Monday, September 10, 2007

A Walk in the Weather

Mary, Peggy, and I were spending some time together Up-North in Michigan. We decided to walk to the site of the eagle's nest which they had never seen. You can drive there by dirt road from the house which would be a 6-mile round trip. We wanted a little more adventure, so we agreed to take the trails through the state forest. Since I don't know my way through the forest, except to lead by compass with a south and easterly bearing, and the maps don't have these trails marked, I could not inform them of what distance to expect. The brave souls still agreed to go.

We walked with several layers of clothing, rain gear, binoculars, raisins and energy bars. The weather got warm, it got cool. It got sunny, it got drenchy. It got calm, it got windy. It even got sunny and rainy and windy and calm all at the same time. We went up-hill, down-hill; we added clothing, took off clothing. We turned right, we turned left (we turned wrong also!). We walked through dry sand and muddy puddles. At one point Mary complimented Peggy on being so positive and non-whiny. Mary admitted to whining because she didn't like walking "aimlessly." I corrected that we weren't aimless; we were heading in a south and easterly direction.
After 3 1/2 hours I finally recognized an intersection of 2 dirt roads. Now, in a pouring rain, we had a decision. Should we continue walking further in a south easterly direction to the nest, or should we take the direct route home? It was Mary who most emphatically wanted to continue, since we weren't aimlessly "lost" any longer!
I had seen the eagle's nest three times in the last year, and it was always active with adults and young. Guess what......this time there were no eagles; there was only a skeleton of a nest. You could still see the framework of it's original 10 ft. span in the crown of a dead tree perched high above the surrounded forest, meadow, and wetlands. What I like about Mary and Peggy, is that they weren't disappointed, but appreciative of the remaining stick structure, advantageous site, and remote location.
Tired and ready to return home, we turned north-westerly and took the shortest route. We were nearly home when we saw an eagle fly over. We laughed. We could have stayed home, sipping "tea" on the covered porch, with our dry feet propped up, our heads and backs supported by hammocks, casually gazing into the sky and maybe, maybe notice the eagle fly over. But NO outdoorsy women would do that. Outdoorsy women walk 5 hours and 12 miles through 3 seasons of weather on a September afternoon and bring back wet feet, tired bodies, and experiential memories to know what, you may ask? To know that the eagle flew over the cuckoo's nest!