This has been (until the last few days) a remarkably mild fall; a few weeks ago, on a warm and breezy Saturday morning, my Hiking Buddies and I went down to Chillicothe to hike in the Great Seal State Park, specifically the Sugarloaf Mountain trail. The trail is short (around 2 miles) but steep, rising 500 feet in less than a quarter mile. It's really more a hill than a mountain, but still, it's a challenge to one's wind and balance. Below is the picnic area at the start of the trail.
Next, some trees and sky:
To the left is our intrepid gang as the hike started going steeply uphill. The tilt kind of sneaks up on you, as one minute you're hiking and chatting and solving the problems of the world, and the next minute, you're almost gasping for breath as it dawns on you that you are really going up a (small) mountain. Below, a tree with some crazy peeling bark (don't know if that's natural or the work of animals, and I'm not enough of a nature boy to research it).
We didn't quite make it to the very top, but close enough to realize that the view from the top would not be much better than from a few yards away, what with all the bare trees in the way:
Here I am, looking first suspicious of nature, then all butch and unafraid:
And here's Don taking a picture of me taking a picture of him. Even in nature, it can just get too meta sometimes.
Some nice pics of the sun and trees and a pond on our way down the trail--which was almost worse than going up, what with having to grab onto trees to stop from slipping and sliding on the dry layers of leaves covering the ground.
After the hike, here's narcisisstic me in the car window, and the Big Boy we did not stop at on the way out of town (lunch was actually at Steak and Shake, but their sign isn't as interesting).
BTW, I've had a hard time making sure I'm spelling "Chillicothe" correctly throughout, but not as hard a time as the drunken sailors who put together the official web site of the Great Seal State Park, where it is spelled with three "i"s.