Then today when I woke up and saw the cloud cover, I was a bit disappointed…but then I realized I wouldn’t melt, I used to run in the rain, snow and colder weather last year and quite enjoyed myself. It was time to (wo)man up!
I called my occasional fellow hiker, Lee- and we decided to forego our shorts, put on pants, long socks and tied our bandannas on our necks for any rainfall that may pop up on us after our boots hit the dirt.
Since most of the time I hike in a wildlife management area, I’ve learned to keep an eye on the sportsmans schedule. Right now it’s bow hunting season now and creeping up on us in a few weeks its going to be official deer hunting season, it’s super important to wear bright colors and hunters orange if you have it and NO WHITE bandannas or shirts if possible, that flash of white is way too similar to the backside of Bambi and you don’t want a near sighted Jethro squeezing off a round in your direction.
So for Lee and I- we sported our best unnatural green and fluorescent orange and set off for a new hiking trail called “Skullcracker” and were dismayed when we trekked the half mile to the trail head only to find that it was closed for some Police Training; which we think probably had to do with some tracking dogs because being the adventurous types we did venture in a bit to see what was going on and heard the baying of some seriously persistent beagles and bloodhounds on the scent of something along the ridge. We were just hoping it wasn’t us and we decided to head back to the car and start over again Even though we had just plugged in our first 3/4 mile to nowhere.
It began to sprinkle, but we were not going to stop.
So up to Rogers Gap and the Veterans Memorial Wildlife Management Area…A ten minute drive to the back of the road and then we would set out on what would turn into the longest hike I’ve done all year. Six long miles, two miles of which were rocky road that winded up and down some pretty twisty hills. A six mile hike really wasn’t what we were looking for, but in the end, I think we were both cool with the mileage, the views, the vistas, the photo ops and our triumphant return to the car at the end.
Dry camel packs.
In hindsight, I suppose having just 140 calories for breakfast is definitely something I wish I could have improved on. But I was so excited about a hike in a new place I could barely eat and I was already focused on my morning ritual of glucosamine, b12, a Synthroid tablet, a baby aspirin and two nostril sprays of Flonase and because it was Wednesday- a hormone patch change. Plus I was excited to spend time with my friend Lee. She gets me. No stress, no chaos, no high weirdness.
Capable and when in crisis- a real badass.
After findind a Coyotes cache of bones, antlers and a giant turtle shell, we took off up the road as the rain started to fall. Determined to keep going we pretended it wasn’t really raining until our glasses became streaked with raindrops and we were forced to seek a few minutes refuge up under a cedar tree. We stepped up on the higher ground and just as we stopped moving two does crossed the dirt road and stood silent in the center with their ears poised and then in one single motion disappeared into the thicket without even breaking a blade of grass.
I love deer.
Even though they are common here.
They are spectacular.
Sharing a space with them is an honor.
I realize they need thinning on occasion, but I do love their majestic beauty.
We came up on a really cool barn and went inside…shotgun shells, an empty bottle of moonshine and a huge Groundhog den. That Groundhog sure knows how to party.
Photo ops were everywhere!
I think I took more photos on this rainy afternoon than any of my hikes.
Maybe it was the way the colors seemed to change from the cloud coverage, but everything seemed a bit more beautiful than usual.
We took routes we had never taken.
We explored roads we had no idea where they ended.
It was a glorious, wonderful road to anywhere.
And by the time we were done we had clocked in over 6 miles.
We stopped for a while at the barn and still managed around a 15 minute mile.
Which if you know anything about hiking in terrain, ain’t too bad considering we had some stops along the way…
So we arrived back at the car, our feet tired, our bellies screaming for food and our camel packs completely empty.
It was a great day to be there.
I’m glad the first hike didn’t work out, because it was my longest hike and I learned a lot more about the area I love.
A fun trip to spend under a cloudy sky getting my hair wet and my boots dirty.
And my lunch tasted better than usual!
My boots are damp, but they will be dry by next week.
When I plan on doing it all again.
But in a new place, getting lost in the beauty of Kentucky.
Rain or shine.