Steppin' in to Spring

Ever-so-thankfully, Spring is here. The season (finally) arrived with gusto towards the end of last week and has been beautiful outside ever since. I was more than ready for Spring - as I'm sure you are already aware - so I have been taking full advantage of it by hiking out in my favorite spots and walking to work.

It began this last Thursday. When I got off work that day, the sun was shining and the temperature was around 58 degrees F. None of my family was interested in going hiking with me and, truthfully, I was perfectly fine with that. I need my solitary time.

The rebuilt Meditation Shelter at Schramm S.P.

I headed out to Schramm State Park. They only have a couple of trails, the longest being roughly three miles by the time you get back to your car, so it's an easy, as well as beautiful, hike. There was only one other car when I got there but I never saw another soul. I essentially had the place to myself! It was so quiet and peaceful that I could have stayed for much longer - if I had had the time.

A pile of firewood in one of the lean-tos.

My favorite part of hiking in Schramm is ending right here at the old fish hatchery ponds. It's always a lovely sight, no matter what time of year.

Friday I walked to work and back for the first time since December and it felt great. Saturday, my folks came for a visit, and my Dad wanted to go to Fontanelle Forest, so that's exactly what we did. There's a long boardwalk trail there which is great when you want to get outside on warmer, snowy days. You can take various trails in the forest, as well, which you access right off the boardwalk. So, we walked for a bit on the boardwalk and then hit the trails down the hills and towards the Missouri River.

Almost to the valley. You can see the Missouri River in the background.

The Missouri River.

You have to cross train tracks to get to the banks of the River, and we were afforded a close-up view of a train that passed by as we were heading back to the valley.

The Teen gives Nature Girl a ride.

Some white crocus' growing right off the trail.

Fontanelle also has a neat Nature Center that houses a variety of animals. This little turtle's name is Emmet.

I don't know what kind of fish this is.

A snake warms itself under a heat lamp.

The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, nicknamed "The Bob".

I get, not only my love of hiking from my Dad but, my love of amateur photography as well. After hiking for a couple of miles at Fontanelle, my Dad wanted to take river pictures somewhere else, so I took him down to the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge a.k.a The Bob. You can read more about The Bob here.

The Bob is a suspension, pedestrian bridge that goes over the Missouri River, connecting Nebraska and Iowa.

Where the two states meet, a line is marked on the bridge. It's a popular place to snap photographs.

A view of downtown Omaha from The Bob.

Sunday rolled around and half of my household was tired from the day before, but the Teen and I were both ready to get outside again. He went off with his friends to hike Neale Woods, while I made my way back to Old Town Conservation Area. If you recall, I went there back in early March, but it was too cold to stay. I vowed then to come back when the weather was nicer, which Sunday definitely was. It was a sunny 70 degrees F, so off I went for another solo hike.

It was gorgeous and warm. The Sun poked through some of the most brilliant clouds I've ever seen. I walked the same path we did last time, except this time I went all the way around.

I downloaded the park map from the website, and all the trails are color-coded. Every intersection in the trails had colored arrows marked on a pole that match the color-coded trail map. For instance, if you wanted to take the "blue" trail you just followed the blue arrows at the intersections. It was super-easy to check the arrows against the map to decide which trails you wanted to take. A genius idea in my book.

After I took that full circular trail, I drove to the other parking area - where we hadn't been before - and walked on a couple of other trails through the park. I got to see this hidden pond.

As you can see, I've wasted no time getting out to walk and hike. Between the hiking and the walking to work, I've clocked in 21 miles, so far, over the past five days. I'm gearing up for a major hiking goal in June so I'm getting all the hiking/walking in I can. I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into nature and that it inspires you to do the same.


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