The best time to hike is at sunrise ie at daybreak as the morning begins. Hiking fulfills another intention of mine as well: I include it in my fitness regimen, along with swimming, running, and weight training. Watching the sunrise from Alston Park's emerald hills is not merely a good way to begin the day: it's a great way to begin to the day. It's a special, quiet time to generate what I want to write next, in peace.
To fulfill my secondary intention when I hike there, I pick up trash as I walk its trails. I bring a bag with me for this purpose. I hike along a different trail each time I'm here. I'll pick up trash from the trail I'm on. If I have to, I'll even push my way into dense, thorny foliage to retrieve trash people have thrown there. What's my opinion of people who throw trash deep into the bushes of a pristine park? Dunt esk! Sometimes the bag is full when I'm done with my hike. Sometimes there are only a few pieces in it.
On a recent hike as I rounded a bend in a trail, I let out an audible groan: "Oh no, no ...". The grassy knoll I happened upon, was strewn with empty beer bottles (at least a few six-packs worth) and burger wrappings. My bag wasn't big enough. So I turned my jacket inside-out, then laid it inside-down on the ground, making a sack, and filled it completely with trash. That way, I reasoned there should be a tolerable trade-off between having a bit of mud on the inside of my jacket (from the ground), and all the trash marks on its outside (from the trash wrapped in it): ultimately it would be easier to clean - as proved to be the case later when I got home.
On another occasion while walking along one of Alston Park's lesser known trails, I came across an illegal campsite where people had left a blanket and (who would ever have guessed?) empty beer bottles and more trash. I folded the blanket in quarters, grabbing its corners to make another even bigger sack. It nearly wasn't big enough. I carried all the trash in the "sack" slung over my shoulder, down to the receptacles in the parking lot.
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