Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Southeastern Promises

I dumped the book of faces. It wan't me, it was them. I just got tired of reading crap, and it gave me pause to reflect that maybe I should revisit this type of long form storytelling.
We pretty much started shooting as soon as we got to the Mason-Dixon line, then we got down to splitting wood

This is always a highlight of going back to the old homeplace.  My dad builds the kind of fireplaces that Hunter S. Thomson would appreciate

New nephew looking all pie-eyed

I got to go ride bikes at Dark Mountain with two of my high school teachers that also coached in wrestling and baseball me over the years. This brought me great pleasure.

I also cached some beer on a separate hiking trip with my eyes to the future. Plotting~Planning

A glorious sunset over Whitetop Mountain after dropping the loot
 After a few days with my folks in NC, we packed it up and headed over to Johnson City. Brad Reed had some vacation time racked up, and so we took 3 days to do a bikepacking tour of the Virginia Creeper Trail, Mt Rogers National Recreation Area and Grayson Highlands State Park.
No. *checks* Heck no. 

Brad Reed even picked me up a Cajun Filet Biscuit on the way to the Creeper Trail.  This is Happiness
Creeper beta
We took the Creeper from Abingdon all the way up to Creek Junction, and then zigzaged up through Beartree to stay at a shelter on the Iron Mountain Trail.
The last time I would see the #adventurecrocs
 I lost my Crocs coming down Straight Mountain. This made me pretty sad. I don't expect you to understand.
We stayed the night at the Straight Branch Shelter, and boosted in the AM.
The 2nd big climb of the morning.

Not only is this choad littering on top of a mountain, he is failing personal finance. Pro-tip if you don't want your crappy grades to end up on the interwebs, don't let me catch you littering

Screamed down the IMT > 603 at Grindstone > and coasted into Fairview. Then started the climb up to scales 

I would eventually get sick of waterfalls.

Grayson Highlands is usually socked in like this. Brad Reed was quite the Bad Goat about things.

Yes I saw the ponies, but only after I left my Wingnut pack at scales and had to ride 7 miles in the pouring rain to retrieve it.

 Upon returning from my ill fated detour, I retrieved the goodies that I had previously cached.
No. I am not the least bit sorry or repentant. 
 Those kids that used to make bathroom graphitti? Turns out, they got into backpacking.
Also, those of you that know this area may recognize that we are at the AT Wise shelter. Before you get your Patagonia in a wad, we never had our bikes on the AT. We dumped them on the Wilson Creek Trail and carried our luggage to the shelter.

Go Everywhere. Study Everything. Fear  Nothing  the vegan gas cloud. 

This thing bucked me off in a glorious fashion.

After the rain stopped, it was awesome!

This valley is where all of my people came from 3 generations ago
 The last day, we rolled out of Grayson Highlands SP (clearly breaking the speed limit), and then screamed down Hwy 58 towards Whitetop. Once we got to WhiteTop store, we laid in some provisions, and then cruised over to Whitetop station, which is the high point for the VA Creeper Trail. From there it was 16 miles of downhill back to Damascus.
It spoke to me.

Best Rail-Trail evar?

"Don't shoot! We are Bad Goats"
The area between Damascus and Abingdon is defined by Karst topography, so you have no idea where a sink hole is going to open up into a cave. 
 Words cannot describe how awesome that tour was. Marrying her Al-ness 10 years ago was pretty much the pinnacle of my life, but getting to hang with the best brother-in-law ever really take it to 11 for me. Thanks Brad!
Johnson City Got a brand new Rail Trail that connects JC to Elizabethton. Its sweet, but has the steepest grade I have ever seen.

I am just going to let you use your imaginations

Laid in the last of the provisions before heading north again.

I miss the old country for what it represents in my mind, but I found myself thinking about the North Shore and Minnesota more than I wanted to tell people about. I guess I can never go home.

1 comment:

brady said...

You were missed. Welcome back