Journal in the Woods

A little black leather-bound mystery fell into my lap today.  My friend Marjie, another English teacher in my school, handed me the journal 9th period.  A student’s father had found it in the trees alongside a trail when he was hiking in the  Adirondacks.  They looked for a name.  Nothing. They read bits and pieces of it but couldn’t figure out who might have left it in the woods.

I opened the front cover and saw this.

The journal was filled (half-filled, actually) with beautiful sketches, poems, and thankfulness for the role that nature plays in grounding us when we need it the most.  But no name.  No clues.  Just lovely pencil sketches and descriptions of the moss, the ferns, the pitcher plants in the bog.  It is lovely.  And homesick, I can tell.  This journal needs to get back to its owner.

Here’s our best hope.  At the end of each entry was a date and the name of the trail the writer hiked that day.  The Department of Environmental Conservation leaves log books at the trailheads of many Adirondack hikes.  Did this hiker sign the logs?  I took the journal home tonight, and my kids are on the case now, too.  We’ll be hiking this weekend, following Mystery Writer’s trail and checking the log books to see who hiked on those days.  I’ll post a progress report next week!