Rogue and I had a plan.
Which is to say, we decided we wanted to go see someplace. So we each headed in that general direction. From our individual homes.
We needed to recon Devil’s Marbleyard for Fall Risk’s angry ankle.
Because I’ve been bamboozled into being her sole guide and chaperone for the last two. No, three. Trail test adventures. (Let’s not forget her anniversary trip back to McAfee last fall…Rogue managed to dip out on that one, too. She has far too many adult responsibilities for my liking.)
No way in fuck was I gonna blindly wander into the devil’s hood alone with Fall Risk. Without knowing how bad it was gonna be.
So, we both clicked on the little “get directions” button on the Hiking Upward page. And happily went to the places our individual GPS’s took us.
Two entirely different places.
Both of which were definitely not Devil’s Marbleyard.
I ended up at a gas station on 130.
Rogue ended up in the middle of a road. Somewhere. I’m still not clear where.
Then she ended up at Hellgate parking. Then maybe Glennwood Horse Trail parking?
I’m not entirely sure where all she went.
I eventually found the parking lot. We had a pretty rambling phone call as I threw out some random road names. And she threw out some random parking lot names. And I threw out Petites Gap Road. Or something.
You’re never in a good spot when I’m directing you someplace.
I just know that every time we passed a trail sign during the actual hike, she’d say, “I was just there this morning!” and “GPS took me to this one, too!”
So if you ever wanna go there, use this: devils marbleyard parking lot. That’ll get you there.
Also, the lot is, like, 10 feet wide. And Hiking Upward warns you not to allow any part of your car to hang out onto the actual road. Or they’ll tow you.
Now, I don’t know if that’s true. I suspect it may be occasionally true.
But also mostly they’re maybe just saying don’t be a dick about parking. Because people actually live on that road.
At any rate, the rest of this review is largely for Fall Risk.
But the rest of y’all can follow along, too.
We set out on Belfast Trail.
It’s sometimes, runnable. And sometimes rocky as fuck.
And sometimes a mixture of both.
About a mile in, we came up on the Marbleyard.
Ok. So that’s terrifying.
Also, that looks like that’s all there is, right? Like that’s the actual top up there?
We’ll come back to that later.
Initially, we thought we had to climb that to get to the top where the 360 panoramic view was.
But then we consulted directions. Yep. We sure did that. And realized that the Belfast Trail actually continues around to the right of the marbles.
So we decided to take that so we could see the panoramic view before we explored the marbles.
So this is where we both said no. Absolutely not. Absolutely no way we can bring Fall Risk here yet. Because there is a significant little stretch of just sheer rock face. Like, similar to McAfee. Where you come up the rock at the entrance to the knob.
And it was wet. And slick. And we had to climb up it on all fours. To avoid slipping and slamming face first into pure rock.
You know this is where the snakes live.
And obviously I was in front.
Because Rogue won’t make me not be in front.
And I’m the least observant person in history.
So I shouldn’t be in charge of snake spotting.
But when I saw a tiny baby snake tail sticking out from a hole, I was done.
I mean, I wasn’t done done.
Because we still needed to get to the top for the panoramic view.
But I was emotionally done.
Because where was that baby’s momma?
And why would she just let her baby’s tail hang out like that?
And what kind of trap were they setting…?
Anyway, we kept going. And about another mile and a half in. We got to the top.
And spent a solid 15 minutes looking at this
And reading this
Because, ok. Lemme explain.
There were four options at the top. Turn left towards the Hellgate parking. This is the long loop back down the other side of the Marbleyard. We got that.
There is a trail that continues straight in front of you. No fucking idea where that goes.
There is a trail to the right. The AT. Got it.
And there is the Belfast Trail we just came up on behind us.
Now, the sign said that the AT was to the right. And the panoramic view is supposed to be a mile and a half out on the AT. But the directions say continue straight on Gunter Ridge Trail. And the sign seems to indicate to me that Gunter Ridge Trail continues straight across.
We’re not crazy.
Eventually we agreed that we should take the AT to the right to get to the panoramic.
But also, the clouds had fully settled down on us during that time we spent processing directions and shit.
And we’ve already lived through the disappointment of going the extra for a phenomenal view. And seeing nothing but clouds.
Seven Sisters. We ventured out to Greybeard. And stood there. Saying, “damn, I bet that’s a gorgeous view we’re looking at…”
We also agreed that we didn’t need to take the Hellgate way around. For several reasons. First, Rogue had already been to that parking lot this morning. No reason to visit it again. Second, we wanted to go back to play on the marbles. And that route takes you farther away from them. And most importantly, we were hungry.
So we turned back down the Belfast Trail we’d just come up.
And found a cut in to the Marbleyard.
Ok. And so remember the first pic? That looks like the top?
Yeah, it’s not the top.
This view is looking down at that. Where we cut in. Halfway up.
This is looking up to the top
So as we watched folks crest that part we were looking down on, we could hear their devastation.
“You mean that isn’t the top????”
We also bumped into a couple we had seen at the start. That were climbing to the top. After apparently starting from the bottom.
And homegirl sounded pretty nervous about climbing. And dude kept trying to coach her through it.
And my dumbass said something about “why didn’t you just take the trail up to here?”
And dude kind of nervous laughed and mumbled something about “yeah, there’s a trail there.”
And dude’s girl just looked at him…
Rogue: “Nice work, Sunshine. You just ended a relationship.”
But really. Shouldn’t she know now the kind of man she’s with?
Anyway, I ventured out a little bit. For some better views.
While Rogue climbed all the way to the top
(That’s homegirl whose relationship I killed there on the right. Not sure where her former man is in this picture. Come to think of it, I don’t recall hearing him at all after that conversation…)
As Rogue climbed back down, audibly wondering why someone just threw these rocks out here any kind of way with no rhyme or reason to the pattern, and what is their actual story anyway, and oh, this one’s loose and bounces when I jump on it, and what happens if one actually does get loose, will they all just go sliding down to the bottom, where our cars are parked.
I tried to just keep my nerves under control.
And this is the point at which we both agreed. We can never ever come here with OT.
Our inner mommas can’t handle it.
When our stomachs finally overruled Rogue’s need for play, we headed back.
And remember the part we had to hands and knees crawl up?
We had to go back down…
And I just had images of your ankle the entire way, Fall Risk.
It would not be pleased with this.
But we’ve got all summer to get it ready.
Because we not going back to this bitch until fall.
When the snakes go back underground.
As Rogue and I reveled in the deliciousness that is Foot of the Mountain cafe, we saw a new mountain calling to us.
According to Fields, it’s called Purgatory.
Yes. That. That is where we belong. That may actually be where we already are. So it is definitely where we are gonna go.
If our GPS’s can just figure out how to get there…