When Jeff sent out a call for anyone to join him on a expedition to shoot some pics of a waterfall, he had hoped would be frozen, I was in! I’ve seen some of his work, he takes amazing pictures in amazing places. Fortunately, I happened to be off work on Friday, and fortunately, I needed a good trail run. Luck was on my side. My only request was that he would point me to a good “hilly” trail. He wanted to get the pics at sunup which meant a 3am alarm...small price to pay. First stop was a ridge view. Up a twisty steep dirt road. Hopped out of the truck and looked around. I was like, ok….we’re gonna take pictures of a bunch of trees.  Then down the trail we headed. And there it was..and for the first time the picture really does do the view justice! Amazing!...and amazingly LONG freaking way down! I have more than a healthy fear of heights, but I managed to get on my belly and worm my way to the edge to peek over.



Next up...the biggest herd of elk i’ve ever seen. And two locking horns...

More twists and turns and we were to the trail leading to Glory Hole. Once again, the pictures do true justice. Jeff was a little bummed she wasn’t frozen for the shots he wanted, but she did not disappoint. She sang her song of praise with flow and beauty that would put any human muscial artist to shame and allowed the light to dance on her walls showing off her glory.


Now it was time for me to hit the trails. Jeff dropped me off at BRT trail….I believe that means Boxley Ridge Trail (yes, I’m a moron). A well marked...ahem...WELL MARKED... 11 mile trail up and down the boxley ridges. After deciding how long it would likely take me to get to the other side, and when he’d start looking for me if I didn’t show, we parted ways and I was off. It was a cold day for us! 20 and very windy. A flowing low water bridge crossing right off the bat woke my feet up!  They were happy at the wake up call. Like a dog whose master grabs the car keys..they knew what that cold shock meant and were excited. The climbing started pretty quick. It was around 9:30 am and the sun was peeking through the trees. I geared down and climbed. Maintaining a moderate effort up. A few switchbacks, tons and tons of leaves and single track mildly to mod technical trail before me. Got to the top and ate some Pocket Fuel and downed some water and looked around. Vistas with old barns and ponds and river views.


Continued on down the trail and up and down a bit. Here is a pic of the sun just beaming through the trees setting the leaves on fire! 

 

Lots of trees down across the trail from recent ice storms and high winds. This combined with the leaf cover had 

me darting off the trail and having to backtrack a few times. About 9 miles in 

on the side of a ridge with reaaaallly heavy leaf cover I suddenly realized I was no longer on the trail. I backtracked a bit….no trail. Hmm.

 I knew in the last 2-3 miles I would top out the last ridge, and likely the last mile or so would be down.  I judged where I was on the ridge and figured I had probably just dropped down off the trail. I looked at my watch to make sure I knew where I was at that point, what time it was, etc. and up I went. I zig zagged 10 minutes up. No trail.  No white blazes. I zig zagged back to my start point. Well, maybe the trail was down from me. Mistake #1, I really should’ve known better than this, as the ridge down was reaally steep and it really made no sense for the trail to go there, but down I went. Mistake #2... going down for 10 minutes.. Now I knew I was nowhere near the trail. I looked up and really didn’t want to climb back up.

Below me now I could see a field and the highway. I knew It looked deceptively close and was likely more like 3-4 miles to the hwy. I was starting to get nervous about time. I started thinking I could make it to the road quicker than I could make it back up and (hopefully) find the trail right away and get to jeff...and that was Mistake #3, so down further I went...a greater than 45% grade. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for me to realize just how stupid this was...actually the river, which was now before me helped me realize this. I saw that river and went, “Oh Lori! You dumbass! You knew that river was there!”...and “What made you think that nice, pretty lush field would be butted right up to the mountain without a river?” ). After cursing myself for about 5 minutes and knowing that swimming the river was NOT any kind of option that day, I reluctantly rolled over and climbed hands, knees, feet up the ridge. As I climbed I thought how it would sound when Jeff called todd  to let him know he lost me in the mountains. I imagined how stupid I would feel when the forest rangers found me...and so on.  After a bit more I decided to send up a little prayer...like a child who knows they done wrong..it went something like, “Ok, Lord...I know I haven’t talked to you much these past few days...and, Oh by the way, thank you for all this beauty around me and the opportunities you give me (yes Lord, I’m sucking up)...and...awe heck, I’m lost, can you help me find the trail?” And boom, I hadn’t even finished my prayer and I was standing right on the trail. Feeling pretty embarrassed, I scampered on. Very quickly a giant buck ran right in front of me. Big white tail flashing, he was solo. Can’t put into words how I felt at that moment.

Within a mile I saw Jeff hiking up the trail to meet me. I was hollering the whole way down at him, “That was #$%ing awesome!!!”, “I got totally @#$!ing lost!!”.


These two trees really wanted to be in the picture, so they leaned over for the shot.

All but the last 3 photos were taken by Jeffrey Genova, President at NWA Racing. Thanks Jeff.

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