So as you may recall on Friday (wow, that seems so LONG ago), I was really excited about my first hiking expedition up a mountain in a very long time. I had been training for this! I was so excited to stand on top of the world and holler down to all the puny subjects at the bottom of the mountain (ok, mostly frogs and maybe a moose) and say I was better than any of them. Yup, that was definitely the plan when I got up Sunday morning. Hike mountain, yell down, walk down mountain. It shouldn’t be that hard to climb a mountain, right? I mean it is right there in front of you… and the trail on the map seemed easy enough to get to. So the fiance and I picked up our amazing hiking buddies and headed off.
Look! We can see our destination in this picture. The top is right there. When we parked, a pick up truck drove by and asked us if we were going to hike up the mountain. When we told him yes, he kind of shook his head and said “God Bless,” and then proceeded to tell us about a way to get to the Appalachian Trail rather than following Mountain RD which is what the map told us to do. We decided this guy must know what he was talking about so we decided to drive further down to this turn-about the man had mentioned, all the while the words “God Bless” echoing in the back of my mind.
After a couple wrong turns, we eventually made it to the round-about the man had mentioned where you can park and then he said there was a trail that lead directly to the Appalachian Trail. So we picked the root that looked most like the trail and started hiking. Or should I say swimming? Sinking? The trail was a complete and utter mud pit! We were stepping on logs, rocks, anywhere where we hoped we wouldn’t sink a foot into the mud. We followed this trail for about a mile and eventually it stopped being muddy and just got really steep. Things did not seem right to us and according to my GPS we were not intersecting with the Appalachian trail any time soon. We decided that we were going to try the way we originally intended on climbing the mountain.
So we climbed back through the mud and the muck (which was a lot easier now that we kind of sort of had an idea of where to step and where not to step). Got in our cars and headed back down to where we first started and planned to go down Mountain Road instead. Well when we first approach Mountain Road, we see that the stream has overflowed into the road. My fiance jumps out and takes a look around and says the water is only 4 inches deep and we can totally just drive across. We all look at each skeptically but decide to give it a go.
The water is like 8 inches tall. Waves are forming. The water is rushing. I can feel our beautiful newish Escape wanting to just give in and lose traction. I fear the worse… but luckily we make it across and believe that will be the worse of the drive. 10 seconds later… big huge hole in the ground. No way we can drive down it without getting stuck. I tell the fiance to quickly get out and tell our friend in the vehicle behind us not to cross the raging stream because we actually have to now back up through it. In his haste, he forgets to put our car in park and we start rolling towards the ravine! This is it. We are going to die. Here. Not on the mountainside, hiking for our life, but here in the car just trying to find the trail. Luckily, at the last possible minute before we plunged to our deaths down a 3 foot hole, my fiance jumps in the car, hits the brake and puts it into park. Phew. Thank goodness. Disaster averted for now.
We backed up and decided to park just on the other side of the stream and decided we were going to hike up the road until it intersected with the Appalachian Trail. How could things possibly go wrong from there? It didn’t seem like that long of a hike so we were confident that we could still make it at least partly up the mountain.
This trail was a little muddy but definitely more manageable than the trail we had first started on or maybe at this point we no longer cared about a little mud.
So anyway, this road definitely is not a road we would have ever been able to drive on. Big holes in the ground. Lots of muddy stuff. We would have needed an ATV or something. And then eventually we also had to be able to cross the stream…
The only bridge we found was a scary, falling apart snowmobile bridge. Rotten Wood, holes in the boards…everything about this bridge screamed out “We are only being held together by termites.” But we were a determined group and decided that we were not going to let falling into the river stop us from finding the Appalachian Trail.
This actually showed a lot of growth on my part because I am pretty terrified of rickety bridges… and here I was, trying not to fall into the river, trying not to over-analyze each step, and just get to the other side. Luckily we all made it across without any casualties. It was a wonderful team-building activity.
We continued on our way, following what seemed to be old logging roads? There had definitely been some logging done recently. The wilderness was absolutely beautiful, though. And the company was perfect. Despite the fact we seemed to be getting farther, and farther away from our destination… none of us got upset or angry. We were just happy to be outside on a wonderful spring day and I don’t know… something about it all made it seem like that much more of an adventure than if we had just followed a very well known path. It was definitely one of those life challenges that really depicts your character and luckily all of us had great senses of humor and could really appreciate the situation.
We came upon a butterfly meeting soon after we crossed the rickety bridge. We decided they were plotting against my fiance since he kept running the butterflies over on our drive. Once we got to the end of the trail, there was going to be a giant butterfly in which we would have to battle.
Soon after the butterfly gathering, we finally saw the sign we had been so looking forward to seeing!
We decided we were just going to go up a little bit of the Appalachian because we still had to walk all the way back to where our vehicles were parked. It is a good thing we decided this because we were going to get very far anyway.
Also, the water is going much faster than it actually appears. The rocks were slippery. Maybe, just maybe, if it had been a smaller group… I might have tried it… but we were so far away from the car and I really did not want to fall in and get soaking wet. So once again, our attempts to reach Barren Mountain were thwarted. It was a blast anyway! We learned a lot about hiking and trails… and definitely are planning on going hiking again soon. Probably not Barren Mountain… we may actually try to go on a very well marked trail so we definitely climb a mountain.
Because we never made along the Appalachian Trail, I had to resort to actually peeing in the woods instead of in a privy. It was hard being by running water and really having to go! Yet I feel that really put the cherry on this adventure. I am a true hiker now!
Stay tune tomorrow when I relate all this to weight loss!