Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hiker's high

Over Memorial Day weekend Steve and I dropped Finn off with Pap and went on a mini-date to McConnell's Mill. Somehow in the nearly four years we've been together I'd failed to take him to our biggest local tourist spot. Clearly this had to be fixed. We had an excellent time, hiked more than we planned, and vowed to do it again. I haven't been hiking in years, and I got such a buzz from just our short little hike that day. It felt so amazing.
So this past Sunday we went back again, with our friend Jeb in tow, to hike the entire 7 mile Slippery Rock Gorge trail. The previous time we'd hiked a bit of the Hell's Hollow portion at one end and the Kildoo Pass loop that hooks onto the other end, so we had no idea what was in store for us in between. This is what was what we found:

We interrupted a lanky blue heron's breakfast.
We pondered whether or not this was the spot a hiker died last month.
The boys decided to investigate. (and finding bits of crime scene tape on the way up did not deter their climbing)
Finally at the top and deciding that, yes, indeed someone died here.
After 3 miles we stopped for lunch and to clean ourselves of the layer of mud encrusting us from the knees down.
And I looked sweaty and happy.

I wish I had pictures from the last half of the hike. I really do. But that trail kicked my ass so much that my hands would not have functioned properly. Which is a pity, because we had great fun pretending we were on  a Goonies-style adventure (with all the mud, ravines and waterfalls it wasn't hard). And we took a most excellent side trip into Hell's Basin for some wading and splashing. It all ended at Hell's Hollow Falls where I could have happily spent the rest of the day, splashing in the cold knee-deep water (which worked wonders towards numbing my feet.) 
Definitely a trip to be repeated.

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