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Archive for June 15th, 2013

Gotcha! Thought I was going to talk about eating disorders didn’t you? No, I don’t think it is a laughing matter but at times our language is. I could have said, “What a gorgeous day,” which would at any rate be correct. My two youngest sons and I hiked about 10 miles in Linville Gorge today, and it was challenging, and it was beautiful.

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For those of you who know the Gorge, the following description will make some sense. We parked at Spence Ridge Trailhead and walked the old forest service road to meet the Mountain-to-Sea Trail which heads alongside Table Rock and joins its trail so that we traversed the parking lot. Then we continued along the ridge toward the Chimneys. The picture of the bird is evidently a Junco, though I have never seen one with quite this coloring. The most interesting part to me was its black bill. Now guide or internet picture has one with a black bill. All of the feather coloring shows up in pictures but not in this combination. I thought I’d found a Linville Gorge variety, and perhaps I have. Boy, were the climbers out in force at TR and the Chimneys. We passed quite a few weekend backpackers, too. Out of the more crowded climes, ¬†we continued to Chimney Gap and then veered right onto a little known and unmaintained trail on the spur that runs between the Gap and Shortoff called Cambric Branch Trail. I had attempted it with two of my sons on a winter day with little daylight and missed. I was back to find it from the other end. We succeeded, flying down the narrow,brush grown trail. At the bottom we forded Linville River and headed upstream on the Gorge Trail. I had quite a fright when a water snake moved on a rock next to me. It was harmless. At various points upstream I saw driftwood at least 25 feet above the water level. The flood water must have been awesome to behold and loud. At this point I began to get weary given the frantic pace my youngin’s were laying down and the slight case of dehydration that was developing. It is nigh on to impossible to stay hydrated when you a sweating bullets. I began to think that the bridge had been washed out and I had missed it. Well, it had been washed out but the site was merely further upstream than my legs wanted to admit. The boys were there before me, and so was a crowd of swimmers and backpackers crossing, perhaps 20 people in the 30 minutes we hung out. I went for a swim in the river. Cold water always relieves tire muscles and cooled me below the temperature to need sweating out more moisture. My two sons were pretty chill but didn’t want to swim for some reason. The Spence Ridge Trail is steep but not excessively so we came out reasonably well. Wildflowers, wildlife, blue sky, time with the boys, wilderness, rock cliffs, trees, river, challenge to the body, and finding the trail I’d failed at before made for a good day for which I give thanks to the Creator of it all.

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