Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Valderi, valdera!

In fourth grade music class, the teacher would always take a request at the end of the period for any song we wanted to sing from the textbook. My best friend and I practically monopolized the entire school-year's worth of requests by repeatedly, and with much groaning and eye-rolling from our classmates, demanding yet another rendition of The Happy Wanderer, every time. We freakin' loved that song because of its hilarious and oh-so-fun-to-sing chorus. I don't recall if anyone else in the room enjoyed our repetitive shenanigans, but we sure as heck did. Fourth grade is definitely when I developed my sense of humor. What I have of one, at least.

And so, almost twenty years later (holy shit!), I whistled that tune this very morning as I pounded down the Shining Creek trail, my knapsack on my back. Having satisfied the "temporary" part of my latest temp job, I believe I made the right decision in setting aside the whole "work" thing (so overrated) for a day or two and loading up my backpack (I'd never call it a knapsack) for a jaunt in the woods.

Of course I took pictures. Lots of 'em. Here are a few.

I-40 en route.
I don't know what this is, except it comes from a tree.
Water. It falls. Downhill. (gravity).

I gained around 3,000 feet going up and actually hiked from summer backwards to early spring. The trailhead was dense and green, further up the trees were just leafing out (seen here) and the trees near the top were still bare.

I knew someone would give me shit if I didn't get a picture of a dumbass flower. So here's a white trillium. Eww.


Your happy wanderer at the top of Shining Rock in the heart of the Shining Rock Wilderness. By the way, the "wilderness" designation also apparently means no signs or other trail markings, making it much easier to get lost and stay that way. Cool.


The view.


A few hours later atop Cold Mountain looking back toward Shining Rock. Yup, that Cold Mountain. I had set up camp near the high point just right of my right sleeve.


The ridge I followed between Shining Rock and Cold Mountain, from the latter.


Looks like a pointing finger, right?

The sun setting over the forbidding wall of clouds advancing from the west. I was sure it was going to rain during the night, but it never did.

I was glad I picked a spot in the trees because it was really windy all night. Campsites with views are nice, but not getting blown off the mountain is better.

Did I take too many pictures of myself?

Cozied up in the tent. It didn't get very cold, but it was still a sleeping bag night.

I carried a pad of paper all the way up there and figured I should write something in it before I turned out the light. You know, in case I died.

Morning.

Poser.

The trail through a tangle of rhododendron. It wasn't actually that dark.

There's just no way to end a lengthy photo-post other than with a pile of poop and his best friend, the snail. Seriously, anybody know what it came from? I'm thinking some sort of large cat. Like maybe a liger. A wild North Carolina Liger.

23 comments:

Julie said...

Wow. You had to end it with poop. Guess we know what your SSB is. Now we don't have to give you shit for taking flower pictures... something else already did.

The Dutchess of Kickball said...

If you are going to go with the whole German thing (the Happy Wanderer being a German song and all) then your knapsack would actually be a rucksac.

Stefanie said...

My sisters and I used to sing that song all the time, too, but only because we thought it was fun to substitute "Valereeee, Valeraaaah" in the chorus. (My little sister's name is Valerie.) Come to think of it, I don't think we even thought we were substituting. I think we thought those were really the words.

Great pictures. Makes me wish Minnesota would catch up and start the summer already so I can go camping, too.

Noelle said...

It does look like a pointing finger. And what is that writing on lined paper? Some early form of blogging?

Poo!

surviving myself said...

If I know one thing, it's Liger shit, and that my friend is it.

Nice job.

nancypearlwannabe said...

I don't know why, but I am very impressed that you go camping alone. It seems like a very Into The Wild type thing to do. You know, minus eating the poisonous seeds and dying, hopefully.

Allie said...

That is totally liger poop.

I'm usually not super into flowers, but I like trillium. Blood root too b/c you can totally paint your face with it if you're a kid and really really wish you were actually a Native American princess.

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Allie said...

Blogger is not my friend. All those deleted comments were me. They were all the same comment. Sorry.

beej said...

I'm glad you weren't eaten by a bear.

I'm pretty sure that scat came from NPW.

Matt Davis said...

Those pictures are very Brokeback Mountain. I'm whistling the theme tune now.

em said...

Nice. I think I will miss East TN/ West NC when I leave.

Poop is almost always funny. There are a few exceptions.

Mickey said...

julie- You are so sharp I can hardly stand it.

dutchess- Nope. I'm sticking with backpack. Thanks, though.

stefanie- I'm so glad someone else knows the song and enjoys it. Makes me feel less crazy.

noelle- Yeah, I barely remembered how to write with a pen. I actually considered writing an entire post there and just taking pictures of it, but I was tired.

surviving myself- Thanks for corroborating my theory. Liger it is.

npw- It's actually weird for me to go camping with another person. I go it alone.

allie- Awww, I was so excited about my 16 comments. Skunked!

beej- Hmm, an intriguing hypothesis. Could NPW really be stalking the woods of NC?

matt davis- I can't think of the theme right now. I assure you there were no sheep up there, though. Or gay cowboys.

em- There are more than a few exceptions.

Alexa said...

omg that poop!!!! hey, everybody does it.

Julie said...

Mickey: You don't have to stand it, so long as you can squat it!

Mickey said...

alexa- Yup, even ligers.

julie- You're killing me!

Jacob said...

That could just be dog poop, but I actually think it was just another hiker. That color ain't good, though. Something was wrong in that digestive system.

Mickey said...

jacob- No, I know poop, and this definitely is not human or domesticated canine. I wouldn't rule out coyote. Or liger.

Donny said...

Which trail did you take in and how long did it take? I plan on taking the Shining Creek trail from 276 to the Art Loeb to Cold Mountain, but I'm not sure I'll have enough time.

By the way, nice blog and cool pics. I'll check out your other entries.