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A Murderous Hike

The photo was shot in Floyd, Va the morning after a 10 hour hike in the Blued Ridge Mountains.

Morning after murderous hike
Photo © 2010 Sabine Langnau

We wanted to do a hike through a gorge, 10.8 miles, started a bit late, 11.30 am, asked a park ranger whether the trail was open and that we wanted to do the hardest part 1st. According to his directions we started – and it started harder than we had thought, down a very steep slope with lots of debris of trees from the last heavy storms. We had to climb over or under many fallen trees.

After 4 hours we came to a milepost and found we had not even made 1/2 way – but we were at the ground of the gorge and the way was easier. Because the Ranger had said the other part would be easier we went on. All went well for some hours, the sun went lower and lower – and then came a steep ascending slope, some creeks we had to cross, beautiful country, then a terribly devastated slope, terribly steep and then the path ended! 😦

We searched that slope for the path, had to climb, fell – and the sun was setting, not a soul in sight. We knew that we were close to our car – but we couldn’t find the way in the thicket and the emerging darkness.
So we decided to turn back to a place where we had seen fire road. That was 3 hours behind us and when we reached it, it was solid dark. There was a box with a map there and we tried to read it with the light of my Love’s mobile, I photographed it with a flashlight and we looked at it in the camera and so we followed that road which seemed to lead to the Blue Ridge Parkway at some point.

We walked down that road – and then came a light and a colony of weekend homes – but we saw no people. Finally the fire road reached a bigger road and there I saw people at their house loading the car. It was 9:30 pm and we were in the dark so I was a bit afraid to alarm them and called: “Hello! Is this the way to the Blue Ridge Parkway?” Ahhhh – and we were in America!!! “Come on up”, said the woman and called her husband. “We are going to pass the Blue Ridge Parkway, if you want a ride you are welcome.” And those wonderful guys not only brought us the 5 miles to the Parkway, but at least 5 miles more on the Parkway to our car.

And that’s the end of the adventure. And if I look guilty – well: it WAS a bit stupid to undertake such a walk at that late our and to rely completely on the word of a ranger.

Hey, but weren’t those guys great? I was really moved. And I felt every single bone in my body …

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