Back to Maudslay State Park

Back to Maudslay State Park

I’m not going to lie: these outings are getting harder and harder (and slower). But we have to keep on. We couldn’t possibly spend these beautiful late-Spring weekends inside. I think you’ll agree when you see just how much green there is below. I do pay for it, though. We made this walk slower and with fewer hills, but still on Monday I had crazy round ligament pain, to the point where I began to worry something was wrong. I’m right as rain today after a good sleep and a lazy evening, but it’s a reminder to be careful.

And speaking of being careful, are you all wearing sunscreen and hats on your outings? I sure am.

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The main reason we wanted to visit Maudslay again so soon was because of all of the rhododendrons that grow there. The ones in our yard are in full swing, so we thought maybe we could catch an early glimpse of these in bloom. Unfortunately they’re not remotely ready yet (probably because they live in the shade instead of our full-sun front yard) so you’re not going to see any photos of them. We had a nice walk just the same, especially when we stumbled across this little meadow, which we hadn’t seen last time.

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Do you ever look at these photos and think, “Jeez. That Yen wears the same outfit every weekend.” Well, that’s his hiking outfit. The pants are quick-drying, and won’t snag and tear when he has to wade through thorny weeds. The blue shirt is very light weight and the sort of waffle material that dries as soon as it gets wet. It’s so light that he can wear it even in the summer, and that gives him extra protection from the sun. Under it – which you can’t see – is another light-weight t-shirt that soaks up all of his sweat and keeps it away from his body. The hat is for sun protection obviously, and what you can’t see from the photo is how much sunscreen he’s wearing. My point is, why have seven different outfits when you’ve found one that’s exactly right? I think he’s on to something. Of course, when I can, do the same thing. But none of those clothes fit just now, and they don’t make hiking clothes in maternity sizes for some strange reason (I wouldn’t buy them if I did; I’m philosophically opposed to buying a ton of maternity clothes, which is why you see the same pants and same black t-shirt over and over).

Anyway, I forgot the most important detail about why it’s OK for Yen to wear this outfit over and over. He looks good.

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Here’s a bumblebee we ran into in the meadow. He seemed to be at war with some kind of large fly. I thought it was a honey bee at first, but closer examination proved it definitely wasn’t. Anyway, the bumblebee won, and rested a while on this branch, contemplating his victory.

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There were Lady Slippers everywhere! I don’t know much about flowers, so  I got really excited when we saw the first one, because I thought it was some kind of carnivorous plant, like a pitcher. I looked it up later at home and was a little disappointed. But it turns out Lady Slippers do lure bees in and force them to go through a special route that covers them in pollen. So it’s not an entirely undiabolical plant.

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Yen really enjoyed the wildflowers, so I sort of hung around waiting to be scale for something. I killed a lot of mosquitoes. Said hello to a few other hikers. Ducked behind a bush for a little business… This park could really use some benches.

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There’s that belly again. It’s funny how often strangers ask about it. It’s nice of them to be so friendly and curious. But it also feels kind of intrusive. I’ve never had so many people ask me really, really personal questions before. It starts with, “How are you feeling?” and quickly becomes, “When’s it happening? How do you feel? Are you swollen? What’s the name? Is this your first? Are you going to have more?” Jeez!

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Maudslay is right in the middle of a town – or on the edge of one, I guess. Lots of runners, lots of little kids being followed by strollers. And many, many dog walkers. When we arrived, Yen produced his reacher-grabber (best $15 I’ve ever spent) and a plastic bag from the car. He usually goes on trash patrol while we walk, so that wasn’t unusual. But when we walk around our neighborhood, he usually skips over the abandoned “poop bags” that rude dog walkers leave behind. That’s because he sorts the trash when he gets home to make sure recyclable stuff gets recycled. This time, though, when he came to the first poop bag, he picked it up. I asked one of my usual nosy questions about why he was going it, and he said, “That’s why I brought the bag this time.”

I enjoy dogs. You know I do! But I’m increasingly coming to hate dog owners. Oh, I know. I’m making a gross generalization. But I can’t believe how many people bag the dog’s poop, tie up the bag, and then abandon it! Why bother?! Why not just leave it out? That would be awful enough, but at least it would break down eventually. Oh, you don’t want to be inconvenienced by carrying the full bag back to the car with you? Well, that’s what you signed up for when you got a dog! You don’t see parents dropping diapers just anywhere they please. So why do you do that?

I’m sorry for the rant, but it just ruins a good walk to come across trash, and that’s the absolute worst trash of all. By the time we finished our walk, Yen had filled a plastic grocery bag with other people’s dog poop. He shouldn’t have to do that.

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Yen has been talking more and more about getting a macro lens. He can’t decide whether he wants that, or one that will let him photograph more distant things (like the birds I’m always gesturing wildly at). You can see here that his interest in details is growing, though.

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Often when we walk, we talk about what it will be like to bring Baby along for hikes. We want him to have the same interest in plants and animals and being outside as we both got from our parents. We’ll want to be out early and often with him. I hope he goes for it.

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I think this is probably our last hilly walk for a while. We’ll have to look for more flat places so I can keep going. We’re lucky to live in a place that gives us so many options for getting outside – even if they aren’t ever completely empty of other people. I guess it’s all in what you focus on, rather like these photos. Yen managed to create a set of pictures that made our walk seem almost completely lonely, when really we rarely left behind one group before coming across another. You didn’t know I was an optimist, did you?

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