Thursday, January 14, 2016

4/52 Rebecca Mtn, Pinhoti Section 3, 13 m

Melanie asked if anyone wanted to hike this section with her and since I had nothing much going on this week, I said, "Meeeeee!"

We planned for about half an hour, decided where to meet and what to bring in our packs and that was that.  I LOVE having someone who knows what they are about and does not need me to plan for the both of us.  I do enjoy planning, but it's still nice when all I really have to do is pick out my protein bar flavors and remember extra socks.  And hunter orange because it's still hunting season. 

I think the 'approximately' next to the mileage means 'this trail is a solid 15 miles long, not 11.4'

It was a harder hike than I expected.  We walked from 10:30 until 6:30 at an average moving speed of 2.2 mph.  With half an hour for lunch, when the tracker was turned off,  that's 15 miles!  Google maps has it at 19 miles.  We are calling it 13 because that's what Melanie's tracker said.  When I asked my park ranger friend how trails were measured he said:  It varies. Sometimes it's using a GPS device, others it is decided upon by drawing numbers out of a hat at the next staff meeting. And we ALWAYS round down.

Birmingham-how I hate the traffic

Ah, much better!

We shuttled ourselves to the Trammel trailhead and left Melanie's car and drove the van to the Bulls Gap trailhead and left from there.
I decided they were weeding out the weenies early on with these steps!

We hiked from one side of the map to the other!  

Rebecca Mountain is described as a ridge walk with rollers.  This means you start on top of the mountain and then climb up and over several hills while walking along the saddle or brow or along one side.  Lots of climbs and descents. Most are short-you can at least see where it levels out again.  That's all I need most of the time.

the views were amazing, both sides of the trail, all day.

Still have not perfected my hiking garb.  I like the skirt, it covers my hiney if I have to 'step off the trail'.  In the winter, there's VERY little cover!  But my tights were too loose in the thigh (astounding!) and over the day, rubbed my upper thigh in one spot and made it tender.
And what heals rubbing irritations?  Hydrocortisone.

On the AT, there is a particular rock outcropping that looks a BIT like this one but much more dramatic, that EVERYONE gets a photo of themselves on.  We decided to do a mini-shot of our own jutting rock!  

note the total lack of a handstand

large, crazy trees were all the rage along the route

These pinecones are huge.  I have a size 14 foot.  Okay, it's an 8.  But they are still big enough to draw blood if they nailed you!  With so many down, it's a wonder we didn't have any falling nearby.  It was a super quiet day,

Another climb, the trail is off to the left a bit and goes right up that hillside.  But-you can see the top!

I think this might be my favorite section, I really liked the rolling trail just below the browline.  The work!  Trail builders just don't get enough credit!

There were 2 of these large planted fields along the trail.  We figured deer hunting.

Nearly at what we had thought was halfway.

Ah, so many trees across the trail!  We climbed over, under or around 6 that I can recall.

Under this layer of crunchy leaves are rocks, roots and holes.  I would never ever want to be on this trail without my ankle-supporting boots!  I wished a couple of times I had my hiking staff, but I had decided to leave it in the van.  I don't need it like I did!  I have been working on my ankle and my balance

Some man has to lay in bed and decide that tomorrow he's going to put a tractor on a trailer and haul it up the bumpy dirt road to mow, plow, plant.

This was a brutal mid-point to the hike.  A steep half-mile climb up pavement.  :(

The power line had been severed at the junction box, so this is a defunct com tower.

Click to get it bigger.
Check it out-the trail goes straight up and out over Ben's head right along the saddle.  There are views for miles off each side of the mountain.  It was like this off and on all day.  So pretty!

The Pinhoti is the first trail I have ever seen that utilizes the double blaze with such abandon.  It means 'heads up, there's a turn' and the turn is the direction of the higher blaze.  The double blazes are called Garveys after Ed Garvey
On this trail, they indicated turns, not always the way they said the trail was turning (above) and often for turns that were just curves.  This was at the top of a crest, there was nothing but downhill on both sides and that narrow strip of trail.
This sounds really silly to complain about, but the point is that you stop taking the 'warning' seriously and don't look for a turn when warned and not long after this is a series of switchbacks that we would not have noticed right away except that we ran into 2 thru-hikers coming up.  Getting off trail when it all looks the same and the trail is hidden with leaves and blazes are not always within sight of each other can be really bad!

this is me screaming in delight terror as I step up and over another downed tree

I had to lay down to get the above shots and when I stood back up, my leg was leafy!


We looked for lions.  Saw none.

As the sun started to set, the leaves on the trail glowed, it was so pretty!

I could have spent an hour just taking pictures of these stumps along the trail!

The above is a switchback, see ANY blazes or other indication of turning?  

Every trail should totally cut through the hillside so I can avoid climbs!

We got excited because the sun was setting and we thought this road would be really easy to follow once it got dark.

The North Face is a little obnoxious with product placement.  I could cut it off, but I am actually pretty damn pleased they make ANYTHING in a women's XL. BOOOBS, clothing manufacturers-I have 2 of 'em and they are not little!  So many brand name outfitters stop at size 12 or 14.  If you are a 16 or more, you are SOL for quality, durable outdoor gear.  You have to make do with men's clothing which won't fit curves or off brands that don't hold up nearly as well.  There is a reason they can charge $60 for a shirt.  Though I got this at the thrift store for $4.
Magellan, the Academy brand, will OCCASIONALLY have pants that run up to size 20, Columbia has a small selection of basic pants to 18.  REI has hats that will fit the full sized lady, possibly socks and shoes.  Not a whole lot out there. And some larger sizes don't fit-the thighs are too narrow or the waist is HUGE or there's not enough allowance for hips and buns and your hiney is squished flat.  Yoga pants and leggins are nice, they a least fit the flow and overflow of the female body, but they are not durable for long distance or warm when wet or fast drying.  I should not have to compromise like that just because I am a double digit size,

I love the gloaming!

After an hour in the DARK-headlamps or fall off the cliff dark-we stumbled out onto the road and found the car.  I had pulled or tweaked some...tendon or whatnot in my right leg.  The one that lifts your leg right in front.  It was HURTING and had stopped holding my weight.  My feet felt like lead, but were not hurting (go, boots!) but I had left my gloves in the van and my hands were so cold.  I was really looking forward to getting to the van!

Melanie could NOT find her keys.  We decided she'd left them in the van, so we called her husband to come get us with the spare.  He arrived about 90 minutes later!  We sat around trying to freeze to death, I had a down coat, thank goodness! And Melanie found me some gloves (she carried 2 pairs.  Plus 2 apples and 10 pounds of rocks ALL DAY).

After about 5 minutes, Ben decided we should do a fire. I was in agreement, so he and Melanie went off to get small branches and had a little fire roaring in moments.  I hauled over my pack and Reflectix sheet I cut to fit my bottom and sat down to thaw.  With my heat sheet wrapped around me, I was soon very toasty!  Thankfully Ben was pretty happy to keep running off to find burnables and Melanie talked her hubby through the myriad of turns to reach the trailhead-way down a dirt FS road off another dirt road!  By the time we heard him honk honk off in the distance, the fire was nearly burnt out.  We used water from the now-unlocked car and doused it, then stirred the few bits of coals through the gravel and sand at the edge of the road until it was all cool to the touch.

Ah, warmth! 

I lived!  hehehehe

Melanie found her keys (yay!) and we saw from her car thermometer that it was 33 out!  eep!

In all it was a great hike, my first on the Pinhoti, though certainly not my last.  I am not convinced the mileage is correct and it was tougher than I thought it would be-as evidence by my leg acting up! I was SO tired last night just after the hike, but perked right back up with a little rest, some Aleve and a Snickers bar!
  Can't wait for next time!

About Me

Unschooling mama from the start with 2014, 2016 and 2018 graduation dates. I enjoy camping, reading, swimming, hiking and photography.