As an elementary student, many of my after school hours were spent trotting into the woods to explore the fall landscape around Limekiln Lake.
A lot of these hiking adventures were unplanned with no particular destination in mind.
I just went wherever my 10-year-old legs pushed me to travel.
My dog Mutt and I traveled up many creeks around the lake just to see where they started and what sorts of things we could find along the way.
Mutt like to splash belly-down in every large pool, clouding up the mud among the bright-colored fallen leaves.
This made it difficult for me to scour the creeks’ edges and bottoms for cool gemstones.
On one particular afternoon we hiked almost two miles along a creek that had a lot of tiny cascading waterfalls and a few open pools.
Mutt lost interest in our quest and snuck away to follow the sound of a scolding Red Squirrel.
The subtle trickling of the creek was the only sound heard.
But then, the peacefulness was disrupted by a low rumbling noise.
It sounded much like an approaching rainstorm— but at ground level—rushing pell-mell around the moss covered rocks.
It was followed by another sound—like a moan or groan that slowly swelled up and dissipated.
It made the hairs on the back of my neck bristle.
With that sudden shiver I found the need to quickly arm myself with a four-foot-long brittle maple stick that would surely aid me in fending off any creek monsters.
My adventure now had a purpose. I stalked up the creek bed to track down the monster responsible for the eerie sound.
If I was lucky I would see it up close.
I used my stick to prod every dark area of the creek and to lift rocks away from the wilting ferns.
But I never did come across any tracks of the grumbling creatures heard in my woods.
When Mutt finally bounded back into sight I had lost track of the moaning sounds altogether.
I thought perhaps the creek monsters were afraid of dogs.
We scouted up and down that creek until daylight started to fade and my stomach alerted me that supper must be close at-hand.
We never did find any creek monsters, but we spent many days carefully looking out for them in my woods.