Get Yer Hike On

img_2242Look at ’em, y’all.  My first pair of “for real” hiking shoes.  This might not seem like a big deal to some of you but it’s a big deal to me. I AM SUPER EXCITED.  Here’s why:

1 – They don’t hurt my feet.

I’ve been getting more into walking/hiking lately.  I’ve been exploring the woods behind our house and taking walks with Nick.  In the last 4 days, Nick and I have walked approx. 13 miles.

I’ve always been into walking.  Back in the 90’s, as a little teeny weeny, I used to walk for hours at a time to relieve boredom.  (This was before netflix and social media, back when the internet was basically geocities.)  And when Nick and I started dating and we had no 💰 we walked everywhere, for hours, just talking.  When my kids were still little enough to fit into baby carriers and strollers I took them for a walk almost everyday.

For me, walking just makes sense.  It relaxes me.  And if I’m going to get back into walking a lot, I’m excited to have footwear that cradles my feet rather than strangles them.

img_22342 – I’d love to become a serious hiker someday.

I have visions of strapping on a pack and heading out on the trail, hiking and camping for days at a time.  But I’m nowhere near ready for that.  Not even a little.  Not even a teeny tiny bit.  But I’ve got to start somewhere.  So I’m reading, walking more, trying to learn and building stamina.  That is why I’m excited to have good shoes to get me started in the right direction.

img_2239

3 – I don’t spend money on myself.

I’m famously bad at it.  But I know I’m not alone in this.  I’ve found that a lot of women, especially (but not exclusively) mothers, have a hard time spending money on themselves.  There is always something that the kids need or the house needs or the husband needs.  Like most women I know, I am last on my list of people that need my care.

So I rarely spend money on myself and I never buy expensive footwear for myself.  (That’s why I “let” Nick buy these for me.) But if I’m really going to get into hiking like I keep saying, having good footwear is a must.  I’m excited to have a pair of expensive shoes for once, even if I didn’t buy them.

img_2252

~~~~~

Immediately after buying them, Nick and I went for a 3.5 mile walk bringing our total for the last 4 days up to 13.4 miles.  That may not seem like a lot to some of you but it’s a lot for 2 couch potatoes just getting back into exercising.

And you know what was awesome?  After our walk, my feet weren’t completely destroyed like they usually are.  So that was pretty exciting.

Plus, they’re purple.

Bonnie’s super cool photo guide to chillin’ at Lane Springs

If you’re reading this it means you follow my blog or you randomly stumbled across this post or I told you to. If I told you to, congratulations on going to Lane Springs with us this Saturday!!! I’m super excited. So excited, in fact, that today I drove out to Lane Springs and took pictures, then came home and edited those pictures and now I’m sitting here creating this photo guide all because I don’t want you to get lost.

There are 2 parts to this photo guide. Part A details directions to the park itself and Part B gives directions to our super-secret swimmy spot. (Ok, it’s not really that secret, there are signs.) If you already know how to get to Lane Springs then you should skip Part A and go directly to Part B. But if you need a little help finding Lane Springs, for instance, if you are from Illinois and recently moved to St. James then Part A is for you.

A little more info before we dive in. (That was a totally unplanned pun that I decided to keep.):

  • Nick, myself and the fam will be at Lane Springs at 9 a.m. so we can establish dominance in our swimmy spot and keep it free from weirdos. You’re welcome to come that early or earlier or later or whatever.
  • We’ll be eating lunch out there and this party is strictly BYOPL (bring your own picnic lunch).  So if you plan on eating with us please bring food.
  • It is illegal to make campfires by the river so let’s not.  Try not to bring anything you need to cook.
  • It is rocky.  Wear river shoes.  No, really.
  • We like to set up camping chairs in the shallow water.  Feel free to bring a chair and do the same.  (It’s too rocky to sit on comfortably.)
  • There are a lot of crawdads but they aren’t big enough to eat.  They are fun to catch and release though so bring a bucket.
  • Bring water if you don’t want to get dehydrated.
  • It’s $2 per vehicle to park.  Bring exactly $2 because you cannot use a debit card or make change.
  • There is no place to change except some horrifying outhouses that are filled with spiders and make you hate your life.

Ok!  I think that covers it.  On to Part A.

PART A – HOW TO GET TO LANE SPRINGS

Meghan, Sammee and I have developed our own weird landmark system for finding Lane Springs because even if you know where it is, it can sneak up on you.  So here it is.

  • Start by heading South on Hwy 63 (you know, past Lions’ Club Park)
  • You know you’re going the right way when you pass these landmarks (all of them are on the right):

 

Photo Jul 03, 4 19 00 PM

The VFW.

 

Photo Jul 03, 4 15 55 PM

This old Stop-n-Go.

 

Photo Jul 03, 4 12 39 PM

This little country church.

 

Photo Jul 03, 4 12 39 PM (1)

This is the church’s sign.

 

Photo Jul 03, 4 10 47 PM

This weird looking house with orange-ish exterior and green metal roof. (If you look hard enough at the upper left window you’ll see a man who was not too pleased with me for taking a picture of his house.)

 

  • After you pass the weird little house there will be a guard rail on the right.  It looks like this:

 

Photo Jul 03, 4 09 18 PM

(Yes, I really took a picture of the guard rail.)

 

  • Immediately after the guard rail ends turn right onto the little road.  It is super easy to miss so be looking for it.
  • You have now arrived at:

 

Photo Jul 03, 3 49 09 PM

Turn tape over for Part B.  (So many people will not understand that reference at all.)

 

PART B – HOW TO GET TO OUR SUPER (NOT SO) SECRET SWIMMY SPOT

If you went with us to Lane Springs last year you might remember how to get to our super secret (who am I kidding at this point) swimmy spot.  But if you’ve never been or you just forgot, please read on:

  • Start by driving into the park.  The road from Hwy 63 to the park is long but it only goes one place so don’t be afraid.  Also watch out for those hairpin turns and random deer.
  • Once you get to the park you’ll be confronted by this sign:

 

Photo Jul 03, 3 51 54 PM

  • At this point you must choose, red pill or blue pill  left or right.  Go left.
  • Let this little sign be your guide:

 

Photo Jul 03, 3 52 11 PM

Follow the arrow.

 

  • After driving only a few yards, you will again be confronted with a choice.  Go left.  Follow the arrows on this sign:

 

Photo Jul 03, 3 53 07 PM (1)

We’re actually heading to Picnic Area B, not going camping.

 

  • You’ll go over a speed bump or two (I didn’t bother to count them) and see these things:

 

Photo Jul 03, 3 54 22 PM

Don’t buy any wood. (Unless you really need wood.)

 

Photo Jul 03, 3 55 48 PM

Don’t drive straight into this Fee Area. (I told you we’re not camping.)

 

Photo Jul 03, 3 54 44 PM

Follow this sign and go right.

 

  • Stay on the road as it curves to the left so you don’t end up here:

 

Photo Jul 03, 3 58 29 PM

  • Park your car, you have arrived at Picnic Area B.
  • Put money in this:

 

Photo Jul 03, 3 57 23 PM

  • Using one of these:

 

Photo Jul 03, 3 57 33 PM

Part of this envelope rips off and goes in your car. If you don’t put it in your car you can be ticketed.

 

  • The trail head to our spot looks like this:

 

Photo Jul 03, 3 57 07 PM

Notice the rock.

 

  • Suddenly the trail comes to a road:

 

Photo Jul 03, 4 00 26 PM

  • Again, you wonder, left or right? Neither.  Head toward the picnic tables:

 

Photo Jul 03, 4 01 06 PM

  • Behind them is a sign:

 

Photo Jul 03, 4 01 23 PM

By the way, no animals except guide dogs. (Leave your guide cats at home.)

 

  • Next to the sign is another trail head:

 

Photo Jul 03, 4 01 17 PM

Almost there, almost there!

 

  • Keep to the left, the right is yucky.

 

Photo Jul 03, 4 01 55 PM

Don’t be fooled by the sand. It’s all rocks once you come out of the trees.

 

  • You made it!!!!

 

Photo Jul 03, 4 02 32 PM

 

Congratulations!!!!  I’m so proud.

Can’t wait to see you all there.  Remember: shoes, food, chairs, no fires, no pets, outhouses of death!  Whoopee!