Today, I feel …

strong.  accomplished. motivated. tired. empowered.  It was a long day consisting of a long, difficult hike, mostly uphill, to be able to stand a bit closer to the sky and look out upon the beauty that lay below.  My trail shoots are usually five miles and under and while they are often to high places, with climbs and some measure of danger, today took the cake.  For eight hours, myself, my sister, niece and cousin trekked ten miles, mostly uphill, at a fairly steep incline.  At times, the steepness was such that holding onto trees or putting our hands on the ground was essential if we wanted to live to see another day.  It is, to date, the most difficult hike I have taken.  Had we decided to come in after visiting the White Rocks overlook, it would have likely been pretty much par for the course.  But no.  It wasn’t enough.  We went on to the Sand Cave.  I blame myself for it as I wanted so badly to see it and while we were there, we decided to bite the bullet and add an extra three miles to our adventure.  Knowing now what I didn’t know this morning when we started, I realize that in the future, I will go to one or the other, not both.  Actually, after having visited the Sand Cave, I can’t think of a good reason to go back.  Don’t misunderstand, it was beautiful, but it wasn’t what I had pictured in my mind.  The sand was deep and nearly impossible to walk in with shoes on.  I’m not a fan of sand in the first place, especially with shoes on, and this didn’t do anything to make me more of a fan.  The sand had the consistency of baby powder and didn’t stick to anything; a couple of stomps on a rock and all the sand feel off my shoes.  It was unusual and the ceiling and walls of the cave were spectacular, but still …  not a place I would purposely go to again.  The hike down to the cave was steep and, at times, treacherous, but the hike out was dangerous in the beginning and just plain exhausting by the end.  Already being tired and hungry (since as usual, I only had a pack of Toast-Chee crackers) made the climb out from the cave unusually strenuous.  The entire trail was rocky and rough, making it even more arduous.  The trail is listed as moderate, but don’t believe it for a minute.  It is, in places,  somewhat moderate but mostly difficult and not a trail I would recommend for amateurs.

Next weekend, I will go back to my beloved falls to see the foliage change and sit on the rocks for a while, enjoying the sound of rushing water and the complete solitude that I have found nearly every time I have gone there.  After today, it will feel no more strenuous than walking to the mailbox.

Let all creation sing a song
So that I may sing along.

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