Wednesday, September 03, 2003

First of all, here's a pic from La Cygne. It's nothing particularly telling, just a sign in a convenience store window that exemplifies the weirdness that is southeastern Kansas.

busiek1Theron, Dionne, Christie and I went hiking this weekend in Busiek State Forest, down south of Springfield. I guess some of the entrances have maps you can take with you, but this one didn't, so I snapped a pic for reference.

This was the first time that having a digital camera may have kept me from getting lost. Hear that? It's not just a toy; it's a survival tool!
busiek2Naturally, I had to get a shot of Christie striking a pose. Ain't she purty, folks?
busiek3I really don't get how the most out of shape guy in the group ended up in the lead, unless it's that my friends wanted to keep an eye on me so that if I collapsed on the trail they could do a rescue thing. Which I admit is very nice of them. And I wasn't in the lead the whole time. While we were headed up what I came to call the "Fucker Hill", Theron went on up to the top, then came back down to see what was keeping the rest of us. Um, that would be the wheezing and gasping for air. Walking 3/4 of a mile up a 60 degree slope really takes it out of you. Well, me, anyway. Maybe Christie and Dionne were just hanging back to help me hold on to the illusion of machismo.
busiek4I call this picture "Christie gets a rock out of her shoe while the rest of us look on in amusement." Yeah, I know, the title needs work.
busiek5A little further down the trail, and panting is beginning to set in. We're hot, we're sweaty, but we're still having fun, dammit!
busiek6One last shot over the shoulder. For the record, that's not all sweat. It did rain while we were out there. That's not to say we wouldn't have been that sweaty even under the best of circumstances, but you've gotta take whatever excuses are available.

It's been quite a while since Sunday morning has found me in a church, but even when I was at my most devout (around age 10, I think), I still preferred my pews to be standing up, with the leaves still on. I like singing and sermonizing as much as the next guy, but when I worship whatever the hell it is that made us and sustains us (and worship it I do), I prefer to do it on my feet and in the woods.

I've walked the woods of the Northern Plains, the Southern Swamps, the Adirondacks*, western New Jersey, the Rockies, England, Japan and Korea, and nothing feels quite as much like home as that good ol' Ozarks jungle.
*Not actually true. See comments for explanation of my ignorance.

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