Day 255: Bushwhack

IMG_2918Oh, I’m starting to feel a little guilty again.

There are those boxes that still need to be unpacked–or better yet: if it’s been over a month and stuff is still in boxes, maybe I need to donate those boxes without even opening them!

And there’s still some organization I need to do to make our daily lives a little bit less frustrating. Just this morning I was clearing out freezer-burned bread dating back to the late Pleistocene Epoch.

But I didn’t want to deal with any of that tonight. Instead, I decided to head out into the stretch of woods just on the other side of the field by our house. It’s a very steep ravine, with a creek (or two or three) running down through it until it eventually joins up with a larger river.

There’s a few deer trails to follow, but mostly it’s a bushwhack through rhododendron forest. And did I mention how steep a grade it is? I definitely had plenty of opportunity to mind my steps!

Part of my motivation for exploring this ravine was to look for undiscovered cliff lines. Well, undiscovered by me, at least. And I found a couple of interesting spots along the way–two very large rock slabs, a “secret grotto,” and what looked to be a rather decent waterfall.

I’m not sure about the waterfall because I couldn’t quite find a safe path down. It started to rain, and then it started to pour, so I gave up and turned around.

I only panicked once, and briefly–there I was, soaking wet in the pouring rain, in the middle of the woods with fogged glasses and steep drop-offs, tangled in rhododendrons with just about 45 minutes of daylight left in the day.

But then I relaxed, waited a few moments for the rain to let up a bit, and then I continued back up the ravine.

Oh–And it helped to remember that as long as my battery lasted, I always had GPS to assist me on my way!

But finding rock was only part of my motivation for getting out in the woods tonight. The other reason I wanted to get into the woods on my own was to put a little distance between me and my workweek. Don’t get me wrong–I’m still loving my job–but that doesn’t mean I want to carry it with me through Saturday and Sunday. Nothing clears my head more than trying to keep from butt sledding down a rocky ravine in a rain storm.

I made it home before dark, changed out of my wet and muddy clothes and sat down to a nice pot of homemade chicken soup. Had I cleared my mind entirely of workaday concerns? No, not entirely.

But I did manage to clear away quite a bit of underbrush.

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