Happiness Is….

Happiness is living close to some beautiful state park hiking trails. I complain a lot about the tourists but there’s a reason why they flock from all over the country.

It’s gorgeous here.

There are three parks that are about 20 to 30 minutes from my home and I like to sneak in after work and after the visitors have cleared out. There’s no better to way to decompress after a long day than a couple of miles on a rocky, wooded trail.

Because these parks are extremely crowded, ODNR has taken steps to make social distancing easier in some of the more populated areas. For example, the trail to Ash Cave, where this picture was taken, is now one way. Normally I would skip seeing Ash Cave and instead hop on a trail that goes up the ridge and a couple of miles to another park.

The one way trail forced me to walk with the visitors and see Ash Cave before heading up some wooden stairs and to my target.

Honestly, the detour was a bit annoying but I hadn’t seen Ash Cave in a couple of years and I got a picture out of the deal.

A Workday Picnic

Yesterday I found myself with the unusual combination of free time for lunch and proximity to a state park. So I stopped by a local deli for cheese and veggies on a whole wheat bun and then headed to Ash Cave for a picnic.

I found solace from the world at a table on the far end of the parking lot.

It was just me and the birds and the wind in the trees. Cell phones don’t work out there and I had nothing to do but sit and enjoy my freedom. I didn’t even have a book.

I eventually took a little walk despite looking a bit out of place in my dress clothes but I didn’t care at all. Given that I often eat leftovers at work, this was like a mini vacation in the middle of my day.

No Boys Allowed

I found this on my hike the other day. It was pretty close to the middle of nowhere so it was hard to pass by – especially given that it made me giggle.

Plus, it suits my recent mood as I’ve all but given up on the idea of dating. I met someone kind of recently who I thought had potential but I was wrong. So back to my solitary life I go, wandering the backroads and trails and making pictures of all the stuff I see.

It’s a pretty good life I have and I’m frequently reminded of this by couples arguing in public and parents struggling to manage their difficult kids.

I can go anywhere I please, whenever I like and there’s no one along to say “I don’t know… where do you want to eat?” every time you have to choose a restaurant.

Here’s another fun image from that hike. In case you’re wondering, I was on the Buckeye Trail between Cedar Falls and Ash Cave. It’s an easy hike where you’ll see some wildlife and hear a lot of birds.