Autumn finally decided to arrive last Sunday -- cold, windy, sprinkles of rain on the roof, rumors of snow on the radio, -- so of course I had zip up my fleece, add an extra pair of socks, pull on my mitten-capped-gloves and head to out to Konza. It was still early when I got there (and cold and wet), so I was surprised to see another car in the parking lot, felt an instant camaraderie with whatever other fool had come to traipse the trail.
For whatever reason, I decided to loop counter-clockwise, took the right-hand fork in the path with a delicious sense of spontaneity (little things). What did I see? Well, turkey, deer, trees, path path path, same old same old, no? No, completely different views, that .
I was so excited to see this tree -- really see it -- that I completely forgot to turn onto the first loop, didn't realize it until a mile later, when my fingers were stiff and purpley-blue and I was beginning to wonder why the route seemed longer from this direction.
Meanwhile, I crossed paths with the other hiker -- not a hiker at all, but some guy out jogging in some sophisticated all-black spandex gear. I think he saw me first, flapping my mitten-tops in an attempt to get blood circulating through my fingers. Oh. (That's why I prefer to have places to myself -- I don't have to worry about looking like an idiot -- can flap my arms and clap my hands and sing and dance and crawl around looking for crickets without having to explain to other people what exactly I'm doing. The birds, the wind, the prairie either understand or don't care.)
Much later on, after I'd found the turn for the second loop (you'd think I'd be able to manage not to get lost by now. Three trails, for goodness sake. I make a terrible geographer.)(Then again, I wouldn't feel lost at all if I didn't have to follow the paths and could just let the landscape dictate my direction) , climbed the big hill up to the grassy ridge / fenceline, and felt a little burst of rain, I encountered another person out braving the cold blustery weather -- a red-cheeked, flannel-wearing and hiking-stick-bearing man who was clearly delighted to be out in the wind and rain. We both smiled and murmured something to the effect of "beautiful day, eh?" before continuing onward.
And it was beautiful