I woke up around 4:45 (my usual reveille is 5am), did my usual morning routine, and was coffeed, bathroomed, dressed, and davvenned by 6:45. Stepped off at 7am sharp as planned.
I passed the library at 7:15 and continued up Sunset. I'd meant to take 19th Drive but I missed it, so I cut across via (I think) Martha. It was a little bit of a grade, but none of the trip was impossibly steep. So I followed 19th Drive up to the end, where it kisses Sunset and makes a right-angle right turn as 25th. (I was trying to stick to the routes marked on my trail map.) Zigged and zagged via Hamilton to Dosch Road, and just went straight up Dosch.
Up until this point I'd been planning on going an hour out - say, about as far as Council Crest Park, according to Google Maps - and turning around and coming back. But I was feeling pretty good, and I figured if I got as far as Patton Road, I'd almost be at Forest Park.
I hit Patton right at the one-hour mark. There's a gas station right on the corner (good, because I needed to pee), a bus shelter with a bench, and a church across the street. I did my business, sat down for a rest break, and snapped a picture of the church.
I felt good and I wanted to keep going, so I thought, fuck it, YOLO, let's do it. There's a trail that takes off from Patton Road just a short distance from the corner, and it takes you to Forest Park. So I took it. I was in Forest Park by 8:45.
I probably spent an inordinate amount of time trudging aimlessly around the non-wooded areas, but I'd set Wildwood Trail as my mental goal so I wanted to find where it started. I did find and visit the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial, and from there managed to find the official trailhead. I tried to follow the trail but got semi-lost a couple of times. The SW Trails map was of only limited use in the park/zoo area, and I'd left my Wildwood Trail map at home - since I left the house thinking I was only gonna go as far as Council Crest Park!
Finally I decided it was time to head home. From my home to Forest Park was mostly uphill, so I knew the return trip would be easier. I found my way out of the zoo area and back to the pedestrian overpass across 26. I took another break at Patton/Dosch, and took Dosch, Hamilton, and Dosch Park Lane back to Boundary - and from there to Sunset, and back home to Hillsdale.
I got home just before 12 noon. My two-hour walk had turned into a five-hour hike, but I felt really good physically and mentally. By the end, my feet were a little sore, and my shoulders were a little sore from the pack. (I was carrying more than I strictly needed, mostly for conditioning purposes; the dry weight of the pack was about 16 lbs.)
So, considering it's been a while since I had any serious outdoor time, I think I did OK for an old guy.