I belong to the REI coop and they send me emails. A few days ago they sent me one that included a national listing of hiking trails, complete with an app. I wondered if there were any around here and, as it turns out, there are, in a state forest just over a dozen miles from here.
Yesterday was a beautiful, pleasantly warm Fall day here in the Southern Tier of New York State, so I looked up the local trails, put Mabel in the car, and drove over, through some pretty rural scenery surprisingly close to the house. I found the forest, clipped a leash to Mabel's collar, and started down one of the trails. These are pretty easy, not very hilly, but I had to watch where I stepped as a lot of the trail was roots under dead leaves.
I might have considered having her off leash because she's friendly and doesn't jump on people, but her recall isn't dead reliable - she would chase deer, as I found out in my own front yard recently, I think the laws might be an issue, and I found out years ago why loose friendly dogs can be a problem. At the time, we lived in Columbia, MD, and we were hiking around one of the local lakes with Whiskey, our first Akita. She was fine around people, if sometimes standoffish, but she was a bit dog-aggressive as Akitas are prone to be. I had her leashed and some big friendly dog, a lab or a golden, bounded toward us, with her owner shouting "Don't worry, she's friendly." I replied "Mine's not," and suddenly this guy realized his lack of control over his dog could turn into a problem in a hurry. He got to his dog before anything happened.
The woods here are pretty open. Where the trails are is usually obvious.
The trails are marked. Not everywhere, usually it's obvious.
This is how the trail is marked when it is:
On the drive home, I saw a sight which really struck me. The hills were covered in deciduous trees with turning leaves but in one spot I saw a dense grove of evergreens, so dense that the entrance to the woods there looked eerily dark and threatening.
That was yesterday. Today I drove my wife to work at Binghamton U. because my car's in the shop and that way I could use hers. She had me drive her up the hill above most of campus where the buildings are more sparse. It's pretty up there:
She had me drive up there to show me something. The cutaways line both sides of the road
which look like this up close
I'll come back later to either explain what they are for or to confirm it if you happen to know.