Monday, February 11, 2008

preston walking

The daily ritual of walking with my dog, Hayden.

We live on Maryland's Eastern Shore in a small town called Preston located in the heart of rural farm country. Hayden and I start our daily walk on the outskirts of town along old railroad tracks. A dry creek bed runs along the tracks for several miles and eventually drains into our destination, Hunting Creek. The Creek is part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. It merges down stream with the Choptank River which flows into the Bay.

Overlooking the Creek from the railroad bridge we approach an old mill.

Linchester Mill is situated on the Creek. It was, until fairly recently when a storm caused the dam to break and empty the mill pond, the oldest continuously operating  (1681) free enterprise business in the U.S.

Just pass the mill are the (not quite world-class) rapids.

We backtrack down the rail tracks to a country road passing farms and densely wooded areas. Our trip passes several hedgerows of wild brush and trees- my favorite areas. We often see hawks and owls here, especially a few great horned owls.

We end up at Backlanding Road bridge crossing Hunting Creek. The Creek is much larger here. I call the road where the bridge is out Preston's Interstate Zero.

The woods, wetlands and creeks are full of wildlife in these parts. It's common to see geese, ducks, bald eagles, great blue herons, kingfishers and one of my favorites, a small intensely blue bird called an indigo bunting. Fox, deer, muskrat, river otter, groundhogs and even coyotes roam the area.

From the bridge looking east Hunting Creek meanders up stream.

On the other side of the bridge the Creek meanders west-southwest towards the Choptank.

As I mentioned, my favorite spots are the dense hedgerows with their traffic jams of vines and vegetation.

Our standing brothers, the trees present a mysterious presence. Here bold ones.

And tall ones.

The trees become animated characters complaining, maybe, that we humans don't respect them and the land the way we should.

Hayden is always ready for another trip. The ritual continues.