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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

Soldier's Delight

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet




"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Soldier's Delight

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peace
Bobby and I took our annual hike today to the Soldier's Delight Natural Environmental Area. It was a beautiful day for it: sunny with a brisk breeze and a cloudless sky. Soldier's Delight is about twenty minutes from home for us. I had discovered it four years ago during a summer trailhiking class that I took for physical education credit at university, and we've been returning annually since.

Soldier's Delight is an interesting place for many reasons. It is most notable for its rare "serpentine barren" ecosystem and its variety of endangered plants. The area was also once the home of a chromium mine, and you can still walk down into the mine. (Although we've never done so; it's kind of scary, truth be told, that dark cut in the rock, the unknown deep in the earth.) And--as my trailhiking instructor told us years ago--finding a dumped body is an annual event at Soldier's Delight. (The remoteness of the place--there aren't many hikers--and the mines make it an ideal place, I suppose.) And that's the other advantage to it: It isn't overrun with other people, with screaming kids and hikers pottering along with fannypacks and walkingsticks...and bikes are forbidden, so you don't have to worry about being run down.

The serpentine ecosystem is layers of barren rock and low grasses. (The majority of endangered species are grasses.) Even on relatively cool days--like today--the places simmers, with heat pouring down from the sky and boiling up from the bone-pale stone. It is impossible to dismiss the notion of an alien landscape as you walk there. I have to continually remind myself:  Yes, Dawn, we are still in Maryland.

The Department of Natural Resources is attempting to save the serpentine ecosystem from invasive Virginia Pines through tree removal and controlled burning, so from the rocks, the ragged stumps of removed trees stab the sky. The rocks bake beneath our feet and bright orange butterflies flutter among our legs and rest upon the rocks, wings pulsing slowly. Delicate four-petaled mauve flowers poke inexplicably from the "barrens." We pass trees with waxy leaves that point straight to the sky, a gnarled twisted tree that makes Bobby remark, "Maybe it's a gnome tree!" from which some civilizations believe sprites emerge. We pass trees laden with fragrant flowers like tiny honeysuckle, abuzz with bumblebees, around which dance swallowtail butterflies as big as my hand. The trails are not well maintained, so we duck beneath trees and battle thorns and occasionally must blaze our own trail where the marked trail is impassable. We both itch when we emerge, two hours later, and I have been stabbed in the leg by a branch and weild a wound like a vampire bite.


But, yes, we will return.
  • That sounds so awesome. May I come to visit? ;-)
  • Wow! Hiking seems to be the thing! (I just read Tarion's post too.) It sounds like a lot of fun, and Soldier's Delight fascinates me. I too would be scared to go down into the mine because I don't really like dark, closed-in places, but I would love to see the area. (I think you're going to have a large contingent from your flist coming to visit you complete with hiking equipment!)
    • It is! Bobby and I started going in our late teens, I think, and we make it a weekly habit whenever the weather is nice. (Unfortunately, in Maryland, there is usually a tiny window between bitter cold and oppressive heat and humidity, but we've been really lucky this year and have been able to take four hikes so far.) Aside from the fact that we both love being outdoors, we tend to have the best, most thought-provoking conversations while hiking. Or we can just act silly and stoopid, 'cause there's no one around to hear us anyway! ;)

      (I think you're going to have a large contingent from your flist coming to visit you complete with hiking equipment!)

      I certainly would not mind.... :^D
  • Hey, I went hiking too!! That's pretty funny. :)

    Barren rock and low grasses? Sounds a bit like Colorado!!

    There weren't very many people at Horsetooth either yesterday. There were a couple bikers going up, but I think it's easier to hike up than to bike up!

    I don't have any wounds though - at least not visible ones!
    • I always wonder at the mountain bikers. I don't think I'd want to bicycle over the sort of terrain that we encounter on a lot of our local trails. It's hard enough on foot! If I'm going to ride anything on the trail, it's going to be a horse or an Elf.

      My wound is minor, really. Just two small punctures; it looks like Dracula had a go at my ankle! Being blood-phobic and a germophobe too (too much food safety training! though I doubt my customers protest that :^P), I disinfected it and bandaged it as soon as I got home. The worst thing about it is that it is right where my skate boot ends. :^/ Yech.

      I hope you had fun...and that the "owwww" on YIM last night wasn't hiking-related? (I couldn't get the link to work and have not yet checked my flist.)
      • It's hard enough on foot! If I'm going to ride anything on the trail, it's going to be a horse or an Elf.

        No joke!! Although I'm half afraid my horse would fall in a hole and break a leg. :(

        As for an Elf, well, I don't think you'd make very much, um, progress along the trail...(I almost said "upward", but that's debatable!)

        Just two small punctures; it looks like Dracula had a go at my ankle!

        Maybe it was a plotbunny!! ;)

        The worst thing about it is that it is right where my skate boot ends. :^/ Yech.

        Ooh, yuck. My ski boot wound was right where my shoe ends - it sucked.

        I hope you had fun...and that the "owwww" on YIM last night wasn't hiking-related?

        It definitely was fun!! But yes, the "owwww" is from hiking...It's not too horrible, almost a nice pain, in that building-muscles-yeah! kind of way. I think I'll survive especially if I get my hands on a certain healing-fetish elf ;)
        • Bobby and I call that kind of pain that "nice used feeling." Which sounds a little kinky, yes, but anyone remotely athletic knows that feeling. ;)

          *looks around for Jenni, sees she's not around*

          I'll send Fingon over later?
          • Well, it could be kinky too...(One of my offline friends said "Is it like 'I exercised' ow or 'God, but the sex was so good!' ow ?") Hehe...

            I'll send Fingon over later?

            >:D
  • Your hiking trip sounds lovely and I envy you a little, because, this week-end, I've been stuck at home, in front of the comp all day, working on my graduation paper. True, about 3/4 of it is done, (and in three days, no less, but I really wish I hadn't stalled working on it for so long, as I've become rather crowded right now. Gah, I blame it all on the pesky muses who won't let me do anything else but read and write fanfic.

    The weather over here is really wonderful and all my family is out, enjoying the sun. My brother went camping with his friends Sunday morning and my parents are also out today, for another picnic, just like they had one yesterday. *envies*

    I don't know about you, but every time I go out on a hike, no matter is it's walking through some fields or some woods, I have to be on the constant look-out for plot bunnies. I feel so Elvish when I feel the warm breeze through my hair and I hear birds chirping high above me, in the woven branches of the trees, that I can't help letting my mind wander Eru knows were.

    Hope you have an excellent start to the week! {{{Dawn}}}
    • {{{{{Alina}}}}}

      That sucks. Being indoors and doing schoolwork on a beautiful day should be illegal in some sort of international code. I remember those days, when Bobby and I would want to hike so badly, but one of us always had to work or had some project due.... I maintain that the university years are the hardest I've known so far. (Though I'll probably change my tune after Nelyo's officially gets off the ground and I'm working 20 hours a day on that!) When I see my uni-aged friends struggling with such things, I am glad for my boring guv'ment job.

      I always tease Bobby when we're in the woods and say, "Let's play Elves!" It certainly does feel Elven. :) I half-expected to find Meryth in the park on Saturday. (I would not have complained! :^D)

      Best of luck to you too on finishing your paper and a speedy end to your semester! Feanor misses you.... ;)
      • I half-expected to find Meryth in the park on Saturday. (I would not have complained! :^D)

        *remembers Jenni's description of Meryth sleeping on the grass, looking yummy and all* Heck yea! Who would be complaining? (except Bobby, maybe)

        Best of luck to you too on finishing your paper and a speedy end to your semester! Feanor misses you.... ;)

        Thanks you. And Feany misses me? Oh, but when has the poor Elf had a chance to miss me. I'd say he'd rather run away, since I ve made him cry and angst in my last two ficlets.

        Me (to Feany): Do you want to get away for a while?
        Feany (pointed look): Why, you've got other plans?
        Me: Er... well... no. *kicks Erestor and Glorfindel who are under the bed*
        Feany: All right, I'll go make dinner and run you a nice bubble bath.
        Me: That's a good Elf. *pets Feany*

        And they say the Noldor are proud and harsh... *snort* BTW, Restor&Fin are hiding from me! >:D
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