My Sun, My Sun, Where Have Ye Gone?

                   by Robert Crosby

    On Sunday, December 21, 2003, the day before the Winter Solstice, Andrea Stewart and I traversed the section of the Foothills trail starting at the Laurel Valley trailhead near Rocky Bottom, SC and finishing at the parking area at Whitewater Falls in NC. We began around 6:45am with headlamps to help for the first 30-45 minutes, and finished around 6:15pm using our headlamps for the last 45 minutes or so. The temperature was around 25 when we began, peeking around 42 during the day and dropping back as we concluded. There were no others to support us, and many of our friends and relatives would have actively discouraged us from such foolishness. We had a friggin' blast and will probably do it again in January to see if we can't get some tougher conditions.

    The trail conditions were somewhat challenging as evidenced by the total time of 11:30. This was probably mostly due (next to poking around) to an abundance of God's good leaves covering major parts of the trail, including a number of our friends, the wooden steps. It was not a good day for counting them; maybe next time. After the run I noticed I picked up a heel blister which I rarely get, probably because of having to go down stairs more on my heels than usual. There was a little bit of snow on the ground at points and a few interesting patches of ice, the most intriguing being the ones on the rocky climb at the end in the dark.

   Next to the company, a couple of highlights of the day included having a water bottle and gel flask that I waved goodbye to after setting them on a patch of ice on a rock at the first stream we stopped at end up retievably (ok, it's a word now)just a few feet away by the edge of the raging white water, and, stopping on a high bridge over water crashing upon the rocks flowing into the lake that a couple of men were fly-fishing in not far away. Andrea shared some excellent ham sandwiches, potato chips, and string cheese (yeah, I got a little gassy) which we enjoyed while watching the brave fishermen. We only saw 2 other people all day about 15 minutes later, a couple of young fellows spread out and eating in the middle of the trail at the sign by the lake.

   It was a long, tiring, exciting, and satisfying day. I can't wait to do it again.

"I get a thrill from punishment, I've always been that way" from The Blue Mask-Lou Reed

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