If a tree falls in the woods…
After a day in Petoskey and some Jet Pizza for dinner, I was feeling more rested and ready to go. I had a long road walk out of town and then a lot of trail miles. It was supposed to be hot again, but I was more confident because of the water Mark and I had stashed.
The morning walk went pretty well on back roads, some quite hilly. But the countryside was beautiful. The people commuting into town or wherever gave me wide berth and must have wondered who the idiot with the backpack was.
After about eight miles, the knee started complaining more than usual. It had been gradually getting louder and crankier throughout the trip. It would stiffen up when I stopped, but then would loosen up when I started moving. But now it was becoming constantly angry. “Shut up” I thought. “I need you to do your job.”
Still I managed to move forward along roads and into the woods of the Chandler Hills… and there were plenty of those. One big difference between roads and trails is that roads go around things and trails go over them.
I finished the day with a long uphill through the woods to a nice ridge with a breeze and where the woods weren’t so dense to make it hard to set up the hammock. Thank God for those little things.
Speaking of God, I think God has been watching over me the whole trip so far. I hadn’t had any falls or major issues that couldn’t be solved. There was trail magic and trail angels who helped a lot too.
But this was the biggest save… that evening setting up camp, I found a couple of trees of the right size and distance apart to use for my hammock. What I didn’t do was look carefully to make sure the trees were healthy. One was not. It was dead even though the bark was still on it. I set up the hammock and began to sit down on it to test the height. As I put my weight on it and began to swing my legs up, I heard a creaking and then a loud crack behind me, and I started to sink down. I realized the tree behind me that I had used for the hammock was coming down and in my direction as my weight pulled on it. There wasn’t much I could do as the tree came down within a second. It thumped to the ground right next to me brushing my leg. You can see the fallen tree and my hammock in one of the pictures.
I laid on the ground on my back a few seconds thinking how stupid I was and wondering why the tree fell a few degrees off center from me and not on top of me. I also wondered why I was lucky to have escaped death or serious injury. I guess God wants me around for awhile. But I am sure all of you who have been praying for my safety had something to do with it.
After getting my senses back together and putting the hammock up with healthy trees (note to hammock users… always look up and make sure there are leaves on the trees you use), I ate beef stroganoff again and tried to sleep. The evening light was beautiful and then the fireflies came out at dark. What a day!