The month of March featured an excellent Slow Saunter with equally enjoyable weather and companions. Hikers from throughout the state converged on the proposed Starve Hollow State Wild Area, meeting at the trailhead near the Vallonia State Tree Nursery. Hikers hailing from the direction of Bloomington were thrilled to come across a magnificent field filled with sandhill cranes resting and snacking, finding a brief repose from their travels. Brilliant sunlight reflected off the snow-covered ground. Finally, after a challenging winter, some sunlight! We were an eager group of hikers anticipating some of the most beautiful views around our state, and spirits were high.
Our fearless leader allowed no one to be left behind and provided verbal orientation for our compatriots who arrived later, as well as some sweet trail eats. Several people came to know and love Larabars as a result. Those hikers with an eye towards photography had numerous moments to capture the beauty of Starve Hollow in one of the month?s first days of sunshine. The transparent, papery beech leaves surrounding us were subjects of some excellent photographs, as were the views from the tops of several steep hills. Our change in trails due to super soggy conditions had us bravely fording (ok, hopping over) the creek running through our path on several occasions. We each got a work out at the mercy of the three large hills we traversed, with sweet rewards each time. We took this as a small price to pay for some rugged hiking in a magnificent area we all deeply connected with.
Our last climb provided views of the surrounding Jackson-Washington State Forest and beyond to the Floyd’s Knobs, giving us a context for the topography of the region. Visible stumps from harvested timber met us at the peak of this last lookout point, putting a sobering exclamation point at the end of a stunning hike. The damaged land seemed to be begging for our attention, as if it had called us each to that place, juxtaposing such beauty with loss.
Please join us in experiencing what our State Forests have to offer each of us by coming out to the next Second Sunday Slow Saunter. Find details of all future Slow Saunters on our Events page!