Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Solo Trip Day 3

I had bad dreams about the ladders. 

So, after the sun woke me today, I just went back to sleep and stayed there until 10!

I finally got dressed and went looking for the guys that run the hostel to see where I should go today.  I was directed to Blue Hole, which is actually in Google Maps, and about half an hour away.



I did not have my bathing suit in my daypack, so I made do with my bra! 

I walked downstream from the Blue Hole falls, looking for exactly this spot-someplace away from the few people who had opted to swim today and shallow enough that I would not drown myself.  I'm a great swimmer, but I do not get over my head alone.

I explored the creek a little more before deciding my first spot was perfect.


When I was teeny, I had a babysitter, an older lady in my parents knew from church.  I don't remember much about her other than her house was HUGE after growing up in a parsonage and only ever going to visit grandparents who both had 5 room houses.
Anyway, that's not my point.  My point is that she also had a POOL!  And I had long hair and I loved to make it float in the water and I would yell, "Marfa, Marfa!  My hair is swimmin!"  She's been dead for years, but, alone in the woods today, I yelled to her anyway.  Maybe she saw.



I hiked out with no shirt on.  I thought about covering up, but I decided that wasn't my story today-hiding my tummy because it's round.  It's also painfully pale, has stretch marks, a freaky deep bellybutton (seriously, is that a sign of some kind of disease?), and doesn't always stay still when I move fast.
It wasn't a move to be all 'in your face, this is me, deal with it' it was a tip of the hand to myself.  I've been making healthy choices, I've been trying new things, I have been more physical and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.  I'm not slim, I doubt I ever will be.  But I am capable.  I am strong, I can do what I set out to do, even if I'm slower than everyone else or need to find my own route to the end.  This is me, I am 44!

I drove around some of Watauga Lake, it's just beautiful!!



that's a kayak launch!





Back at the hostel, I chatted with a few people and then opted to go get an early dinner.  I have been doing Intermittent Fasting for about 6 weeks.  I do NOT eat after 4 p.m.  It's working.
But yesterday I had a grilled cheese that was so perfect, so good, that I thought about it all day today.  So I went to get another nearby.  It was merely okay but was also only $1.99.

I rented a movie from the Redbox and am in for the evening.  Tomorrow, I head home!  I had come up planning to camp all weekend with the women's group, but it's a 90% chance of storms 12 hours tomorrow and a 60% chance for the 48 hours after that.  I'm not a fan of wet camping.  I may change my mind in the morning.  I dunno. 

Solo Trip, Day Two, Grandfather Mountain




I arrived early enough to be the only person at the bridge!






There's my van!




I was one mile, five feet, six inches tall!



The trail goes straight up out of the parking lot.  There's a hiking parking lot, but an employee said it was okay to just leave the van in the upper lot because they were not expecting a full house.


I took the Grandfather Trail out and the Underwood Trail back.







The trail had a HUGE variety of...variety.



It also had ladders, which I learned I do not like.




Look!  You can climb this rock face, then a ladder, followed by ANOTHER LADDER.



At the top of the second ladder is a THIRD ladder.




Look, that FAR hill is where my van is sitting.  I think the view from my van is probably identical to the view I was currently getting minus the stomach acid.


Oh.  If you think I did not cuss, you are DEAD WRONG.  


Let's look back down.

Then let's look up.

See the way the top fades into white?  Because it reached the outer limits of the actual world.  There is no need for color that high up because no one goes there.
I should mention that because I was there so early, there was no one else on the trail.  Also, I thought there was ONE LADDER.


Do you see how part of the ladder isn't over rock?  It's over nothing at all, there's just over a mile of drop.  THAT'S ALL.


Okay, so there was still color up that high.  But only blue and green.


UGH.  If there had not been another way off the mountain, I would have called for an air rescue.  Or an air drop with some food and a charger because I would have been living up there.



The far side of the gap.  Let's zoom in and see what that line is, shall we?


OMG!



It WAS pretty.




Nope.





The other trail had CABLES
I did not like these either, but at least my hand fit around it!



This doesn't even count as a ladder, it's like a toy replica.
Look how the end extends over the top of the cliff face so you don't have to crawl over the edge.  This is a ladder for toddlers.






Only one ladder left.  I CAN DO IT.


Look, trees to break my fall!












The view down from the swinging bridge.
There was a group of women clustered at the end, too scared to cross it.  I wanted to shove them out there and yell, "YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT FEAR IS, WALK!"
Instead, I sass-assed across like I was on a catwalk.  Shoulders back, butt swaying, feet following a straight line.  I had DONE something, yo.



There's the mountain!




I hit the museum on the way down.




Someone needs to brush this bear.


Nia?



One last peek at the peak.  I DID THAT, yes I was scared but I did not turn back.  I went all the way to the top!  By myself, under my own ability, taking the time I needed to do it.

Go me!!