Monday, April 26, 2010

Brawley Mountain

The rain was gone this morning and I got up late. I couldn't convince anyone to ride with me in the mountains. A buddy of mine wanted to ride Blankets, but I really wanted to get a long day in, and there's only so many laps I can do at Blankets.

The more I thought about it, the less I wanted to ride. I've been doing a lot of riding lately. Back to Brawley Mountain.

The drive up felt odd. It was late in the day. Usually when it's that late, I'm anxious to get there. But today I intended to get there late and stay out after dark and work on night-nav. I kept having to override the urge to hurry.

I parked at a camp site on Hwy 60 between FS45 and 35 and spent the whole day exploring old roads. I didn't find very much at first. Some trails didn't go where I thought they would, or they were really overgrown. But I enjoyed the weather was and I think I've killed my overstride. I ran everywhere I could, all day, with no pain. Yay.

There were a few highlights...

Yesterday's rain made every little feeder creek look cool.


I found this weird fruit just lying in the trail.

 Weird Fruit

And a big black racer hanging out in a little tree.

 Black Racer

And another cable, this one right below and old logging landing. Probably left behind by the loggers.


And lots of poison oak and ivy. Good thing I'm not allergic. But there were also these odd little things. Not exactly leaves-of-three. One leaf, split in three.

 Three Leaves

A deer skull. I think. I brought one home to my wife a few weeks ago. I left this one alone.


The falls on Buckeye Creek was looking good.

 Buckeye Creek Falls

And there was this nice little field of flowers on the trail.


I saw horse sign on the Buckeye Creek Trail. They'd apparently come down past me while I was off on a side trail. I ran hard, hoping to catch them, but no luck.

The trail up along the middle prong of Buckeye Creek was pretty nice. Light ATV use, it looked like.

 Buckeye Creek Middle Branch

And, of course, I found a mylar baloon.

 Mylar Balloon

I followed an ATV trail up to Daws Knob Ridge and had a little dinner. It was 8:30 and the sun was trying to set. I made a little stove from a couple of rocks, boiled a cup of water with an esbit tablet and ate a Noodle Cup with a pair of chopsticks I made from a little tree nearby.

It's one thing to get caught out in the dark. If you're not used to it, like me, it's quite another to just sit and wait for the sun to go down, in the middle of the woods, with no fire and no shelter. Owls were hooting and the moon was coming up. The urge to get up and start moving as quickly as possible toward the car was actually pretty hard to fight.

But, I fought it and when it was dark enough, I started moving. The last time I tried this, it was frustrating and a little unnerving. This time, I had a plan that should be pretty easy to follow. I followed the ridge, partly on a trail, until that ended, climbed up over one of the knobs of Tipton Mountain, descended to a little gap and then down into the drainage. The woods was clear on the ridge, but very dense in the drainage, especially near the creek. And, my theory that you can't go a quarter mile in Georgia without running into an old logging road was proven 3 separate times on the way down. Eventually, I made it to Old FS643 and took that out to Hwy 60. Everything went as planned. No frustration. No anxiety. It even didn't feel all that different from doing it in the day. I just moved a little slower and couldn't see as well. Just what I needed to build a little confidence. I'll have to try something more challenging next time though.

Back at the truck, of course, I found several wood ticks crawling on me. Just crawling, not biting. I'd almost forgotten about ticks. Yay, ticks.

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