Spring Break Trail Rules

I said the words Spring Break to Beautiful Beastie a week ago. And her brain started doing what it does.

And it kicked it off with that Jennings Creek madness. On Saturday. And kept working from there.

So, she decided to take Tiny Brazilian and I to her favorite place. In the entire world.

Hanging Rock. North Carolina.

I’ve been there before. I knew what it was.

But my brain is just not built to make good choices.

So, Monday. I ran up. (And it is up. The entire way.) To Wolf Creek Greenway. Because Fall Risk wants to go there.

So, I ran up Gus Nick’s Blvd. Or Washington Ave. Or 24. Or whatever this road beside my apartment wants to call itself.

And after about 2 1/2 miles. Finally found the greenway.

Where packs of WWII and Vietnam Veterans cheered me along.

Seriously.

You want an ego boost? Go run the Wolf Creek Greenway.

You don’t even have to run very fast.

And I was feeling pretty badass. Because hoards of war veterans were telling me how badass I was.

And then I got to this.

“K. So, I’m just gonna head back now.”

But I got in a decent 6 miles. And I was saving myself for Hanging Rock the next day anyway.

I’m still badass…

Then I drove to work. On Spring Break. Because Cross Country practice.

Where one child showed up.

So, practice ran pretty quickly. Because she’s one of those fast runners. Weird.

And here’s where I need someone to step in and say, “No, honey. This is not for you.”

Because Rogue and Fall Risk had planned to walk Mill Mountain. At 5:45.

And I thought I might join them. Since I was done with practice early.

And I was able to get to Lew’s by 6:05.

“I’m gonna run up and catch y’all to walk up with you.”

And I’m not sure why I thought this was ok. Why I thought this could possibly be a good choice.

Passed SCT near the Star Trail.

You seen Rogue and Fall Risk anywhere?

“No.”

No. He hadn’t.

I was halfway up that damn mountain. Before I communicated with them. And discovered that they’d gone up the old road.

So…a half marathon. And running up Mill Mountain. (And don’t tell BB, but maybe I also did a pretty intense leg day on Sunday…)

These are not the conditions to prepare someone at my fitness level for running all over Hanging Rock.

It’s cool. Tiny Brazilian is coming back off of injury. She’s currently running at my speed. So, she’ll help me keep BB in check.

We show up at the 40 Acre Wood. Tuesday morning. And BB and I are dressed appropriately. With shorts. And tank tops. With a light layer on top.

And TB steps out of her car with a long pair of thick ass leggings. A buff around her neck. A long sleeve shirt. And I am not shitting you. A fucking fleece sweatshirt on top.

“I brought gloves. But I maybe won’t wear them.”

Please don’t wear those gloves.

And BB will not offer exact mileage for this spot. “Somewhere between 12 and 20.” That’s what she’ll tell you. Every single time you go.

The only thing you’ll know for certain heading in, is that there will absolutely be a 6 mile climb up.

And my legs were protesting from the very first step.

Like, they didn’t want to move. Let alone run.

But BB is so excited to be here.

And yelling, “Spring Break, bitches!” at everyone she sees.

And a mile in, BB and I are already stripping down. Because sweet mother of envy, it was hot as Hades out there.

But little Tiny Brazilian was happily running along in her full winter gear.

Two miles in and I’m slowing the hell down. While TB is still happily keeping up with BB.

Bitch, you’re not in recovery mode anymore.

“You regretting running Mill Mountain yet?”

Yes. Yes I am.

“Make better choices.”

But I’m…I’m not capable…

“Spring Break, bitches!”

Ok…

At one point, we ran into some older ladies looking for Cook’s Wall. And I asked them could I please hang out with them. And if they had snacks.

But BB and TB took off before they could answer me. And I had visions of being forever lost in the North Carolina mountains.

So I followed my people.

My fucking people.

Four miles in. And I’m struggling to even see them anymore.

But I can still hear them.

“Spring Break, bitches!”

And I’m starting to hate the words Spring Break.

Five miles in. And I’m not sure I even want to see them anymore. Because this.

That shit goes on forever.

And I’m telling no one in particular. Because no one was around me. If I don’t get a fucking snack soon, I’ma burn this bitch down.

Near the top. Pass a family with several small children. And one of the younger girls offers me the saddest, most resigned “hi” I’ve ever heard.

Same, girl.

Then finally. The top. Where I can tear into my snacks.

And then take in the view.

Yeah. That’s pretty.

And the little girls catch up to us.

And sad little resigned girl tells us we did a good job.

I need that level of encouragement in my life. Always.

And. Ok. So, we climbed all the way up here. We’re supposed to go back down now. To the car. Where the real snacks are.

But BB says we’re gonna run the ridgeline.

Because “Spring Break, bitches!”

Fuck. Fine.

Because ridgeline implies flat. Right?

Like, a ridgeline is supposed to go across. To another area.

But no.

No no.

Why are we still climbing, though?

“Shouldn’t have run Mill Mountain last night, should you?”

No. I know.

“We’re on Spring Break, bitches! Woo Hoo!”

Ok. But I’m on Spring Break. You’re not actually on Spring Break.

And finally we are over on top of another peak. Somewhere.

And BB and TB are pointing at someplace. That we’ve apparently been before. Or maybe just were. I don’t fucking know.

(Ok, so. This is actually not the second peak. This is still the first peak. But I don’t have pictures from the second peak. So this is the visual you get. It’s my story. And Spring Break. Dammit.)

I no longer have any idea where I am.

I’m just focused on snacks. And views. Because apparently the views are why we do this dumb shit.

And finally we’re headed back down.

Yessss. Back to the car. Where the food. And beer are.

And. Ok. So, this.

Look. If we had that sign in more places Rogue and I would almost never get lost.

Probably.

Almost. Never.

These signs should be everywhere.

And then we see a sign for a 1.1 mile trail. To Cook’s Wall.

“Ohhhh! Let’s do that.”

Shut it. You shut your mouth, TB. We are not adding 2.2 miles onto this run for some dumbass wall.

If I was gonna see Cook’s Wall, y’all should’ve let me go with those older ladies four miles ago.

We’re going back to the car. For food. And beer.

“Come on. We’ve got more mountains to climb.”

Wait. What?

I thought we were going back to the car. With the food. And beer…

*sigh*

And eventually we get here.

We all see the warning, right?

I mean, maybe we should stop and think…

I mean, is it really worth the risk…

That sign has the word “deaths” on it…

Like, not even just “death.” But “deaths.” Like, multiple…

But no one was listening to me at that point.

Told this dude as I passed him how much I hate my friends.

Then proceeded to tell every single other person I passed. How much I hate my friends.

“What have we learned today?”

Not to run Mill Mountain before Hanging Rock.

“Or before any planned adventures?”

Yes. That. Fuck Mill Mountain. I’m never visiting Mill Mountain ever again.

Made it to the top. Again. For more views.

And snacks.

Coming back down. I’m still telling people how much I hate my friends. Because going down hurts even more than going up.

And TB is still lamenting over Cook’s Wall.

I swear to fuck you make us go to Cook’s Wall and I will throw your overdressed ass off of this mountain.

…I was hungry…

And finally we’re coming back down through the park.

Where they’ve installed this bullshit concrete path.

Trail runners don’t run on concrete paths.

And we get back to the waterfalls.

And here is where our next rule was established.

Because BB starts climbing up the rocks.

And says, “Y’all coming?”

And TB says something about not wanting to do that.

But obviously my easily peer pressured ass is gonna do whatever BB suggests.

And I’m glad I did.

Because this.

But when we get back down.

And TB is nowhere to be found.

“Maybe she headed on down ahead of us?”

So we start running. Down the mountain.

And about half a mile back down. We get to a wide open area. Where you can see the trail for quite a ways.

But no TB…

Fuck. So should we go back up? We can’t just leave her here. We can’t lose TB when we just got her back.

So we start climbing back up.

Fuck.

And we get back up to the waterfalls.

And BB starts asking people. If they’ve seen her.

No sign.

Fuck.

And we pass a woman saying, “Ok. I’m going to go over here for about ten minutes. I’ll be back.”

Well, that is how you announce yourself.

I guess we head back down then?

I mean, she knows where the car is, right?

And I’m quizzing people as we pass them.

You see a tiny Brazilian chick on your way up?

And one woman says, “Yes.”

And I cheer.

And then she says, “She has two dolls with her? Is she your daughter?”

And. Ok. No. But also. Now I have questions.

Because how did you pass a random child alone in the woods. And not stop. And help her find her mother at that point.

And also. What is our level of responsibility here when we pass her.

Because we’ve been on this mountain for days.

And for real, y’all. If I don’t get actual food soon. I promise I am going to set this entire mountain on fire.

We never did pass the child.

But we damn sure were establishing new rules for TB.

We are taking all of her privileges from her. When we find her.

“Including both of her dolls.”

Yes.

And we were only 3 miles from the car. Then 2. Then 1.

And the earth was on actual fire. So my threats were meaningless.

And I was filtering water out of creeks. Just to try to survive.

And I was fantasizing about the food. And beer. And car.

And I’m just desperately listening. For the sound of TB. And BB. Yelling, “Spring Break, bitches!”

And finally. I see the neon yellow of TB’s long sleeved shirt.

And I can be happy.

Spring Break, bitches! Woo Hoo!

Because we just did that shit.

But also, you, young lady, are on punishment. Where are your dolls.

So many new rules on these trails, y’all.

And while we’re at it. I’ve got a new apartment rule.

When you visit. You have to take a bag of trash home with you.

Because apparently my apartment management has decided against having the dumpster emptied weekly. Or maybe ever. And has instead devolved into some sort of reverse Jenga where we all see if we can get our trash to stay on top of the dumpster trash mountain.

So far, I’m winning.

And every time I manage to throw a bag on top and get it to stay, I yell, “Spring Break, bitches!”

I’m still not making friends in my new apartment building…

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