The nine-millimeter sandals are designed to keep one grounded by means of a copper plug, which makes regular contact with the earth, and a single continuous conductive lace, which hugs the foot and keeps the sandal snugly and comfortably in place for a near barefoot experience — ideal for this morning’s three-mile climb on the Perimeter Trail to Rackett Ridge and the subsequent scamper down again. The most strenuous part of the climb is within the first mile. The path, though, is wonderful this time of year, and carpeted with fir needles. The hike begins in the cool rain forest atmosphere at North Falls, and winds its way up through ferns and past the occasional giant ant mound across little bridges and streams into a drier, more exposed area where storms have toppled trees and the undergrowth is sparse. Along the way, the changing scents are magnificent. At Rackett Ridge, a fairly sunny spot, one can either turn back, as we did; continue many more miles on the Perimeter Trail deeper into the back country of Silver Falls State Park; or take another trail that leads one eventually to South Falls. For these longer excursions it’s best to carry some water and a bit of food. For our six-mile trip, though, we carried neither. The morning air was cool and refreshing, and almost the entire walk was made in moderate to full shade. It wasn’t our intention to hike the Perimeter Trail, but being Saturday, and judging by the number of people arriving at the North Falls trailhead even at eight in the morning, we decided to keep clear of the canyon trail. Almost everyone who visits comes for the waterfalls. In the back country, there are no falls, only a paradise of silence. We met no one until we were most of the way back down again — two quiet solitary hikers, one with a dog; a cheerful young woman running; and, near the end, a friendly couple with their dog. When we were done, the parking lot was jammed, and half a dozen people riding motorcycles were circling the spaces waiting for one or more to open. Ours was taken the instant we left it.
Maple leaves three times the size of my hand, and just as good at waving.
September 25, 2021. Afternoon.
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Categories: New Poems & Pieces
Tags: Ants, Bare Feet, Barefoot Journal, Chance Meetings, Diaries, Dogs, Earth Runners, Ferns, Firs, Grounding, Haibun, Haiku, Hiking, Journals, Maples, Paradise, Rackett Ridge, Sandals, Silence, Silver Falls, The Perimeter Trail, Waterfalls