LOCATION: Ridley Creek State Park in Newtown Square (Delaware County), PA
TIME: 11 AM to 3 PM
CONDITIONS: Warm and sunny, Temps in the 80s F
PARTICIPANTS: Barefoot Chris, Crystal, Dan from DE, Eric from VA
On Sunday, July 2, 2000, the Barefoot Hikers of PA met for another hike at Ridley Creek State Park in southeastern Pennsylvania.
As always, I arrived and parked near the park office, as our fellow hikers know to look for my red Mazda and barefoot people. The sun was blazing from the sky and temps were in the high 80s by 11 am but it was cool beneath the trees in the parking lot. My girlfriend Crystal and I exited the car already barefoot, as we had been all morning. While Crystal freshened up, another barefooter approached and introduced himself as Dan, a barefooter from Delaware who has been on the mailing list for some time but was finally joining his first hike. A few moments later, we spotted a well-tanned barefoot bicyclist who parked his bike and introduced himself. Eric is a new member of the group who just moved to Virginia from the Midwest and drove all the way up from VA to join a hike.
After talking for a while and waiting for other hikers, we headed off onto the park's Yellow Trail. The trail began with a too-long stretch of uneven pavement, but finally turned to a soft dirt trail as we crossed another side path. We then enjoyed soft dirt and occasional rocks and a few dusty wooden bridges as we hiked through the trees. Occasionally, we'd cross a sun-drenched field where the brush threatened to overrun the trail as we plunged through, carefully avoiding wild roses and their thorns. We paused on a rock by a stream to rest and chat some more. While there, we were treated to close-up views of a baby fawn and a chipmunk who had come to the stream for water. During our hike, we also came within about 10 feet of 2 or 3 baby rabbits, owing to our quiet soles.
We circled back to our starting point and crossed another soft, grassy field which tickled the soles before returning to the parking lot. Dan left, as he had another meeting to attend later in the afternoon.
After a brief rest, Eric, Crystal and I headed back onto the trails and did another 2 hours of hiking on trails that ranged from soft earth, to grass to varying sizes of rock and gravel.
After lunch, we wandered around the nearly-deserted town of West Chester for a bit, enjoying the cobblestones and brick pavement of the old-style college town. We even saw another true barefooter.
It was a great day! I thank Crystal, Dan, and Eric for joining me and look forward to doing another hike with them soon.