In Loving Memory of John Patrick Hiller 1948-2010
Sun was shining just behind the tree tops and I knew it would be a glorious day in the park. I headed up the Dead Chief Trail and was greeted briefly by a Mourning Dove before it took to flight as I walked past. The sun’s rays bathed the trail in golden light as I hiked to the top of the incline and connected with the Short Cut Trail.
The leaves on the Short cut trail were damp from the the storms the day before and my footfall was near silent. Bird calls echoed from distant trees and provided a beautiful serenade for my travels. As I neared the top I noticed a small creature move from leaves to log to tree. Looking closely I realized it was a chipmunk hanging on the side of the tree. I could not remember seeing one climbing a tree, it was a wonderful sight.
When I arrived at the picnic area at the top of Hot Springs Mountain a squirrel was busy tossing leaves looking for nuts. It found one quickly and raced up a tree to enjoy it’s newly discovered feast. When I reached the Hot Springs Mountain Trail I noticed wildflower buds were appearing and it would not be long before they bloomed. A shadow passed over as I was searching for wildflowers, I looked up in time to see a Hawk as it soared above me.
The trail edges were turning green and sprouts were appearing on many branches. A lovely little sparrow landed to my side and sang a sweet song before flying off. As I followed it’s flight I spotted another squirrel searching through the leaves for breakfast. The storms the day before had kept most the of the creatures in the park hunkered down, they all seemed ready for a good meal.
I hike so often now, the park has become a place where my life happens and some of the outside world sneaks in the park with me. I talk to my Mom in Oregon, run into people who have read my blog, I get ideas for my next article. Today someone called to let me know my ex-husband has passed away. Even though we had decided we could not longer be together we still loved each other and were friends. I continued my hike in a mental haze, my body carrying me along though I felt far away. Tears rolled down my cheeks forever marking the trail with my sorrow.
In the distance I could hear barking and yelling, I looked up to see a little black dog race past on the road above. Not long after a red car appeared the occupants calling whistle for the little dog. I tried to get their attention but I was too far away. I started to jog and try to reach the trail head to see if I could catch the the little dog on the road. When I arrived there was no sign of the little dog or the red car.
I spent the rest of the morning hiking to ease my grief I traveled from Gulpha to Goat rock, Upper to Lower Dogwood. Each trail my body carried me felt like a tonic for my heart and I hoped John Spirit could see all the beautiful places in the park. Four hours later I could hike no further, I took the Floral Trail out of the park and headed home.
Love You All,