I’m Back !

It is becoming more and more obvious that I am terrible at keeping a ‘blog’. I quess I am more interested in living life and having adventures than I am in writing about them. Be that as it may, now that the weather has turned cold, perhaps I can get caught up a little bit on the writing for the website. As you may have noticed, was hacked a couple of months ago, and the template for the front page was destroyed. Rat has put up a temporary new front page, until we can do better. Anyway, I personally apologise for the inconvenience, and the lack of new reading material. In other words, I will try to do better.
For those of you who wonder, I have been out hiking in the mountains quite a lot (whenever possible, would be more of an appropriate statement). My latest hike was in the ‘Sampson Wilderness Area’, Also known as ‘Clark’s Creek’. It was a cold day,

Clarks Creek

Clarks Creek

and there was snow on the ground and clinging to the mountain laurel bushes and evergreen trees. I journeyed up to a place known to us as ‘Long Arm Branch Falls’. I have several memories of that place…the most poignant of which was the time, several years ago, when I hiked up past there with my dog, Buford, the day of the flash flood. On that rain-drenched afternoon, the waterfall was a raging niagara, powerful enough to send large rocks careening off the top, where I witnessed one crash onto the boulders below the falls, break in two, and bounce to my feet. It was as impressive as it was dangerous. But, on this cold Sunday, the waterfall was not much more than a large wet rock–this is because of the cumulative effect of several years of draught in this region. It was very peaceful being there, but would have liked to have seen more water in the creek and over the falls.
One of the nice things about hiking in the mountains during the later fall/early winter is the increased visability one gets thanks, in part, to the the deciduous trees dropping their leaves. I am always seeing new ‘trails’, perhaps old ‘skidder’ trails left from the time when this area was logged out. I have a wandering spirit, it seems, and like to explore places that appear interesting. It was already late in the afternoon, and I had somewhat resolved ahead of time to ‘stay on the trail’, but when I saw the overhanging rock above me–part of a abbrieviated spur ridge composed of solid rock–well, I had to go climb up and sit on the edge. The large boulder/false ridgeline pointed straight out the hollow and toward Sampson Mountain, in the distance. Looking down, I could see the trail about 75 yards below. After a little while, still covered in snow that had fallen off the laurels onto me, I carefully climbed back down off of the slippery boulder. Somehow, I didn’t realize it until later, probably because I was concentrating on not falling, I managed to get a few deep scratches and a bruise on my legs.
Seeing the darkness approaching (no, I didn’t have a flashlight) I descended back down the steep, rocky trail to the car. I overestimated the amount of daylight that I had left, and ended up walking the last 5 or 10 minutes in the relative darkness. In summary, I had fun; it was very peaceful and quiet on the mountain, and the snow was beautiful.
Now that the blog is back in operation, I hope you will pardon me for writing ‘backwards’ until I get caught up with my writing. I still want to tell everyone about ‘Rat’s Birthday Hike’ (4 days and 3 nights of hiking and camping), camping at Hoppy’s place in Damascus, Virginia during ‘Trail Days’, and taking ‘Legs’ hiking on a couple wilderness trails and seeing some waterfalls when he was visiting Rat, just to mention a few.


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