Making the best of a situation

Yesterday I had a “thing” removed from my toe. It started out as an ordinary blister in the early days while I was hiking the A.T. last summer. It took over 1,000 miles to heal. But it never really healed correctly. At one point during its evolution, it looked like a crater. It had a soft fleshy center with a hard, outer rim. With lots of help from Epsom Salt, Goldbond and a pumice stone I was able to reduce the size of it. But it still would rub against my great toe and continue to grow. While at my dermatologist visit yesterday I asked if something could be done about it. Sure! It was frozen, then sliced off.

Let The Healing Begin

Let The Healing Begin

It isn’t very large, only about 5mm. It was sealed with Vaseline, wrapped with a regular band-aid and I was sent on my way. This morning I started my day as usual. I made the bed and headed downstairs to take Barney for his walk before work. I dressed my feet with my Injinji toe socks and laced up my hiking boots. I walked across the garage floor to the door and felt the familiar sensation I had for so many painful miles last summer. Yesterday I wore flip-flops. I guess the enclosure of my hikers had my tootsies singing a different tune. Barney needed his walk so off we went anyways. I decided to make the best of the situation knowing a long hike this week would be out of the question. I went back in and grabbed my iPhone to take pictures and call Barney’s walk my weekly hike.

His walk is only a mile loop we do on the camp road around our house. We used to take him for a minimum 3 mile hike and occasionally longer hikes up over the ridge or even a longer 7 mile loop we do through the woods to other dirt roads. But he suffers from arthritis at the young age of 8 so he goes on mini walks now. He prefers to sleep all day and play in the yard when we are outside. With both of us on light duty, the mile walk was all we did today.

The woods are usually alive with birds singing but today all we could hear was the rushing of water. It rained hard for several hours last night. There were streams and rivulets in places I had never seen them before since living here. The corner of our lot even flooded.

Flooded Corner

Flooded Corner

It doesn’t look like much, but considering this culvert is usually dry and what run-off does make it to this point is normally barely a trickle. The flow of water was quite impressive as well. It was coming from everywhere.

This short 1 mile hike starts by taking us passed our neighbors’ homes for 1/4 mile. It is my favorite stretch. Just like I wrote about never tiring of the view I saw around Jordan Pond. The same is true for here. I will keep them nameless for privacy reasons. IMG_7292IMG_7293

It is so much fun to watch my neighbors toil in their garden. It is inspiring to see what hard work and dedication can produce. Everyday offers something new as the seeds grow into plants and the caretakers add, subtracted and adjust. By the end of the summer this patch of earth will be packed to capacity with veggies.

Every culvert, ditch and depression was overflowing. Water was moving fast as it made its way to a lower elevation.

Sucker Brook

Sucker Brook


Sucker Brook, as I call it, since sucker fish spawn here every year, was completely untamed. This is one of the few real inlets to Cold Stream Pond. Under normal circumstances this water is crystal clear and for the most part a lazy little stream. Not today, It was rampant with fury. The bottom photo is usually a semi stagnant pool Barney likes to wade in to cool off. This morning he didn’t even give it a second look.

Last week we were in awe with how everything was so green. With the fresh dumping of mother nature’s buckets, the trees have been washed in new tones just when I didn’t think things couldn’t get any greenery. The moisture made the plants so lush.


Barney wanted to choose a different route. When we approached “Mollie’s Trail” in memory of another dog we owned years ago, he stopped and waited for me. That trail takes us up over a ridge. It is an old dead-end skidder trail. One of these days I will take a map and compass to see if I can make my way through to another road I know is up there somewhere.

Mollie's Trail

Mollie’s Trail

Then he wanted to go up “Brad’s Trail”. This trail takes us to the 7 mile loop we like to go on. It is wet in the dry season. Today it looked non-existent.

Brad's Trail

Brad’s Trail

No side bars for us today, Even if the ground would have been favorable I was only out to get Barney his walk. We were only half way around the loop and my toe was wishing we were home.

Barney soon forgot about the other trails when we met up with three of our friends, Jackie, Kathy, and her dog Minnie. Jackie and Kathy walk faithfully every day rain, sun, snow, hot or cold. Jackie is waiting to get her new lab so there will be another friend for Barney to met and greet on his walks. Jackie’s old pal, Rebel passed away this winter. He was a wonderful yellow lab. Barney learned how to be respectful from Rebel. My pooch loves to play hard and is obnoxious with other dogs, Rebel not so much. He is quiet and polite. He would let Barney know how to behave properly. It is interesting what we can learn from our canine friends. Barney would misbehave. Rebel taught him what was right. And they were still friends. If we tell others how to behave properly, we most likely will hurt their feelings and or lose them as a friend. If they were a stranger we might even get beat up.

Minnie was so cute. I wanted to take her picture in action with Barney but all she would do is pose for the camera. I wasn’t used to that. I have three (non-human) animals, Barney and two narcissistic cats who are all camera-shy. Over the years they have been blinded one too many times by the flash of my camera. They now turn the other way when the lens approaches. Minnie had not been conditioned. She was all to happy to sit pretty for me.



There was still more flooding waters, filled ditches, and ragging culverts on this short hike. All the things I saw in a mile.

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If you ever see a white Subaru Outback with the license plate “HIKE2C” you’ll know that’s me. I hike to see things. I can make the best of any hike. This week my adventures will be cut short due to the removal of that “thing” from my toe. Just give me a mile and I can see a million things to be thankful for.

Here are two of Barney’s favorite things.FullSizeRender 8Sticks.

FullSizeRender 14And ditch running.






This is the view I get to see each time I come home. Sometimes I wonder why I ever leave. On a clear day Mt. Katahdin peeks between the two hills on the north shore of the lake.

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After taking in this vista I decided to check on my tent. I erected it last week as a napping place on days when I am so blessed to carve out the time for such a luxury. In the middle of the night when the rain was pounding down I thought of my little home away from home and how it was doing. Upon inspection, my worries were erased. It performed like a champ on the Appalachian Trail and continued its legacy last night.

MSR Hubba Hubba Tent

MSR Hubba Hubba Tent

Not a drop of water on the inside. All my siesta gear was dry.FullSizeRender 15


It may be wet on the outside but that will soon be taken care of with the wind that has come up. Today looks like one of those blessed days. Since my toe bleed and oozed through its bandage and toe sock, I decided to call out from work. Flip-flops are not appropriate footwear for the store’s uniform code. And since my toe did not perform too well on the 1 mile hike I didn’t think it would fare too well either on a 5 hour shift.

If my memory serves me correctly, today’s loop is slightly less than a mile, but non-the-less, it was a fun hike. It may be just under 5,280 feet but with all the rushing water, gardens and friends to see, this simple little hike filled 38 minutes. I may not have met the National Heart Association’s suggested requirements for daily elevated heart rate exercise, but I sure did surpass my spiritual and emotional esthetic intake for the day.

Happy Hiking


Emily M. Leonard

About Emily M. Leonard

I am a 50 year old Maine native and lover of the outdoors. Former Physical Education teacher and soccer coach. I am Married to the best husband ever and gave up teaching and coaching to raise our two wonderful sons. I have always enjoyed being outside and on the go.