Sunday, August 16, 2009
Forest Walk, Creek Swim...
Today, Clare and I went with some of the Hatkes down to a secluded spot, pictured above, in Passage Creek. The creek, about 5-8 minutes from our house, winds through Fort Valley and a narrow gorge, terminating at the Shenandoah river. The creek, possibly the cleanest creek in the state, is stocked with Trout several times a year, and though it gets fished hard, has many neat spots for fishing.
The spot pictured above is actually the swimming hole we visited, although only half of it is shown and the water was a bit lower today. One really nifty thing about this location is that there is a bit of a sandy shoal on which to hang out and launch your swimming expedition. It is actually quite deep in the middle of the creek, with enough space to do laps if that's your fancy, or jump off the rope swing.
Me, I was just happy to get in the water. The setting is almost western, with plenty of yellow pine lining the canyon. The relaxing sound of water splashing into the basin creates a splendid backdrop on which to relax and enjoy yourself, provided there are no yocals.
Actually we passed some yocals today as we slowly meandered toward our spot. Unfortunately, "Ginger," what looked to be a pit-bill mix, was not taking too kindly to our passage and starting to get out of hand. Its owners took control of the situation and further secured the leash, but it was certainly not the way I was hoping to start off our time at the creek.
As I watched this scenario unfold before me, I was going into the "zone," wherein the mind and body become broadly focused on the totality of a situation in preparation for a martial response. In this case, that was response was to draw my sidearm and put a 124 gr. hollow point bullet in the animal's rib cage. I am certainly glad it did not come to that, but it was one of those moments in which I was glad I was carrying. I would have not wanted to look on in horror, helpless, while watching someone get mauled.
For the record, I love dogs, but if you are out in public with an unsecured and potentially hostile animal, I will ask questions later--after I save my own ass.
In any event, it did not come to that and no sooner had we arrived then we had the place to ourselves. Swimming in the creek was uber-relaxing, the kind of thing you see in a tourist advertisement for a particular state or park. It was a real blessing to be able to spend a good chunk of our day there, and I look forward to returning.