Home » #Running » Smith Mountain Lake Dam Hike

Smith Mountain Lake Dam Hike

Cried at work last week.

I say that a lot.

I know.

It’s just who I am now.

My boss walked into my office. As I was crying. And asked what he could do to help.

Tommy walked past my office. As I was crying. And closed the door. And kept walking.

So last week was…challenging.

Every part of all of me was on overwhelm.

I needed an entire day to hibernate. From all of everything.

So, I emailed Master Mountain Junkie. Right before passing out. When I got home Friday. And asked please can I move to the virtual option for the Frozen Toe 10k.

He said yes.

Then Beautiful Beastie texted. Because North Mountain Overlord created this new North Fucking Mountain Challenge. Because 2021 hasn’t started off sucking enough already.

So, I said maybe. Maybe I could manage to drag myself out of bed. At 5am. On Saturday morning. And drive an hour. And five minutes. To the world’s ugliest mountain. And run. Thirteen miles. While she went on to do 27.

I didn’t.

I woke up at 6:36am.

And cuddled on the couch. With my books. And hot coffee. And pile of work to catch up on.

I glanced out the window at one point. Lamenting for just a moment that I wasn’t watching that sunrise from a mountain.

But then I filled more coffee in my cup and cuddled back under my blanket. And the lamenting stopped.

I needed it. I needed hibernate day. Because total isolation is how I recover from challenge weeks.

But I also needed a mountain. Because mountains are how I motivate myself to continue into the next challenge week.

So my Sunday Mountain Recovery Crew decided to venture out to a new place. A place we’d never been before. A place we needed very detailed directions to find. A place that requires a very specific kind of vehicle to access.

I do not have that very specific kind of vehicle.

My vehicle sees a moderate climb and says, “Nah, bro. I’m good. I feel like you can climb this. Just call it training. I’m gonna just chill here while you go on. Remember to start your Strava.”

We met up in Penhook. And AD and I climbed into GJB’s car.

It’s a Subaru.

I know it’s a Subaru because he told us. It’s a Subaru. For all of the entirety of the drive.

While BB and Everyone’s Favorite Husband followed us in their Tacoma.

Which neither of them probably felt the need to point out. At any point. During the drive.

And we drove what I’ll go ahead and call a road. Of sorts.

“I’m glad we’re in my Subaru.”

Up to a parking lot.

But that’s not where you park.

No no.

Because we understand now. That if you park in the parking lot. You will eventually be just very very sad and angry.

So we drove on.

Up what I’m gonna call a fireroad.

“We can drive up this because we’re in my Subaru.”

And it was long. And narrow. And windy. And maybe a little scary.

“My Subaru can handle stuff like this.”

And around 2 1/2 miles up. We just pulled off the side of the fireroad.

“My Subaru can park here and not get stuck.”

And as we were wandering around looking for the trail. AD reached over and kind of patted/rubbed my belly. And I…

Ok. I had this whole train of thought in my brain. As this was happening.

Am I pregnant? How long can a female human body retain semen? Because it’s been a while… Queen honey bees can collect like 17-20 different semen samples and hold onto that shit for use as needed throughout their lifetime. I definitely don’t have 17-20 different samples of semen, though. And even if I did, I don’t think my body can just manifest them up to DIY a baby. Spontaneously. At will. No. It’s physically impossible. But my stomach is fatter than it used to be. Is she just patting my fat? For luck? Like, a Laughing Buddha? Does she think my chubby Laughing Buddha belly is lucky?

“You’ve got something on your sweatshirt.”

Oh. Yeah. No. That’s cool. Thanks.

And we found the trail that would take us to the overlook.

And .19 miles later. There it was…

That’s my house over there…

And. I mean. It was cool. Beautiful. We enjoyed the view.

And GJB enjoyed telling us this story about this barn he was pointing at…

But…I mean…we just spent 15 minutes listening to GJB fawn over his Subaru for a .19 mile hike?

“We can probably find the dam from here.”

Ok. Let’s do that.

And so we hiked. A few more miles up the fireroad.

“My Subaru could have taken us the whole way up here.”

To the cell towers.

To what seems like it might have been a trail. Or trail-esque.

But we still couldn’t see the dam.

So they let me wander off. On my own. To look for a way down to some unidentified rocks. Where we could see the dam.

The dam.

The dam, y’all.

The dam.

Which is on the water.




But I did it. I wandered. For the greater good.

And eventually saw some rocks that looked like they might offer a view.

But we had to find our way down this to get to them.

Without sliding right on down into the water.

To be sucked up into the dam mechanisms.

Which is how I ended up like this.

I’m smiling. But legit. I was just trying not to slide on down over the edge. To my death.

While BB wandered off to find a human path to the rocks.

She did. She found the rocks.

So, while she and EFH and GJB made their way over. And were chilling. On the rocks.

AD and I had to kind of side shuffle bear crawl our way over.

“We’re fine! Y’all go on ahead!”

But we made it. Without falling off the edge of the earth.

And it was kind of awesome.

And not nearly as terrifying as I’d expected.

And EFH named all of the mountains we were seeing. And needed to go climb.

And how that other side looked way easier to navigate.

So maybe we should try that way next time.

Then we had to climb out.

Like hands and knees climb out.

I don’t even have to hands and knees climb up Christmas Mountain.

But I led us up. And out. And back into the sunlight. And exceptionally strong cell service.

And here is where you’re gonna be happy that you drove the 2 1/2 miles up to the overlook spot.

Because even just walking 2 1/2 miles of ugly fire road back to the car was awful.

Five miles would have been torture.

So, obviously we’re gonna go back.

And run the full fire road.

Because Promiseland training.

And AD and I were fantasizing about food.

And BB had run a freakin marathon. On the world’s awfullest mountain. Yesterday.

And when we finally made it back to the cars. We allowed GJB to have a moment. With his Subaru.

And while I was gone. Facing my dam fears. My kids were setting up their new television for the house. For when I finally move my ass out.

So, now I’m here. With this.

And it’s beautiful.

And now I may just live here always. With this super ginormous smart tv.

As my teeny tiny stupid tv just sits there. Beside it. Being all small. And inadequate.

And it’s gonna be hella hard not to call in sick to work tomorrow…

But at least I’m hibernate and mountain recuperated.


Just reading and writing and running and looking for my happy place.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: