Here I got off the recumbent trike to take some photos near Camp Creek.   LISA BRAINARD/BLUFF COUNTRY READER
Here I got off the recumbent trike to take some photos near Camp Creek. LISA BRAINARD/BLUFF COUNTRY READER
At times in the past 10 years I've thought that maybe I should move to South Dakota, Wyoming or another of my favorite western states.

However, that remains just a pleasant contemplation because two things stop me immediately. First, I think I'd miss all the vibrant green foliage and hardwood trees of our beautiful Bluff Country. Although I love the rolling prairies, they usually turn into kind of a parched, dried-out, straw green due to the normally arid climate.

I have to note that green is my favorite color. The neon green bedroom of my long-ago youth attests to that. I can still shut my eyes and envision it in all its invigorating glory. But the vibrant, living greens outside are just that much better.

The other major factor keeping me in my beloved Bluff Country is a nice little, soft breeze, say, as opposed to constant, gusting, howling wind on the western plains.

(And in all reality, let me not forget a third factor - my great friends and the wonderful people of this area. You've become even more appreciated through the ordeal of my accident.)

Nearly constant, strong winds . . . I think that would drive me nuts. One friend told me that the nights when the "crazies" come out and end up in jail for some bizarre crime are not on nights of full moons, as commonly is assumed. No, it's following a day filled with strong winds. Yes, that totally makes sense to me.

Thank goodness those obnoxious winds typically steer clear of us other than a couple times each year. One would be during winter's howling whiteouts known as blizzards. Heck, we all know parts of South Dakota, Nebraska and Wyoming recently suffered from much-too-early versions of blizzards.

Speaking of fall, that's the other time. Sometimes the winds really kick up, as if it's part of their job fulfillment to thoroughly strip the trees of their colorful leaves.

We have recently entertained these very winds. They left the swirling snow out west, but continued nearly full force here.

On such days in the past, I would forego any planned hike because complications could range from mundane but irritating dust blown into your eyes to the dangers of limbs breaking off and trees falling over,

I've skipped taking the recumbent trike on area trails on some recent windy days. But we all know fall's beautiful days last only so long, so the urge to get out is strong, plus the exercise is good.

So, off I went last Tuesday, trying to figure out where the strong winds from the south might be lessened by terrain and trail direction. I decided to head south in the Camp Creek valley along that portion of the Harmony-Preston Valley Trail. I thought it might be somewhat protected or, if the wind did bother, at least it would be to my back and provide a boost on the way home.

The wind was indeed bothersome. I hadn't ridden very far at all before having to stop where a tall, thin tree had fallen over and was blocking the trail. It was just past the horse farm.

Since I'd made the effort to get out, I didn't like being stopped, but fear of trees toppling in the wind was generously reinforced.

I turned around, wondering what to do next after first calling a friend to alert the DNR to the clean-up needed.

If I went off on a different trail, I'd need to text my friends the change in plans so they'd have my up-to-date trail itinerary. I always contact them to let them know my planned route and expected time of return, contacting them again when I get home. Usually it's all done by e-mail. The idea is that friends would have a place to look should I have problems and not make the "I'm back" contact as planned. It's a good idea for anyone adventuring alone.

Here's what I finally decided to do. There are some short, hard-surface trails that lead to Camp Creek. I figure they are for handicap fishing accessibility, trout stocking accessibility or something along those lines.

At the first one I visited, I parked the trike, grabbed the combination trekking pole/camera monopod/cane and headed toward the stream to take some photos. At the second one I stayed on the trike as I photographed.

Both were fun. I enjoyed the challenge of taking photos from new angles. And a person can't take a bad shot. That's not a blowhard statement, which I'll leave to the wind. In this case you're virtually guaranteed a great photo given the beauty of impressive fall colors.