Thursday, October 25, 2007

What To Do?

I hardly know what to do with myself. It has rained the past few days and it is supposed to rain for a few more. We hadn’t seen the rain in so long I almost forgot what it looked like. Maybe, just maybe this rain will help keep the fall colors for a few extra days.

There could be no Wednesday night ride with all of this supernatural stuff falling from the sky so yesterday at work I pondered what to do. I could be like a “normal” person and go home and watch a movie while it is raining but my mind and body craves more than that.

So I rounded up the new pup Shade and took off for Jones Gap State Park in our “Go Colbert” state of South Carolina. I can still count the number of times I have hiked in the park on one hand but I had a particular loop in mind when setting out. (This is where Shade decided to try and hide to scare me.)
Kristin and I did the loop back last winter/fall and it is a kick in the butt. You start out on Pinnacle Pass trail climbing and climbing. The type of hiking that requires the park to put up plastic coated metal wire hand holds in technical spots where a slip could be costly.

Shade obviously has not spent a lot of time in the great outdoors. He took the high line on the first technical section and realized pretty quickly that wet rocks are very slippery.

We started our hike around 5:45 with the hope of making it out of the park before it closed at 9:00. I knew we would have to hustle.

After a relentless 45 minutes of straight up hiking, we made it to the lookout. This is a sweet place in the park as you can see everything down the valley and waaaaaaaaaay down there somewhere you can see where we started. I had to be very careful here as Shade does not understand what a precarious ledge is and he wants to get all the way to the edge so he can sniff every animal in the valley.

The only part of the hike that worried me slightly was finding our connector trail in the dark. If I missed it, it would mean that we would be hiking to Caesar’s Head and that would be bad for a Wednesday night.

Luckily the signs light up great with my camping led and we had no problems finding the connector. As we were trotting our way back down the valley on Rim of the Gap Trail, we spooked an owl perched on a low branch by the trail. Luckily I had Shade on a leash at this point because he has some amazing reflexes when he sees something he wants. He wanted the Owl really bad.

We made it back to the car by 8:30 and luckily the ranger had left the exiting gate open for me. There is nothing like a spooky 3 hour night hike in a remote park to scare up the Halloween spirit in you. We will be back soon.


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