I hiked at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land today at noon. At least, I attempted to. The snow was packed hard and slippery, with footprints frozen into it at odd angles. I made it up the hill without a problem, but once on the "level", I thought I had probably made a mistake to try it without spikes. I was slipping, twisting and turning, and/or sinking beneath the crusty surface, and I felt pretty certain that I was risking a broken bone or camera. Luckily, that did not happen.
Mid way through, the winds picked up and a snow squall blew through. Oh, joy of February!
Bird sightings included:
Black Capped Chickadee 2
Blue Jay 4
Dark Eyed Junco 12
Eastern Bluebird 7
House Sparrow 4
Northern Cardinal 1
Northern Mockingbird (Norm) 1
Red Bellied Woodpecker 1
Tufted Titmouse 2
I was thinking that this was the "worst hike ever" as I drove home in my comfortable car on plowed, paved roads. I was not cold, having worn plenty of appropriate winter clothing. My feet were warm and dry. My hike was short and without injury. Tom Little flashed into my mind as I drove. He spent over 30 years in Afghanistan, raised his family there, and brought eye care to a country that offered little services in that field. He restored sight to many. He trained Afghans in his field so that they could run the hospitals and clinics and carry on regardless of who was in political power and whether Tom was there or not. He and his team took mobile eye clinics to the most remote villages in the mountainous regions of Afghanistan, climbing high altitudes, forging rivers, hiking where vehicles could not go and carrying heavy supplies needed to conduct exams, surgeries and more while there.
I met Tom and his wife Libby a few years ago at church. He was in the US to complete some education requirements in order to keep his licenses up to date. In 2010, Tom was one in a group of ten humanitarian workers killed by the Taliban as they returned from one of the mobile eye clinic trips.
I'm sure my lunchtime hike and my silly complaints would have made him chuckle (at least on the inside). A documentary of Tom's life is in progress. If you click on the link in his name above, you can learn a little more about Tom and the film. President Obama awarded him the Medal of Freedom posthumously. I personally think he was a saint.