When I arrive at Marshall park three varied thrushes scatter from the trail-head into the trees. I walk down to the bridge, over the creek, past the playground and up the trail—hopefully on my way to Tryon Creek State Park. Last time I got lost and wandered entirely too far on a deer trail with the absurd notion that this trail on a map of walking routes put out by the city, is simply not well used.
As I descend toward the creek I see a trail on the other side I hadn’t noticed before. I realize that this was the spot where the path became thin and unreliable so I cross the wide log over the creek and follow this new trail along the water and up the bank to the intersection at Boones Ferry.
A couple blocks away I find the trail-head into Tryon. The woods feel open where the creek winds through a wide marshy area, especially without the leaves of the deciduous trees filling in the space.
I walk through the park admiring the maple blossoms and budding leaves springing up right next to the remnants of fall: old seedpods still hanging on the branches, leaves stuck in the cruxes.
Above me chestnut backed chickadees sing to each other in a cloud of high-pitched chatter. One peeks over a mossy branch before darting off into the high branches. Down the trail a ways I find a sunny bench to have lunch on. Behind me a barred owl sings occasionally as I watch people walk their dogs past and I eat the two bread heels out of a bread bag identical to the one my sandwich is in at home in the fridge.
On the way back I startle several more groups of varied thrushes, the bold black and white stripes on the underside of their wings striking as they fly through the deep greens. A female perches next to a broken branch right above the trail, her lovely orange breast the exact same color as the inside of a tree before it weathers. I stay very still, watching until she flies off.
I cross the log again and head up the hill, noticing this part of the trail is in a process of erosion which makes it seem unlikely to be a city-sanctioned trail. I pass an unmarked fork farther up and get out my map to check my route. This was actually my wrong turn. I was supposed to take the narrower trail to the street.
I’m a little sad to have just discovered this enchanting path only to realize I should take a boring street route next time since it’s not good for the creek and all the life it supports to have the bank wash down.
I walk the rest of the way home and eat my sandwich finally. It tastes all the better for having been missed.