Wildflowers and Whimsy at Clinton Lake

Earlier this spring, we had a beautiful day for a hike! The temps were perfect, the sun was out and there was just a slight breeze to keep things interesting. I just love the 10 mile loop at Clinton Lake. It’s the first time this season that I donned my trail runners instead of my winter boots. The last few hikes have been uncomfortably hot for my feet, but there were enough wet trail crossings that it seemed worthwhile. Today seemed just right to switch, and I was right. These are the new Brooks Cascadia that I got, to replace the ones that tore on the River to River trail. They just seem perfectly made for my feet because they were just as comfortable at mile ten and there was not a blister in sight.

As our small band of hikers walked up to the trailhead, we caught sight of a bald eagle flying overhead. It seemed like a good sign of a great day.

The wildflowers were certainly out in force. We identified 21 different varieties, and saw a dozen more we couldn’t put a name to. It meant we kept stopping to see something closer and talk about it, making the first few miles take a lot longer than they normally would – but it was so great no one minded the extra time.

The lake had great white pelicans and the frogs were singing their little throats out. We climbed up and over the hills, through prairie and crossed small streams. It was so nice to stretch our legs and not be bundled up in winter jackets. Even better to see that the forest was once again turning green. I just love to see everything coming alive again.

We even found some surprises along the trail, left by someone with a sense of whimsy.

As well as a sign left by someone with a sense of.. boredom? I don’t know – what motivates people to shoot up signs anyway?

All of my recent hiking and stairs have really made a difference. I can feel my legs and endurance getting stronger. I really need to find a way to work on my cardio, because that’s where I’m currently weakest. Still, by the end of our 10 miles, I didn’t feel worn out like I often have before. My hip joints weren’t wobbly and my legs were in great shape! If I keep this up, I might survive the mountains of Hells Canyon.

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