Thursday, April 2, 2015

Not Blood Mountain

So here's a funny story...

One day, this guy - we'll just call him Craig - gets a crazy hair and decides we just have to hike up Blood Mountain. To do that, we have to take the Byron Reese Trail, which then connects to the Appalachian Trail (!!!) and wander up the mountain. Sounds like a super awesome time, right?

So we made plans to go right after church one Sunday. My brother, Walker, wanted to join us and we ended up leaving a little later than anticipated. No worries, though. It was a beautiful day and we were ready to tackle Blood Mountain.

It was chilly, but the sun was shining. However, we were so excited to see a tiny bit of snow on the ground. How cute are we?!

Because we left later than we hoped, SOMEONE missed their nap. This meant that about 5 steps into our journey {I only wish I was exaggerating}, we were already encountering whining and grumpiness.

Seriously, at one point Canon literally sat down in the middle of a trail, laid across this rock, and proclaimed to all who would listen that he couldn't go any further because his legs were so tired that he could no longer walk.

That didn't work out so well for him, so on we traveled.

After only about a quarter of a mile, we came across a sign for the Byron Reese Trail that ensured we were headed in the right direction.

We decided to take a lunch and hot chocolate break to hopefully boost the spirits of a certain little boy. It definitely did the trick!

Refreshed and refueled, we pressed on in anticipation of the amazing views from the top of the mountain.

At this point I should state that we had been walking quite a while and we were starting to wonder where the Appalachian Trail crossed the Byron Reese, which we were hiking. We remembered that we had crossed a trail at the lunch site, but I had taken this picture so I scrolled back through my camera to ensure that we hadn't missed it. Nope, still good.

After walking for what seemed like hours, we figured out that we must have missed our connection somehow. We were afraid to lose daylight if we kept going - we were going to have to get back to our car and we didn't want to navigate the trails in the dark. So we headed back the way we came and we found the Appalachian Trail. It was at - wait for it - our lunch spot. That sign that states "Freeman Trail"? Yeah, that was the AT connector. Apparently, if you turned left you were on the Freeman Trail, but if you turned right you were on the AT. I mean, a more visible sign would have been nice, but apparently the white blazes on the trees were meant to be enough to let us know. WELL IT WASN'T!

However, we were so excited to be "on the AT!!!" that we all took turns taking pictures there. We are so totally cool.

Canon wanted to pose and decided that this was his best choice. I am not sure how he came upon that revelation, but I am going to have to disagree with him.

After making it back to our car, we decided to check out the "trading post" for hikers. Lo and behold, we found the greatest thing ever. Because who doesn't need a clear, three-walled box in which to talk on their cell phone?!

We took our time exploring the store, as it housed both supplies and treasures from many experienced hikers.

Perhaps the most amazing stories were told by the shoes. Outside the store, there are so many pairs of shoes hanging from the branches of the huge oak trees. As an AT hiker, you can hang your shoes there as a symbol of your adventurous spirit and the completion of your journey. Some of these shoes were so worn that they didn't even have a sole anymore. It was really an incredible sight.

So we may have completely lost our way, missed our turn, and missed our opportunity at the greatest view from Blood Mountain, but we had fun exploring nonetheless. Plus, we got to stand on the AT! Dude!

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