Monday, March 3, 2014

All in a Richmond Winter

Yesterday was GORGEOUS.  People were everywhere in flip-flops and tank tops.  Richmond was basking in the 75 degree weather and I was eager to start my walk.  My plan was for 6 miles and I was prepared with water, Gatorade, and roasted almonds for my "after snack".  Daffodils bloomed, robins hopped, and spirits were high.  This is a walk I've blogged about before, so I didn't take pictures.  I just set off with all the others out there enjoying the weather.

At mile four, it started to rain.  But, my walk trainers say we have to prepare for rain, so I was glad for the opportunity.  It was my first official rain train and I appreciated the refreshment.  Carrying a pack while walking in the sunny seventies makes a girl pretty warm and the rain was nice.  Plus, I only had two miles to go, right?  Not surprisingly, the traffic dwindled with the continuation of the rain, but I kept on.  I didn't really have a choice considering I had to get back to my car.  But still, I was pleased with myself.

And then I was at mile six.  But, where was my car?  Where was the finish line?  There wasn't anything familiar in sight, but the trail continued, so I kept moving.  Then it was mile seven.  And it was still raining.  And still no car in sight.  UGH!!!  So, I stopped for a selfie...  The result was a bit crazy, but I'll share.

Finally, the end was there, and I was finished.  My shin was angry and I was exhausted, but I got in 7.5 miles.  The rain continued off and on, I cleaned myself up and went to sleep early, and woke to a call that school was cancelled for snow.  That's right.  Mid-seventies one day and 20's with snow the next.  That crazy lady, Mother Nature, gave me a couple of snow days to recover.  She's my new bestie!

One thing these walks give me is time to think.  I realized on this hike that I never blogged about Mid-Lothian Mines Park.  It was a walk I took after school one day when I was in a particularly foul mood. It's beautiful and very accessible.

Amusingly enough, it was the park's fowl that made the trip so enjoyable.  I was just fascinated by the ducks.

I stopped just before the bridge below to watch the birds.  The picture above is of the Mallards that dive bombed me because they thought I had food.  It really was so much fun to be standing there with the ducks landing on the water around me.  But, they weren't the ones I was captivated by.

At the other end of the bridge, I saw ducks similar in size to the Mallards, but with white heads.  While I was watching, one dove under the water, presumably for food.  That's not strange but, as I watched, it didn't come back up.  Of course, eventually it did, but it seemed to take forever.  So, the next time it dove, I counted.  Twenty seconds that thing was under water!  I was amazed.  But, I figured I should start moving again, so I continued with my walk.

When I got to the end, it had only been 1.8 miles.  I wasn't too pleased with that total, but I was tired.  However, I decided to turn around to go the other way around the lake.  You know, to get a different point of view.  I am so glad I did!  When I got back to the bridge, I saw something I've never seen before in "the wild"... otters!  That's right, there were two otters swimming around between the bridge and the shoreline.  It blew my mind.  I tried and tried to get pictures of them, but the squirmy guys kept ducking under and were a bit too far away.  So, I walked to the other side of the lake and sat on a bench to take it all in for a bit.

It was the most relaxing time I've had in awhile and I am so appreciative to have found this spot.  What a great place to unwind after a stressful day of working with "tweens" and dealing with school politics.  The short stroll was only about 2.75 miles, but I'm sure to be back soon for the wildlife and sunset.

So, once again this training has taught me a lesson.  When you want to give up, but know you still have work to put in, just turn around and go the other way.  Changing the point of view may change the whole walk.  And, you just might see some otters!