Today we enjoyed one of the finest days autumn has had to offer. Mild temperatures (for fall) in the 50s or low 60s (F), gorgeous blue skies, warming sunshine, and the last of the fall colors. After a leisurely start to the day we headed out to Garrettsville for lunch and a visit to the Shaker Tree shop. Shaker Tree, last weekend, was a feast of home decor items on a Halloween and autumn theme. During the week, however, the store was transformed to Christmas! To understand the magnitude of the work involved in the transformation, one would need to visit the shop and see the many hundreds (maybe more) of individual items on the floor, tables, shelves, and walls. Nearly all of the previous season’s unsold stock had to be wrapped, padded, boxed, and stored. A similar number of winter and holiday season items needed to be brought in, unboxed, unpadded, unwrapped, and put on display. The work was all done in the space of a few days and by a very small staff, folks that were present (bleary-eyed and exhausted) to open the store today. She Who Must Be Obeyed enjoyed a good shop but successfully resisted temptation (today) to purchase anything but a lovely glass ornament. I picked out a nice bag of caramel corn.
With the weather too good to waste being indoors, we drove a short distance to Nelson’s Ledges State Park. The place is known for its dramatic, tumbled outcroppings of conglomerate rock covered in algae, mosses, ferns, and with trees clinging on to shallow pockets of earth or the very face of the exposed rock. The sedimentary layers are often, maybe usually, tilted and the rocks have split and separated forming canyons, passages, and caves. It’s a very dramatic site in the middle of rolling farmland. I had brought along my camera and was having a hard time choosing what to shoot next, seeming to stop more than walk. The idea was, after all, to walk a bit. I think. As we haltingly hiked along the trail at the eastern edge of the ledges, we ran into areas where water was running down from the rocks and into woodland soil. At first it was no real problem. Then we encountered boggy areas.
We stopped when we reached a spot where we saw no trail blazes but saw plenty of wet and mud. Rather than re-trace our path and cross a couple of mucky areas, we went downhill and sought an easy way to get on the paved road and walk back to the parking lot. The roadside ditch had steep banks and water in the trench so we walked parallel to the road seeking a shallow spot. I was lower on the slope, scouting, and She was a bit higher. I called out I had encountered a little mud and stopped for a moment. She kept moving and soon found herself stepping deeper, then stumbling into dark, black, stinking muck that had been covered by innocent-looking dry leaves! Her left foot must have sunk a foot deep before she escaped the mire! There was little I could do but try and scramble up the hill, through the brush, and grab her hand to keep her upright and haul her out. Nope, it didn’t even seem funny at the time, and that’s a good thing… I didn’t need to hold back laughter to preserve domestic tranquility! Eventually we found a place where we could cross the ditch and stroll to our car on smooth, dry asphalt.
Looking back, it was a fine day out enjoying sunshine, lovely sights, fresh air, no injuries, and a wee adventure.