October 8, 2015.
It was a hike day, and I needed to get out somewhere nearby. I felt like I’d done all of the local parks so many times before that it was time to branch out to something new. I opened up Google Maps and started scrolling and zooming, looking for any patch of green that was unfamiliar.
And that’s when I found it: Snag Boat Bend, a unit of Finley National Wildlife Refuge. I’d never heard of it before. It was small, but it was close to town and so I could fit a quick exploratory jaunt into my schedule.
I arrived to find a sturdy boardwalk heading into the landscape. It was a pleasant, fall day. Bright red and yellow leaves adorned the trees in the distance. Ferns, blackberries and grasses grew in great abundance near my feet. I walked along the picturesque slough, looking for birds and feeling the crisp air on my skin.
At the end of the boardwalk I continued along the trail system, or so I thought. The route was poorly marked. I kept walking, knowing that it was a small area and it would be really hard to get lost. While I didn’t get lost, per se, I ended up in a “can’t get there from here” situation. The interconnected waterways made it impossible to cross certain areas, so I had to backtrack the whole length of my walk. While I had intended to take a short stroll today, I ended up walking about 3 miles.
Despite getting annoyed that I had trouble staying on route, I had a nice walk in the park. Good thing I wasn’t on my way to another appointment, though.