We live near a small nature preserve and used to regularly visit it for hikes and classes. The classes were canceled due to the pandemic and hikes weren’t going to happen because my left leg has been declining in function for a year and a half. Last fall and this spring, the best I could muster was taking Wallace there to ride his scooter or bike (on designated paths) while I sat and read.
But! I finally got my orthotic at the end of June and now I can walk! I still have chronic pain and fatigue, but walking is now a more fluid and less exhausting process thanks to the orthotic. As soon as he got back from his week stay with my mom, we went out to the nature preserve to try a mostly flat hike together. It felt so good to move my body and be out there with him finding lots of cool things. Unfortunately, I did not get pictures from that first hike because I was wearing leggings, in order to have a thin layer between my leg and the orthotic, and did not bring my phone. I don’t know how long we hiked but it was mostly flat and shady.
We saw: multiple types of fungus, a few rabbits, a mourning cloak butterfly, an extended family of snails, a tiny emerald green tree frog perched on the top of a plant, many cabbage white butterflies, two painted lady butterflies, and an oriole. We also saw a person and got to talk with them about the fungus they are studying. And we played two rounds of Pooh Sticks.
The next day my plan was to take it easy at home, do some of my PT, as well as wash dishes and play some games with my kid. But as I was eating breakfast I saw a post on Facebook from the nature preserve about a butterfly hike. It was for the North American Butterfly Association’s yearly count to monitor butterfly populations. Wallace was down for it so as soon as we got done with lunch we headed over.
It was a lot of fun and we meshed well with the one other family that showed up. This time I wore jean shorts so I had a pocket for my phone and I took a few pictures. We counted over 80 butterflies in about two hours of hiking at a decent pace! The hike ended up being about two hours long as we toured the various habitats at the preserve in order to see a variety of species. We had a lot more sun than I had expected and I traversed up and down inclines for the first time.
It was fun, but I was completely wiped out after, plus minor sunburn on my shoulders and a few mosquito bites. I could barely function when we got home so we rested, had frozen dinners (Wallace thinks this is a huge treat as fast food isn’t an option due to my Celiac disease and dairy intolerance), and watched a Thomas the Train movie. It felt like every bit of exertion, physical or mental, sunk me deeper into exhaustion. I was very easily irritated by light, sound, touch/movement, and smells, more than my usual sensitivity.
Today I will for real take it easy, especially since it’s going to be in the 80s and the humidity is already oppressive. We plan to play the Pokemon Trading Card Game, make some Lego structures, and hopefully cook a yummy dinner.