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Peaceful walk before the rain

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I just love Jonathan Dickinson State Park (JDSP). There are so many things you can do here depending on your whim. Today, I was too tired for a run, but still wanted to get some exercise. One of my favorite walks is the 5-mile loop that takes you around to the north and east of the entrance. I love this walk for a lot of reasons. First, it is long enough that I can feel like I accomplished some real exercise without getting bored. It is quiet enough that there is no shortage of wildlife to see – especially in the cooler morning hours. It is also so varied that you get to see rough scrub, shady pines, sandy dunes, a rough service road along the train tracks and old military buildings, and looping back to the wetland areas with some nice small ponds, lakes, and streams. You get to mix in with the mountain bike trails and watch the skills riders and meet many like-minded friends along the way. And there are geocaches everywhere if you feel like a slower walk and hunting adventure!

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Today, the spring flowers are in bloom everywhere, especially the prickly pear cacti. The bugs really seem drawn to the prickly pear flowers – it was rare to have an empty blossom and many had several bugs crawling through the sticky pollen. It really looked like some bugs were stuck deep in the central sticky bouquet of stamens. I can’t easily find any references about these plants trapping insects, so maybe they were not as stuck as they looked.

Watch out when you are taking pictures close to these plants – I got nailed by a bunch of these hair-like needles that have microscopic barbs. I just learned today that these are called “glochids” and not all cacti have them. They definitely were irritating and most came out from just tweezing out with my fingernails. I did have a couple that I couldn’t even pull out with tweezers once I got home – I had to dig them out with a small needle. Sheesh! I will definitely be more aware of my body near these plants in the future.

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Here are some more pictures from my walk today.

The fitness app that tracks my activity when I have my phone (LG Health) likes to be encouraging and celebratory when I have walked a mile after a week of doing nothing. Today, it told me that “You have walked over 20 miles this week which is about the same as last week – maybe you can do better and try to walk farther next time.” Geez, LG – Give me some credit! At least I’m lucky to have a pretty place to do all of this walking, running, paddleboarding, kayaking, biking, and swimming. When I had a gym membership when I first moved here, my trainer would notice that I was spending less and less time in the gym for cardio. He would get very judgy with an irritated tone and ask when I last worked out. I would tell him, “Yesterday. I ran 5 miles on the beach”. Oh, fine, then. So when I am happier getting my cardio in at the beach or the state park and I have learned my body weight HIIT exercises that I can do anywhere, then I know it’s time to quit the gym. Happy to say that I am now 20 pounds down with no gym membership and only outside exercise.

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