Last Sunday, Ricky and I discovered a brand-new hiking area. Well, all right, we didn’t actually discover it. My friend Sarah, who has China the chow chow, told me about it, but Ricky and I did have the whole place to ourselves on Sunday. Well, all right, not exactly to ourselves — but there certainly weren’t many others, considering what a perfect fall day it was. You already know I can’t reveal the name of this secret spot; that wouldn’t be much of a secret, would it? But just as I’ve hinted at the identity of our regular, go-to hiking area by cryptically referring to it as “Snout Hook,” I can tell you that the name of this new pristine park rhymes with Faugasuck Malls. Sorry, no more hints. Well, okay. It’s in Redding. And its entrance is across the road from John Read Middle School. But that’s it.
Since this was our inaugural trip to the preserve, Ricky and I selected a simple, straightforward route called Falls Trail. Sarah had told me our reward would be a picture-perfect spot with a natural waterfall. I doubt the trail was more than 3/4 of a mile, but it still took us almost an hour to reach the falls. Ricky doesn’t move with whippet-like speed when it comes to these nature hikes; he likes to smell the roses. I mean really, really smell them. He also likes to play this little game where he stands stock-still until I’m about 100 yards ahead of him. He waits for me to turn and call, “Ricky, come!” Then he comes sprinting at me, ears pinned back, Dumbo-style. When he reaches me, I say, “Good boy” — and give him a treat. I know he’s scamming me, but I figure each 100-yard dash easily offsets the couple of calories in that one little kernel of crunchy carrot.
We did catch the beautiful view of the falls, but stopped just short of reaching it. A lone fisherman had beaten us to the spot, and he looked like he was really enjoying the solitude, so we left him in peace. Come to think of it, maybe it was a fisherwoman. I couldn’t really tell. I suppose if I had one of those really high-powered telephoto lenses, the kind Bill Belichick & Co. use when the Patriots spy on other teams’ practices, I could have seen, but as it was, I couldn’t get a very good look with my trusty little red Samsung idiot camera.
Bottom line: How does the new spot compare with good old Snout Hook? Well, Snout Hook is far bigger, and has way more trails — but it also gets pretty crowded. I doubt that’ll ever happen to this place. Especially considering the clever way I disguised its name.