Sunday, September 22, 2013

So what have I been up to during that month-long break?

Well, a lot of thinking. And a lot of walking. Like the hike I took with a group on Labor Day up to Mt. LeConte. We went by Grotto Falls, the only waterfall in the Smokies you can walk behind.
The opposite of our pace.  Fast up Trillium Gap trail, almost 7 miles one way, a steep trail rated "strenuous." We walked past piles of berry-filled bear poop.
Never actually saw bears, though - just deer.
And llamas, returning from carrying supplies up to the Lodge.  Supplies which included the boxes of wine for the bottomless glass of cheap wine, which is topped off every time you took a couple of sips. I can tell you two things about that:  That it's very hard to monitor how much you are drinking when the wine glass stays magically full and that if all the wine is consumed in the space of less than an hour, you will not feel it at all until later.
A raucous game of Boggle before dinner (where I was loudly challenged and voted down for my use of the "fap," until it's meaning was confirmed by the young guys in the lodge's kitchen) and then a hike up to the overlook after to watch the sunset.
After dark, we returned to the lodge's rustic cabins and I went straight to bed. When I woke in the middle of the night to make the walk to the bathroom, my phone died part-way there. My phone which I was using as a flashlight. There I stood on the uneven dirt and stone path in my undies and a camisole, in the pitch black, waiting for the intermittent flashes of lightning from the brewing storm to light the way for me to take a few more steps forward. When you are in the dark, alone, in an area with signs warning of increased bear activity, you notice every rustle and crack around you.
Obviously, I was not killed by a bear. But the trail down the next morning was wet from the torrential rains the night before. I was not hungry at breakfast, and thought I'd be eating lunch on the return hike. So, my hypoglycemic light-headedness, the weight of the pack on my back, and the unexpected speed of our descent all made for some impressive momentum when I hit a tree root with the toe of my hiking boot.
Bloody bruises on my knees, thigh, arm, and palm, and a wrenched shoulder. The last couple of miles after that spill were less than fun for me. After I'd driven home, I eased myself into a tub of warm water and was glad to crawl into my soft bed that night.

34 comments:

  1. dont know if that comment posted so here goes again...

    what is life without a few bruises eh? smiles...what a brilliant red sky...and pretty cool on seeing the falls and all the life along the way....

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  2. YAWZA! Those bruises look like they hurt. OUCH!%*#

    Gorgeous, and I mean GORGEOUS photos of the sunset! What a brilliant sky! Sunsets are my favorite time of the day.

    "That it's very hard to monitor how much you are drinking when the wine glass stays magically full and that if all the wine is consumed in the space of less than an hour, you will not feel it at all until later."

    HA! And I love the photo of the Llamas! I think Llamas have the cutest face.

    Sounds like you had a great time during your break.

    X

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    1. Hurt like the dickens! Actually, I'm STILL a little sore!

      Llama faces crack me up. They always have a funny expression.

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  3. Nice hiking adventure, and good pictures. Is that snail the edible variety? I always think of garlic and butter when I see one.

    Ok, the word 'fap'.......I had not heard of it, and when you mentioned young men as the arbiter I called my oldest and asked her if she knew it. It happened that the other daughter was at her house visiting...I heard K. say "Dad want's to know what 'fap' means!!" I heard laughter and hilarity ensuing, followed by innuendo and snickering.

    So thanks for that.

    Cheers.

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    1. Bwahahaha! Okay, I literally laughed out loud when I read that second bit.

      I have no idea about the snail. I've only eaten them when someone else has chosen them and covered them in garlic butter.

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  4. Ouch! Your pictures are wonderful and so is the fact that your injuries were minor compared to what they could have been,,,I need a good think myself...

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    1. I was rally aware even as I fell that I could be seriously hurting myself and was relieved when I didn't.

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  5. well until the abrupt ending it all sounded completely lovely! well, ok, in the dark in the woods only wearing undies perhaps not so much but....the rest for sure.

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    1. Most of it really was. I'm so glad I went on that trip.

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  6. All in all an eventful hike. All that’s missing is the encounter with a bear.

    Pity about the speedy descent into bruised knees and all points north, as well as a bruised ego. Not the ideal way to round off an adventure like this. A trip to the loo in knickers and vest in the pitch dark, outdoors, on a difficult track, is perhaps not what I would have chosen as a nighttime excursion but needs must.

    Hope you manage to look back fondly and that you’ve enjoyed yourself.

    What’s ‘fap’?

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    1. My ego, fortunately, is unbruised by such occurrences. It's only the physical pain that bothers me.

      I have to say that "knickers and a vest" sounds far less sexy than "undies and a camisole."

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  7. No, don’t tell me. I looked it up.

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  8. Nothing about that weekend sounds fun to me......steep hiking, bears, poop, outdoor plumbing, box wine, blood? Ok, I guess I could handle Boggle!

    You would probably be fun to play Dirty Scrabble with!

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    1. Ah, now Bijoux - where's your sense of adventure? :-)

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  9. Ouchy! But the pictures and the llamas, mein gott, so gorgeous.

    Great adventure.

    Good healing.

    XO
    WWW

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    1. Thanks. It really was a lovely hike, in spite of the bruises.

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  10. ouch - compared to a bear attack I guess not too bad. You didn't bring a flashlight or just forgot it in the room?

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    1. I brought my phone for a flashlight - it has a really good flashlight app.

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  11. Sounds like a great adventure. I hope the rest of your time of reflection was similarly full of far more good than bad. Missed you.

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    1. Definitely more good than bad. And thanks, It was hard to stay away from everyone, but I needed to.

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  12. Ouch! It didn't all turn out perfect but it was certainly exciting....

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  13. OUCH! Sorry about the fall :-( But the trip looks gorgeous.

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  14. That looked like a nasty tumble you took! I would not have gone out in the middle of the dark woods alone if nature called in the middle of the night. I would have woken someone up to take with me :)

    Looked like a fun adventure though. While I love my wine, those top off your glass situations have been the ruin of me on a few occasions......

    betty

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    1. I guess waking someone up didn't even occur to me. But if my phone hadn't died, I'd have been fine.

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  15. I guess all that beautiful scenery is worth the odd tumble....

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  16. Good grief!! I had to go back to read about those bruises! Well done :) Glad you are okay and survived your break from blogging!

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  17. Ouch! That is an impressive collection of abrasions. No wonder is swelled up and generally made you miserable.

    LOL on "fap". I can't believe you used it. No, actually I can. And I can almost believe they didn't recognize it, too. It's the sort of thing my kids say around me, then get weirded out if I use it too.

    I've gotten pretty good at stumbling around in the dark even with no moon. The trick is to not try to focus, just go with it. Now I find my nightvision generally works better than a flashlight.

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    1. I said to my younger son when I was telling him the story, "You know the word fap, right?" And he averted his eyes and said, "Yes. Why are you being weird?" :-)

      The problem was it was a part dirt, part stone path that was wet, and I was barefoot. And there were places where there were steep drop-offs and steps. Relying on night vision would have been foolish.

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