On Monday, I decided to explore GWLT’s Difley Family Forest in Paxton. There were ample parking spaces in a large lot beyond the elementary school. The trailhead was clearly marked.
The day was grey and the air was heavy with the promise of rain. My nose was chilly. But, a brisk autumn day can be great for hiking and photography.
Gold, copper, and bright orange hues contrasted with the grey skies. Mushrooms pushed through damp leaves. The echo of childrens’ laughter and the din of traffic faded into the quiet of the woods.
The woodland trail met an old cart path.
The blue dots became sparse…and then nonexistent. I felt unsure if I was on track. I could hear gunshots in the distance. We startled a deer. I persisted until I found the foundation depicted on the map.
Feeling confident that I was on track, I continued down the path. This was supposed to lead to a vernal pool. However, I found myself on the edge of a large, unnaturally green field. I decided to turn back.
I struggled a bit with finding my way through winding paths. I was relieved to find the linear cart path. However, the path seemed interminable. I haden overlooked the blue dots that indicated the turn into the woods. I admit that I utilized my Google Maps feature to determine my location and find my way back.
The final portion of the trail edged a picturesque lake. After being lost in the dark woods, seeing the light on the lake seemed like a vision of heaven.
All in all, Difley Forest was an adventure. Even though it was a bit harrying to get off track, I enjoyed the feeling of being immersed in the woods for such a long time. I was lucky – the rain held off until the end of my walk.