Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Rain and hiking

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

It’s been raining on and off throughout the week, which so far combined with my injuries has prevented me from commuting by bicycle. I thought about going for a bike ride last night, since my ride on Sunday went well, but instead opted to go for a hike with Sarah. I think I made the right choice — we had a great time, and hiking puts less strain on my finger.

We did the Rock Shelter Trail at Morgan-Monroe State Forest, which we’ve hiked a few times before. Sometimes I feel reluctant to go back and hike the same trails again, but I tend to forget that each time is different — especially since the last time we hiked there was during the winter. The time before that was a sunny spring day. Yesterday was somewhat overcast, warm, and extremely humid.

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Starting to hike

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The trail was a bit muddier than we expected; usually during the summer trails dry out pretty quickly around here. For the most part the trail was pretty solid, though. As we made the long descent into the valley, the humidity increased. By the time we reached the bottom, my glasses were foggy and they mostly stayed that way. It felt almost like hiking through a rainforest or jungle — or at least how I imagine that’d feel. The air was heavy and hazy with humidity, foliage still dripping, and the sky barely visible, most of the sunlight blocked by the thick canopy. It was a highly atmospheric experience.

Once we reached the bottom, we were at a creek. Rob was thirsty and took a couple of good drinks of water — and then, being the dork that he is, laid down in the water. It wasn’t very deep, but he sure seemed to enjoy it.

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Rob, cooling off

The trail followed the creek for a while, and the creek was mostly dry. I was a bit surprised that given the rain we’ve had and how wet the ground was, the creek didn’t have more water in it. In some places the trail had suffered some erosion.

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Looking off to one side of the creek

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Erosion, Rob, and … a UFO?

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Rob enjoying a small pool in the creek, again

Before long we reached the rock shelter for which the trail is named. It can provide some respite from the heat on hot, sunny days, but it really wasn’t any cooler yesterday than the surrounding area. I had to be extra careful climbing up since my right hand is not too useful right now.

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Rock Shelter

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Looking down from the rock shelter

We started climbing out of the valley. I tried to take some photos of the switchbacks on the way up, but it was too dark. My camera wasn’t working too well. After a while, we came to a pond.

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We kept going and reached the point where the Low Gap trail shoots off. The two trails are together for a while, but if you take the Low Gap trail instead of staying on this one, you end up going 10 miles instead of 3 or 4. Someday, we’ll do that, but 3-4 miles was perfect for a post-work hike.

We followed a logging road for some time. We didn’t see any logging going on here this time (last time, we did). We could see where some logging had taken place, but we were glad that at least the machinery was gone.

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Walking up the logging road

Soon we were back at the car. We really enjoyed this hike, and we are very lucky that we can do things like this after work. We took the scenic route there, and the “scenic scenic route” home — meaning, a very meandering, beautiful drive that took about three times as long as the most direct route. And we relished every moment. We saw deer, some pigs, and rabbits — not to mention a couple of pony-drawn carriages. Those were odd, but interesting. As we arrived back at home, it was starting to rain. Good timing.

We’re talking about possibly trying a short backpacking trip soon. Neither of us has ever done that, and it sounds like a lot of fun. We’ll see!

2 Responses to “Rain and hiking”

  1. furiousball Says:

    I love the shots of Rob cooling off. He looks so content.

  2. Marty Says:

    Looks like a fantastic hike -and Rob looks REALLY happy about it. Admit it – if that pool had been a little deeper, you would have thought about jumping in, too.

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