Sunday, June 10, 2007

easy, my derriere

the kind folks at nascar are currently trying to figure out whether or not they'll be considered wusses if they cancel the race for rain, and though i'm hanging on the commentators' every word, i think i can still manage to tell you about yesterday's woodland adventure.

after our last hike, the 9 year old (not mine, for any first-time readers who have somehow had the (mis?)fortune to stumble upon my blog) picked out another waterfall he wanted to see as we were driving home. as a result, SO and i decided we'd try out one of the trails (there are two possible routes) to see if this hike would be appropriate for a nine year old and a five year old- not to mention my thirty-something year old SO.

it's iffy....very iffy.

we left columbia about an hour later than intended (my bad), drove northwest through greenville, and pulled into the parking lot of a&w/long john silver's somewhere near easley around 12:30 or so. after impressing the counter employee with my appetite (he was astounded that someone of my size could pack away a grilled chicken sandwich value meal, cheeseburger, and broccoli and cheese bites) and hit the big bend trail* around 2:30, after making several comical u-turns as we tried to work out the location of the trailhead.

according to my south carolina hiking guide the big bend trail, leading from SC 107 westward to the waterfall, is rated "easy", which i figured would be about as strenuous as walking across a grocery store parking lot, though perhaps slightly more scenic.

this would not be a wholly inaccurate assessment, had there not been at least four large fallen trees across the trail, not to mention a landslide that i'm not sure the five year old would be able to get past.

the trail was not always well marked, though not the worst i've been on by far, and neither the hiking book nor the waterfall book we'd brought along bothered to mention one of the intersections we encountered along the hike.....which naturally led to us taking the "extremely scenic" route a couple of times.

however, one of these dead ends worked out to our advantage, as during our turn, i noticed that despite dousing ourselves with bug repellant, SO had picked up a few stowaways along the way. fortunately, i'd insisted upon bringing my keychain from the car, and SO now knows just how invaluable my swiss army knife can be.**

ticks on SO: 3
ticks on duff: 0 (guess he used more bugspray on me than i did him- oops)

anyway, it was decided it might be wise to take the trail that led toward the water instead of away from it, in seeing as how we were attempting to find a waterfall and whatnot, and we wound up at water's edge about five minutes later. unfortunately, as some folks camping out on the georgia side of the river informed us, we were too far upstream to see the waterfall.

well, crap.

so, we backtracked a little bit and met a couple of guys who, after we got our bearings, pointed us in the right direction, assuring us that we were only fifteen minutes away from the waterfall, if that.

make that forty five minutes, as we overshot the trail that led to the water's edge at the actual waterfall, opting instead to first wander about a 1/4 mile (at least) too far down the trail, then made a really steep descent to water's edge within view of the waterfall (though not close enough to get a really decent picture with my camera, which i later discovered- and by "later" i mean "when i took the camera out of my backpack about fifteen minutes ago to dump the pictures onto my laptop"- had several fingerprints all over the lens).

the good thing about the blurriness is that you can't see how spotty my skin currently looks.

after snapping a few blurry photos, we climbed back onto the trail, and tried a slightly more official looking trail to the water's edge.

i slipped a little at the end of this trail, which as it turned out, led to the top of the 15 foot waterfall. unfortunately, compared to SO i am as sure-footed as a sherpa, and his arrival at trail's end was signaled by my favorite obscenity (which, by the way, he never uses, perhaps to balance out my overuse of the word) being yelled as he slipped on the mud and took the last five feet on his butt, somehow spraining/straining/pulling both triceps along the way.

since there didn't seem to be a path that led directly from the trail to the bottom of the waterfall, i briefly contemplated climbing down the rocks next to the waterfall itself (i would've been about two feet from the falling water), but sometimes discretion is the better part of valor, and taking into account the slipperiness of the rocks, the well-loved state of my trail running shoes, and the fifteen foot drop, i decided to stick with taking photos from the top of the falls.

after SO stopped swearing (a signal that he was feeling better, i think), we started back up the trail. unfortunately, i'm a little faster than he is, even in an uninjured state, and got too far ahead of him. ten minutes later, after yelling his name approximately 5,286 times, he appeared. it seems that my dear SO headed in the opposite direction of the trail, which only confirms my long-held suspicion that he does not, in fact, possess any sense of direction whatsoever.

remember how i told you those guys said the waterfall was only 15 minutes away? figuring in a fifteen minute break at the waterfall for play and pictures, this little side trip should've taken about 45 minutes, tops.

so, two hours after we'd left those guys and headed down toward the waterfall, we finally returned to that intersection.

two hours.

had we brought the kids along, i think we'd still be hanging out at the water's edge. needless to say, if we decide to bring them along on this hike next time, we'll start at the other trailhead and the kids will be instructed to follow yours truly and not SO should we lose each other on the trail.

*i know, i know- this isn't a link to the trail we took, but it was the closest google could come up with for me.

**don't get too excited- i was using the tweezers, not anything with a least not this time.


Callie said...

Your outings sound suspiciously like my and hubby's attempts. Fun, but more adventurous than usually anticipated . . .

duff said...

i had a tick staring down at me from my rear view mirror flappy thing yesterday morning. that was a little too much adventure for me, i'm afraid. i guess next time i need to use tick repellant on my car, too.