Thursday, March 10, 2011

So, I'm not the Most Graceful of Woods Walkers

I decided yesterday that I needed to take a walk in the woods.  They were predicting rain and snow for later in the afternoon, so I decided to stay close to home and do a little exploring in the woods behind my house.  That turned out to not be the smartest of ideas.  Here's a view of the woods yesterday.
There's a deer highway running through the middle of the picture, and you can see that the ground is covered with snow.  That snow was very heavy and wet.  The woods behind my house are very hilly.  The combination made for some slipping and sliding while I was walking in, down the hills.

I did find some interesting vines.  Take a look at this grapevine.  I hung one of my treking poles on it, so you could get some idea of size.  I wonder how old that thing is?
Here's a vine, being choked by another vine.  If anyone can tell what the vine that is choking the grapevine is, I would appreciate knowing.  They're not too common in my woods, but at Whiting Road they are all over the place.  The interesting thing is that vine grown like a regular plant on the ground.  It's only when it encounters something it can climb that it starts behaving like a vine.
A poison ivy vine, grown to quite a considerable size.  They're hard to see in this picture, but the way you can tell poison ivy vines like this is by the hairy roots that grow from the underside and attach to the tree. 
All of these pictures I took when I was walking downhill.  As I turned and started to go back up the hills towards home, I discovered that heavy, wet snow, on rather steep inclines does not make for good walking.  I'd get to a certain point, the incline would increase and back I would slip, sometimes flat on my front, or my fanny.  At one point, I was no more than 10 feet from what I knew was a nice, level trail that I could take back home, but, I COULD NOT get up that last 10 feet.  I tried four or five different spots to try and get out of the woods, but could not make it.

I was soaking wet, tired and beginning to panic a bit.  I was actually thinking about calling 911, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.  It would be so embarrassing for the rescue people to have to haul the old fat lady out of the woods.  So, I ended up back tracking.  I hadn't wanted to do that because it meant having to cross a stream with a steep bank on the side I had to climb out on.  I ended up having to sit on that bank, get myself up on solid ground and crawl to a tree that I could use to haul myself upright.  Here's the stream.  This picture was taken on the way into the woods, and I'm standing on the steeper bank.
You can see that the deer didn't have nearly as much trouble getting across the stream as I did.

After I got across the stream, I managed to make it home without any more trouble.  Boy did I learn a lesson.  No more walking in those woods in conditions like that.  Not unless I take a grappling hook with me!

But I did see some neat stuff.  I didn't see many tracks, except for the deer tracks, which were everywhere.  And, in one place, I did see these canid tracks.  They are a little big to be fox, so I'm betting coyote.
By the time I got back to my yard, though, the refrain running through my head was "There's no place like home.  There's no place like home.  There's no place like home."

23 comments:

Tina said...

Oh I bet you can't wait for the spring weather and nicer walking conditions. I hope you are not hurting too much today and yes there is no place like home. But you surely inspire me to do more hiking, and hopefully this summer I will stick with it too. My intentions so far are good, I am even looking at trail booklets.. woo hoo...gotta start somewhere. As for now I am hiking with you through your ever fabulous pictures.

Sharon said...

Boy, hard lesson learned. I'll bet you are a bit stiff and sore! That's almost like one of those places where they train the guys for guerrilla warfare! I would have died out there!

BlueRidge Boomer said...

Be proud of yourself for making it out of a bad situation(sp).....stay warm and enjoy the inside for a day or two.....
Lots of rain and freezing temps here...tomorrow we should have frozen mud...!! What fun....

Enjoy

Upupaepops said...

Oh Louise what an unpleasant event. I have to wonder if the sole of your shoes are of an odd material that does not take the cold well. Making them less grippy. I have a pair of rubberized boots that do this.

The climbing vine is so stout. Could it be strangler fig? There are so many introduced pest plants back east from the last 150 years it might be something to sluth when the leaves come on.

kattsby.com said...

Wow, what an experience! I can understand you thinking of 911. The snow here has a hard crust on it, but often not hard enough so you fall through. I'm not very much into this stuff so I steer clear of it. Those wines and branches sure are interesting to ponder...
Be safe now :)

Dreaming said...

How scary - a real life 'when good times go bad' situation. We have a pair of ice spikes that slip on our boots, but it sounds like they wouldn't have helped.
I find vines to be fascinating. They were really in abundance in SC - where I spent a good deal of my time trying to get them out of the trees!

Madi and Mom said...

Louise I was scared for you reading the post...whew....that was some adventure that I expect you won't repeat every again. Were you sore? I didn't know thata poison ivy vine had a hair side...I'll keep that info filed for use this spring.

We're having a pot load of rain today temps in the 70's with some severe t-storms predicted and even hail!! Whoopee spring has sprung for sure.
Happy trails,
Madi and Mom

texwisgirl said...

I'm really glad you kept your head and didn't panic. I'd have been pretty scared. Glad you are safe and sound (and hopefully not too sore!)

Those vines are impressive. We have tons of the poison ivy ones here. That grapevine is a TREE!!! :)

Dar said...

What a trek you had. I have had this happen myself a time or two, going where I should not alone. Sometimes the adventure is greater than the common sense. Glad you made it home safe.
As for what you saw, what a huge grapevine. The one at the farm is nearly half that size and is well over 20 yrs. old. That is one Humungous Vine.
BlessYourHeart

Canyon Girl said...

While I so admire you for getting out there and walking so much, please be careful. I don't want to sit here all the way in CA, worrying about you, OK? --Inger

Gary said...

Ha Ha!! You have to plan your hike, or Boom will stand firm and you can use his weight to move up a hill.Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Gary said...

In answer to your question. Boomer is a chick magnet for himself, and in fact perfers women to men.He also likes kids, small dogs, cats and is an excellent father as many husky breeds are.If he encounters a woman I just hold the leash, and provide his name as he hasn't learned to talk in English yet. Boom & Gary.

Jim said...

That is one large grapevine trunk! Must be at least 50 years old....wouldn't you say? I had one about 20 years and it was not near that!
Yes, lesson learned yesterday.
We have Coyotes here as well.....the Eastern breed here is part wolf as compared to the western coyotes. They are bigger here and more aggressive as of late.

Leontien said...

Oh my! I'm glad you made it home allright!!!!

And i have been wondering just like you what that grape vine thingy is killing the other tree. We got quite a few here too.

And thank you for commenting on my blog but i had one question.... what is a Tom Turkey? Never heard of those. I think i will look it up in my little book, mabye i can find it...

Thanks!
Leontien

Sheri said...

I'm impressed that you had the presence of mind to take a photo once you made it up the big bank! Glad you made it home safely.

Tammy said...

"It seemed like a good idea at the time".....I've managed a few situations like that myself, and you try NOT to panic, but it still creeps up on you. I'm glad you persevered, made it out safely and were wise enough to have your cell phone with you! Great stuff back in there---maybe after the snow melts but before all the forest pests come out you can do a return trip or two.

Tammy

Rain said...

Well, would snowshoes not have worked?! Sounds like a job for them. Gotten me over many a slippery slidy place-especially chasing a disobedient dog!!

Vicki Lane said...

What Tammy said! Good for you for getting yourself out -- and how smart to be carrying your phone.

Be careful out there!

Terry said...

Yikes! Be careful, girl!

Liesl said...

Talk about feeling adventurous Louise! Hope you are not too stiff today. Those vines are huge!

Sandy ~~~ said...

Whew...I'm sure you meant "There is no place like a dry, warm, comfy home!" So glad you made it back fine.

KB said...

Oh my. I had a very similar experience yesterday as I was searching for a bear den (I'm always going on wild goose chases when I get ideas about where our animals might be hiding). Anyway, the two dogs and I almost spent the night on a steep slope with the same kind of snow that you're describing. I totally understand! I'm glad that you made it home safe and sound. Maybe you need a Spot Messenger like I have... Or, maybe you're smarter than I am and won't get yourself in that situation again (I do it repeatedly, I have to admit...).

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

You did have you trekking poles with you, right? I don't even attempt walking up steep hills...rocky, dry or ice and snowy without my trekking poles anymore. I would be flat on my face...or slipping down hill at the speed of sound. lol!

You always find the most interesting things on your hikes, though. I like the contrast of dark and light with those intertwining vines.

~Lisa