Weaving my way around Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Big Cedar Mountain to Jarrad Gap

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Up to another beautiful day. Cold and windy. Oddbird was up and making coffee in time to see the sunrise. I was still nestled in my warm bag. He brought me a snap of it on his phone, but even that couldn’t entice me out. I was beginning to feel the effects of all this hiking and wanted more sleep. He finally got me going by bringing my coffee into the tent! It sure is nice to have such a thoughtful hiking partner.

Today we planned to go 6 miles to Woods Hole Shelter. The first stretch was down hill all the way, then a gradual up and down for the afternoon. Just like at home, mornings are the most difficult. Today, just like the tin-man, I could have used an oil can. It takes awhile for my muscles and joints to accept the idea that I’m going to hike, about an hour into the morning though, things started behaving and the hiking was much easier.

The photo doesn’t capture the beauty of this tree. The entire trunk was warty, from the very bottom to its tippy top. I loved it for its difference, admired it for its strength, for persevering in the face of its disease. Our natural propensity is to survive, in the face of all obstacles.


The morning hike went quickly, all down hill!. We stopped at Lance Creek to cool our feet in the water and eat some lunch. Oddbird took his shoes and socks off and tried the stream for the first time. I love wading in the winter streams. The cold winter water takes your breath away at first, but then, like an ice pack, it takes the aches and little pains away, and your feet thank you for the spa treatment.


This photo is from day two, at Long Creek Falls. Oddbird just sent it to me. You can see how good hiking makes me feel!


After lunch, we consulted our maps. We were a day ahead of schedule. My body was behaving well, so far. We had planned to go 6 miles to Woods Hole Shelter, but the guide-book told us there was a side trail to a state campground where we could get a shower. Since the day was young, we toyed with the idea of a side trip to the hot shower. I was dreaming of a hot shower as I hiked. Like a carrot on a stick, this idea pulled me along the trail.

After lunch, we met Hawkeye at the crossroads. He was also thinking of the campground, but when we told him the shelter was only another 1.4 miles, he opted for the shelter. He was hoping to catch up with Josh and have some company in the shelter. We ate some snacks and opted for the side trail. Our thought was that we could get to the camp ground, take showers and then hike out to the shelter, and still get in before dark.

The side trail turned out to be one of the most beautiful of all the hikes. It wandered a mile downhill, beside a gurgling creek. It was well blazed, fairly well maintained and wound through the green rhododendrons. What move could you ask of a hike!

Arrived at the campground to find everything locked up tight. We were too early in the season. As we ate some more snacks – hiking requires lots of snacks – Josh showed up. He had read that there was a diner near the campground, and he was almost out of food. We consulted our book to discover the diner was only opened on the weekends, and probably only in season, too. Josh was sad and hungry as he contemplated his next move.

It was getting colder, daylight would soon be fading, and we faced the choice of stealth camping in the closed campground or hiking the mile uphill out of the creek valley and another 1.4 miles uphill to the shelter. Knowing that would be a real challenge for me, I used all my feminine wiles to convince the two that we should camp right there!

We quickly set up our tents, next to the stream. I got our pads blown up and bags rolled out while Oddbird started cooking. We shared some home-made trail food with the hungry Josh and had a wonderful time getting to know each other. We were snug in our beds and fast asleep before the sun set. If the rangers ever came around to check the closed campground, they didn’t bother us!

Another wonderful night of sleeping the clock around to the sweet, sweet sound of the gurgling creek.







Written by wovensongs

February 21, 2012 at 8:33 am

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