I did do some actual hiking at Hoosier National Forest recently.
Nellie (the dog) and I skipped down the road with happy eyes and wagging tails to Tipsaw Recreation Area.
There is a 6-mile loop around the lake. Nell was in heaven. Other than a handful of boats on the lake, we had the place to ourselves!
The falling water from the previous day added to the already swelling creeks, streams and shorelines. It also made adorably fun, muddy conditions, which are my favorite.
We took our time making the circuitous route. We weren't long on the trail before we encountered the first vernal pools. How noisy they were!
Every year, I debate (around the conference table in my head) which is better ... the spring or summer choir?
It's a close call. I adore the singing insects that grace our ears come summertime, but the feeling of sweet relief of winter's end that accompanies the sounds of spring is always a welcome one.
After the winter we've had, spring is certainly winning. Come July though, I'm sure to change my mind...
The vernal pools were popping with spring peepers, wood frogs and chorus frogs.
While Nellie's curious nose sent them all out of sight, their calls continued to echo as my eyes continued to relentlessly (and fruitlessly, I might add) scan.
We encountered many creeks and feeder flows adding to the already flooded shores.
A few two-lined salamanders and again with the massive crawdads!
We found a few cocoons and a handful of moths our presence disturbed. We saw our first butterfly of the season, a morning cloak.
Nell the Bell had plans ... swimming plans! A dog in the water for the first time since last summer is quite possibly the best sight.
I spent most of the trail laughing at her and toward the end, I joined in her joyful tramping as we crossed the last water-above-the boot-tops stream.
The cool flow felt nice, invigorating. The rush of spring water invaded my soul and a piece of it flowed on, out the bottom of my boots onto those river rolled flat rocks, right down the riffles and spreading into the calm, open water of the lake.
I left a piece of myself there that day, as I stood in that stream a moment and glanced around. It was one of those moments, those days, hell ... the entire weekend, that time stood still. Every moment was a prolonged pause, an answer to a question I didn't realize I was seeking.
It's important to look around, to listen, to take it in, to be open. To just stop and pause. I don't do that enough. Everything else can wait. It just can. It's as simple as that. It's as simple as I make time for.