Saturday, August 07, 2010

Thirst for Adventure


This morning I was up at 2AM, restless as can be. I've been fiending to spend some serious time in the woods for the past week, and today these moments had arrived.

The pics above are from the hike up to Buzzard Rock. It's two miles one way of moderately difficult terrain. Appalacia's infamous rocks line the trail in parts, making it the hike a bit more challenging. According to, the ascent is a mere 650 feet, but there's a lot of up and down along the way.

This was THE perfect hike for today. Before the trip, I emptied my milsurp bug-out bag (which needed to be cleaned out anyhow) that I keep in the vehicle, added 2 liters of H20 in USA made Nalgene's, some trail mix, the foldable doggy bowl, a banana, and some sugar cookies neatly packed in tupperware, this last ostensibly for the dog.

Leia and I were out of the house at 6:01 and at the trail head at 6:09, while my family was still asleep. Having not been out on a trail by myself in a long time, I was bit apprehensive first about plunging into the forest alone, just because. I was reassured, however, by the legally concealed Glock on my hip and my canine companion's enthusiasm and lust for adventure. After the initial adjustment to the change of scenery, I was overcome by the peace of the mountain and the Eastern Forests and energetically pursued the climb.

Leia and I made it to the first summit and overlook at the right moment. Even though she was tired, Leia did not want to stop until we made it, which was remarkable. She didn't want to continue upwards from there, though, so we copped a spot and pulled out the supplies. I gave Leia a sugar cookie, and she promptly buried it, which made me laugh. I gave her another, and she buried that one too. I guess these were gifts to the mountain, unless she plans on coming back to retrieve them later. Makes me wonder what I have buried in my yard.

One awesome thing about the trip was that it was still very cool under the forest canopy, making the temperature ideal for a hike. At the top, the steady breeze was chilly on sweat. I was wearing one of my fly-fishing Gander Mountain long sleeve shirts and jeans, but I wish I had a warmer garment.

>After snapping a few pictures and basking in the moment, we began our descent to civilization. As always, I was impressed with Leia's ability to pick her way through myriads of rocks, and I was heartened to see some skip return to her step as we began the up and down portion which signaled that we are on the last half of the trail.

We made it out to the Jeep by 8:01. I was impressed. Clare and the kiddos would just be waking up, and I satisfied my desire to be alone amidst nature and the denizens of the mountain.

A couple of reflections before I close. My work boots, which are stiff steel-toed Red Wings, from there Made in China Worx line, performed awesomely. I mean these things delivered better than anything I've worn previously on a hike; they made the troublesome stones along the trail much easier to navigate safely and kept my ankle well-supported during the occasional slip. Overall, I'd wear these things again in a heartbeat, but I am interested in seeing what Red Wing has to offer in their line of actual hiking boots.

Traveling light and traveling smart cannot be overemphasized. As always on a hike like this, my thoughts drifted to those intrepid souls who thru-hike from Georgia to Maine or elsewhere. Ultra-light is the way to go, especially since that frees up room for more ammo. But seriously, for things like a bug-out bag, where what's in your bag is your life, each item, at some point, needs to be carefully selected, especially if you have to travel through mountainous terrain.

One last thing. Waking up ass-early and getting out doing something awesome before the day starts is the way to go. Sometimes you just need to get off your internet ass and do something. I am really glad I did.

Over and Out,



Bridget said...

Dude, that's awesome! I have been up that trail before, many years ago, but it's a great hike! The views are amazing! You're so lucky to live so close to GW Nat'l Park!

Martin Schap said...

Looks like a very cool time. Your abundance of scenic parks is something Virginia has that my AO does not.

Nick-dog said...

Bridget--thanks for the props! It is a sweet trail, which I am glad you've experienced; and I'm indeed lucky it's so close by.

Martino--It was indeed. I just needed to get out there man. I'd like to do more stuff like this, but most of the other trails require a longer time committment.

And, of course, you are always welcome to make this your new AO!