Summer was fading quickly; and still being a few hikes behind schedule meant taking advantage of what dwindling daylight I had left once I got home from work. I didn’t pick the Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve based on any grand attraction, but because an open grassland would allow me a little more time than if I tried to rush a two mile hike in the woods before dusk. The hike, as it turned out, was a bit more exciting than I had imagined.
Hike 37 stats:
Date: September 14, 2016
Weather: 77°F, sunny
Distance: 2.63 miles
Total Ascent: 75′
Highest Elevation: 109′
Highlights: Native grasslands, moon hike
I started the hike with a rough idea of where I would go, since the trails basically follow the perimeter of the meadows I didn’t think it’d be too difficult to not get lost.I made my way up the blue trail along the side of the meadow then continued onto the yellow trail near the northwest corner of the park. I followed the yellow trail over and around to the opposite side of the meadows listening to the critters settling in for the night in the tall grasses.
I headed into the woods on the brown trail because I thought I had enough time to complete a quick loop in the woods – I wanted a break from the grasses anyway. I got a little lost in the woods, took a wrong turn and ended up taking the trail out to Bennetts Lane. Once I figured out where I was I turned around and followed the brown trail out of the woods and found myself back in the meadow. It was getting darker and the sky was a perfect backdrop to the large moon overhead.
The GoPro didn’t pick up the awesomeness of the moon over the meadow – but it was truly breathtaking. I admittedly spent too much time standing in the midst of the tall grasses softly blowing in the breeze staring at the moon. Once I snapped out of my poetic moment I realized I was at risk of not making it back to the Jeep by dusk – so I started running down the trail.I rounded the corner onto the purple trail and could see the trailhead sign in the distance – I stopped running and, just as I caught my breath, noticed something moving through the grass to my left. The large yellow lab (I think) was barking and galloping directly towards me. I started walking faster, but didn’t want to run and give the dog a reason chase. As the dog made its way onto the trail behind me I turned around and started walking backwards. Luckily she kept her distance and eventually returned to her calling owner at the home next to the preserve. I picked up the pace again and made my way back to the jeep, looking back over my shoulder every few seconds.
The preserve is known for migrating birds more so than being chased by dogs – so if you’re into birding, or moonlit grassy self observing moments, check out the Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve!