ticks, which got on (but thankfully hadn’t latched on) several of our fellow hikers. Don’t forget to check your skin, hair and clothing after walking in woods or fields! Even my little nudist needed a hair check.
We’re looking forward to more hikes with the group, whether mini or full-sized…And Moonie has been warned not to expect any candy along the trails, pink or otherwise.