Tag Archives: hiking

Anticipation of its wonders…

nearly has me giddy.  It has been over two months since I have been out in the wild with my pentax, hiked a steep and winding mountain trail, sat on my favorite rock or stood in front of the falls.  I find that I am in serious withdrawal from the beauties and bounties of being alone in the midst of nature.  But the waiting is about to end.  After multiple injuries that kept me in a state of suspension on level ground, I am at the cusp of being released to return to my normal, weekend warrior activity.

The bone doc shakes his head at me each time I speak of climbing narrow mountain trails, scaling over rocks, holding onto trees to keep from falling backwards on steep paths and standing inches from the edge of a cliff just to get a vertical shot; he doesn’t understand that those things are as much a part of my life as the air I breathe.  He doesn’t understand that it is part of what sustains me. They make no sense to him and why, after all, should they.  I am part of distinct breed and we know what makes us tick whether anyone else does or not.

I long for it and longing is a very strong emotion.  I find myself thinking of the magnitude of loss that not having the hikes and jaunts every weekend have brought me.  No, it is not like losing a loved one or dear friend.  It is more like losing a cherished lover.  The envelopment of the wonder of nature is so complete that I feel untouchable when I am in the midst of it, held in the beauty and silence and soothed from every negative thought.  The silence of human voice combined with the chatter of nature is so alluring.  Setting up the tripod for long exposure shots, zooming in on a bloom, rock, leaf or whatever may catch my eye, is intoxicating to me; yes, I long for it.

It doesn’t matter what the good doctor has to say tomorrow.  I have been doing my own Physical Therapy and my shoulder is strong and ready to take on whatever comes my way.  I have already waited far longer than I wanted to.  I have exercised to way too many aerobics videos, practiced yoga until I can put my foot around my neck and into the opposite ear, lifted weights and performed hundreds of lunges and squats to keep my body strong.  I hate it.  Every single moment of it.  I don’t want to try to keep up with some bimbo that does things that make no sense and, regardless of how limber I am, I can only stretch so far.  I feel that I am well on my way to being a contortionists and warn my friends that they should not be surprised if they open a box and I am in it.

I have made an executive decision that I don’t really care, one way or the other, what the doc says tomorrow.  I am going into the mountain on Saturday.  I am going on a trail shoot and see what January in the mountains has to offer.  I have missed it more than I have the missed my dearest friends that I have neglected to keep in touch with.  Not great for their egos, but I’ve never lied to them before, why start now.  I think they know anyway; know that they take a back seat to the chance to get into the wilderness and see what waits for me there.  It’s why they are my dearest friends.  They understand me and, inexplicably, like me anyway.  Plain and simple.

While I still have a little soreness, the backpack will be a challenge.  But challenges don’t scare me, they inspire me.  So I’ll fill it up with water, toast-chee crackers, nekot cookies, a first aid kit, a few of my favorite lens filters and deal with it.  I’m already so excited about the adventure that everything else has suddenly become obsolete.  It just proves what I have said all along … I have a selfish bent.  And this Saturday, I’m playing the “me” card.  I have few responsibilities, when it comes to everyday weekend life, so being able to go where I please, when I please, for however long I please, is priceless.

Now to turn a complete 360 and change the subject entirely; I took out my Christmas tree tonight.  It was the first tree I have had in many years and the only one that has ever belonged solely to me.  I was apprehensive about putting one up at all.  I just didn’t want the past to become more a part of my future than it already is.  But I put it up, decorated it with only lights, and enjoyed it for over three weeks.  I now look out the unobstructed window and, with a regret I never imagined, miss my tree.  If I could have found a way to sustain it, I may have kept it up for months.  So soothing and comforting were the fading and blinking lights.  I don’t know for certain that I will have a tree next year as I doubt I will ever be as enamored as I was this year.  Taking back to myself what I had lost to sorrow, disappointment and plain disillusionment was one of the best things I have ever done for myself.  And I owe my dear friend, Missy, along with her young son, for picking out my perfect tree.  Many thanks in this shoutout to her and TAS.

Tomorrow is another day, and if I am blessed to live until then, I will embrace it and take it in as best I can.  My daily work has become a burden to me as I find my thoughts everywhere but where they should be.  It takes an enormous amount of concentration (which I am not know for), dedication, which I can  handle and people skills that though, I have a knack for, can’t find the passion that should be there.  In my heart, I am a photographer and writer; I am a nurse because I have bills to pay.  It didn’t start that way, but it’s how it ended up.  Anxiously awaiting Saturday when I will immerse myself in the beauty of winter.  I can barely sit still thinking about it.  That, in itself, speaks volumes.  That, in itself, defines a huge part of me.  My drummer, my march.  Selfish?  Yes, on some level.  Regretful?  Not a chance.  Bring it on.  I am willing and able.  No other requirements are necessary.  Praising God as I go and thank Him for all that He shows me.  I am blessed beyond anything I ever thought possible.  Yeah.

Little Stoney Falls, Southwest VA

Isaiah :12 ~ For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

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.