Trail Hazing

“Why every time we go somewhere with Beautiful Beastie does it feel like we’re being hazed?”

Rogue’s not wrong.

We went to Rock Castle Gorge with her last weekend. Where she and Tiny Brazilian quickly took off. At their beast pace.

While Rogue and I followed behind. At our normal human pace.

Where we traversed terrain like this.

At several points along this 10. Or 11 mile route. Depending on whose watch you were trusting. The mountain tried to kill us. Like, legit actually kill us.

Rogue and I heard. Rather than witnessed. The mountain just flip Tiny Brazilian upside down. And attempt to slide her right on down to the bottom.

Not long after that. The mountain used one of its root fingers. To grab my shoelace. Trusting that my forward momentum would send me right on over the edge. While it kept my foot securely in its grasp.

Joke’s on the mountain. My lightning quick reflexes kicked in. And I wrapped myself around a tree. While also managing to wedge my other foot securely in between two other roots.

Rogue witnessed all of this.

“Wow. You just almost died.”

Yes, Rogue. Yes I did just almost died.

And there was a point on that route. Where we had to make a choice. To go right or left.

Rogue and I.

Just the two of us.

Making that choice.

On our own…

After several minutes of talking it through. And pulling up Strava maps. And looking around ourselves like maybe our trail instincts would kick in. We said, “Meh. Either way will take us somewhere.”

So we went left.

Which was right.

So yesterday morning. When Nor’Lord put a record breaking group together to run the 220 to 311 route. We were all in.

Except I also started whining about the weather. Sometime around Monday.

Y’all. I can’t get stuck out in the middle of the mountains with no water or snacks in 100 degrees.

I’ll die.

So BB, TB, Rogue, and I decided to start at 5am. And do more of an out and back. So that I could maintain my emotional security. Knowing that more snacks and water were never more than a few miles away from me.

And when we started. BB said, let’s go check out the north side of the AT first.

Or maybe she said south side.

Whatever she said, it was on the other side of the highway.

And we started up the AT. On the other side of the highway.

And we started questioning things pretty quickly.

“Why isn’t anyone maintaining this section of the AT??”

“They couldn’t even be bothered to put up an actual sign for the AT.”

“How do thru hikers even find this??”

“Why are we crawling through waist high weeds?”

“How long before the snakes get us?”

WHY are we being hazed again???”

And Rogue was ready to email some head AT dude. And lecture him on the state of this trail.

Until…

“I wonder if this isn’t the actual trail…?”

So we turned around. And decided it would be nice to watch the sunrise over by Hay Rock anyway.

Except when we got back down to the highway, BB says, “hang on.” And starts running up and down the highway. In the dark.

“Fuck. How am I going to explain to Everyone’s Favorite Husband how his wife got hit by a car…while trail running??”

Until she found it. The AT sign.

And the actual AT.

And it was amazing. How well-maintained. And marked. The actual trail was.

And we got to watch the sunrise. Over I-81.

Because this trail just runs right along the highway.

And just around that corner. We had to make a choose. To go right or left.

Rogue and I.

Just the two of us.

Making that choice.

Because BB and TB were well ahead of us. And BB had taken me out here once before. And apparently trusts that I’ll remember shit? After one experience???

But we went right. Which was right. And caught up with them.

And we decided to head back.

And on up towards Hay Rock. Ahead of the group. Because Rogue and I like the option of traveling at normal human speed. And we let BB and TB just take off up and back down and back up the mountain again.

Near the top. Rogue and I ran into a bear.

And…

So, Rogue’s gonna tell you I shrieked. “Oh my god it’s a bear!”

But I wasn’t shrieking so much. As just stating a fact. So we could know that fact together.

But for real. The bear was right there. And took off pretty quickly. And her footsteps sounded quite angry.

And while I was preparing to just take off in a normal human sprint. On up the trail. Rogue stops and says, “Where is the other one.”

Right. Sure. There’s probably another one. I knew that…

Which is when the baby bear came plowing down out of the tree. Right beside us. And off after it’s momma.

And we watched them. Kind of circle around behind us…

So, I guess we’re gonna keep going then…

And we did. Keep going.

Stopped for a few pics. And a snack break.

Until the rest of the group finally started catching up to us.

BB forced a Gatorade into my hands. Because she’s met me.

And then they took off on across the mountains.

And after the last of the group came through. We decided to turn around. And head back to our cars.

Because my watch said we were about 9 miles in. And Rogue’s said 11.

Nor’Lord validated Rogue’s distance. Which I liked better than mine anyway.

And I don’t know why my watch has started just stealing mileage from me.

But at least it didn’t die. A quarter of a mile from our cars…

Anyway, we finished up with 18 miles.

Which felt like a decent morning.

And I spent the rest of my day on my new couch. Surrounded by books. And cats.

Which is exactly the way I like it.

And that couch over there? That’s my old couch. That I kept just for the cats. So they’d leave me. And my new couch alone.

They have respectfully declined that arrangement.

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