Country RoadsJune 15, 2010 at 7:33 am | Posted in Blogroll, Cross Training, Half-Marathon, People I Meet, Training | 4 Comments
Tags: 10K, Appalachain Trail, Buzzard's Rock, Dog, Dyeing, Fiber Arts, Fleece, Friends, Heat, Hiking, Knitting, Outdoors, Pictures, running, Sheep, Spinning, Stiles Falls, Whitetop Mountain
Yeah, I know. I wandered again.
But seriously? If you’ve ever been in your first year of teaching…you’ll know exactly what I was going through, and exactly how little free time I had.
School ended one week ago tomorrow. How awesome is that?
Wednesday…I got new tires, always exciting, shopped WAY too much, but mostly bought things on sale, and then Thursday I got this……..
Meet Tully! He came from Ringdog Rescue in Richmond. His name there was Spanky…but I have this thing about naming all of my pets after Jimmy Buffett music/books/etc…so Tully it is. (From Mr. Buffett’s book, Salty Piece of Land)
He has been doing pretty good so far. He doesn’t like being alone too much, but he’s improving every day! The first time I tried to leave the house…he barked and whined the entire time. We’ve practiced and he’s getting more used to the idea.
However he is still pretty darn sure that the ice maker in the freezer is his sworn enemy. Either that, or he thinks that I REALLY want him to let me know every time fresh ice drops in to the bin. Maybe he’s just trying to be helpful! That’s probably it. I mean it makes perfect sense for him to wake me up at 1am barking his ears off so I would know that hey…if I’m feeling a bit parched, I can now get a nice beverage with the freshest ice possible. Yeah…we’ll call it helpful. For now…
He likes my cat, Paco (Apacolypso…after the JB song) and doesn’t mind the neighbor’s dog too much…even when she attempts to jump through my open window. He’s cool with that.
But let’s back up a bit to Friday. Also known as the Friday of Lostness, and Awesomeness.
I set out to meet Miss Ashlei for an awesome hike! We picked our spot, planned it out, and I even downloaded a few geocaches for the day! I had a lovely drive along the back roads of Southwest VA, mostly staying right along The Crooked Road. It was a glorious day.
Ashlei and I were to meet at the trailhead for Whitetop Mountain just past the town of Damascus at 9am. I got to the town, found the appropriate road…and began to get a bit concerned.
I grew more and more concerned as I kept driving…and looking for the trail signs. According to my directions there would be a sign marking the Appalachian Trail…however let me tell you buster, if there is a sign for it on Beech Mountain Road in Damascus, I drove up and down that tiny little gravel mountain road about 50 times, seeing no such sign!
I decided to try other options and followed some helpful green state signage for Whitetop Mountain. (You would think this would have worked out for me…but you would be wrong) I turned down the designated road…and drove along…being mildly concerned about my inability to find Ashlei, and also my inability to achieve cell phone signal and notify her of my predicament. As luck would have it, I came to a large sign and parking area for the Appalachian Trail! However…this was for Mt. Rogers. Not Whitetop…and because I had actually referenced a map at some point, I knew this wasn’t the parking area I wanted. So I pressed onward.
After about another 30 minutes of driving around confused, and glaring at my GPS which is normally so helpful, unless you yourself don’t know where it is that you want to go…I achieved cell phone signal by pulling off the side of the road, in to a gravel area that clearly other people had used for just this purpose seeing as it was the ONLY place in 10 square miles with an ounce of signal. My phone then told me I had a voicemail from Ashlei. This…was not helpful because the voicemail said she had NO signal and was calling from a payphone.
She said she would try and get ahold of her boyfriend, Matt, who I know from the blog-o-sphere as well. Luckily I had him on my chat contacts and managed to get ahold of him and he called to say he got a similar voicemail. We tried to work out a plan…but…were really both at a loss.
Finally, after a bit more driving around (by this time it was around 11:30, 2 and a half hours after we were to meet) and going back to the cell phone magic spot…Ashlei CALLED!!! She had driven back to cell phone signal!!! We agreed to meet at a predetermined location of which we both knew of…and 30 minutes later we were FINALLY able to find each other!
So. After that, you’d want to hang up your hat, right? It’s now 12:15 or so…3 hours after we intended to set out to hike 6 miles. And we STILL don’t know where this elusive trailhead is. But no. Since I’ve found the Mt. Rogers area…we decide to just go wander up there!
So we did. We managed to wander to Buzzard’s Rock. We had some great chats, saw some AMAZING scenery, and met some cool thru-hikers and shared a bit of trail magic with them. Good fortune for them good karma for us!
We got more pictures than I can even begin to share. If you want to see them all, please visit my photobucket album here: http://s539.photobucket.com/albums/ff354/PinkDsnyPrncess/Hiking%20with%20Ashlei/
But here are some of the highlights, INCLUDING a picture of Whitetop Mountain which we DID manage to find! Sneaky bugger. Now if only we could figure out how to get to the parking area…that we did actually hike past. Haha.
So. Then because that 6.5 mile hike just wasn’t enough, I set out on Saturday with my parents, my new dog, and a fellow Star City Strider.
We hiked Stiles Falls, which was a really nice, short 3 mile hike. The waterfall is amazing and ends in a shallow pool at the bottom where we could actually get in, and walk right up to the falls! It was really awesome!
The climb up the rocks to the pool was a little much for our four legged companion, so my dad found a lovely shaded stump to sit on and held on to Tully for me.
Apparently, Tully had already made up his mind who his mom was…and he had NO interest in watching her climb up and over rocks, and out of sight near roaring water. Dad said that he whined and pulled on the leash almost constantly and REALLY got upset when I was out of eyesight. He seems to like me, so yay for that!
Then I climbed back down and took Tully from dad so that he could go up to the falls with mom. Aaaand that’s when mom dropped her camera.
But she didn’t JUST drop it in the water, no, that would be too easy. She dropped it BETWEEN two of the boulders that we’d climbed to get to the pool below the falls. And I do mean boluders.
So after dad, mom, and the other member of our party all tried but failed to reach the camera from the rocks, I had dad come back down, hold Tully and I climbed up in the cave-like opening that the boulders made.
Who got the camera out?
Then…camera in hand, we headed down. (I’m not sure what the damage was…it was still on when I got it…but we took out the batteries, opened all the flaps/bits and let it air out, we also put it in a bowl of dry rice in hopes of pulling out the moisture. I have the SD card…but nothing to plug it in to to check it’s functionality…haven’t talked to mom to see if the camera works)
And then…because apparently I have developed a fascination with climbing up anything I possibly can…I decided to climb this tree.
And if I do something…mom of course want’s to go too.
It made for a lovely family portriat!
So, those are my adventures so far in the land of summer! This is my first summer not working/going to school in 10 years. You have NO idea how excited I am.
I think I’m hiking with some people from the Outdoor Club on Wednesday…and maybe again with Ashlei at the end of the month!!!!!!
Running-wise…I didn’t make it through the half that I had planned. It was pushing 75 degrees and humid at the 9am race start…I made it through the 10K portion and KNEW I was done. I was dehydrated all ready and I knew another 7 miles would have been a bad idea. I dropped out. My first DNF.
But I’m glad I did. I had a MASSIVE headache from then until Sunday morning from the dehydration. Going on would have probably been dangerous for me! No regrets at all! It was a beautiful course…but I just don’t do well in heat. Next year, I’ll just sign up for the 10K, unless the start-time moves back!
Since I have the summer off…my goals are to be outside as much as possible, do as much fiber-related art as possible, and really improve my running. I’m going to make working out my “job” for the summer.
But in fiber-related news, I have done a lot! I’ll explain in picture form…because I fully realize knitting, dyeing, and spinning aren’t exactly exciting topics of conversation for most people.
Well, now that I can check “update your blog, you slacker” off my list…I’m going to go work on another one of the the MANY things that I neglected in the past few weeks!
So long for now! (But hopefully not too long this time!)