Sunday, January 8, 2012

Virgin Revisited

Who says doing the same thing over again expecting different results is a manifestation of insanity? I definitely disagree.  On Friday we went to Virgin Falls again.  (Click here to see the description of the first visit.)  This time we not only went with all of our wonderful boys, but we determined to do the entire hike, with extras, in a single day! Out of bed at around 3:00 a.m., coffee and a small bite to eat, and off we went. It was crisp and cold and my legs did not warm up until after the first mile of hiking!  It's just a little after that first mile that the trail starts to seriously drop off down into the valley.  The boys were having a great time exploring all sorts of off trail spots.  Beautiful pools that are oh, so inviting.  Joe and I however insisted upon staying on trail.  We knew what was to come
and doled out hints about the value of conserving energy.  The boys frolicked on unhindered.  Big Laurel Falls was spectacular, as was Sheep's Head Falls.  But the main course still lay ahead.  When we arrived at Virgin Falls the guys were flabbergasted!  What an amazing sight!  We spent a great deal of time by the great Virgin.  Campfire and lunch of cold baked sweet potatoes and date nut bars, plus a hot cup of chai. After a couple of hours enjoying the entire loop around the Virgin, we began the descent to the river.  We spent some time resting beside the Caney Fork before the long haul out.  Coming up out of the river valley the boys got the first taste of what the hike out would entail, we were all glad for a brief rest at Big Laurel before the final push out.  Last time we were there, all the way out I kept thinking (and saying) that I thought the trail was leveling out.  This time however, I told the boys repeatedly, "What you are experiencing right now, you will continue to experience all the way back to the car.  Never let yourself think it will be letting up soon. It won't."  I think it helped to take that attitude.  Acceptance of the hardship somehow made the hike out feel less like a Bataan Death March. Here is a slide show of the trip: (Click Here)

The entire day was fabulous (even the hike out that I love to complain about.)  But the most inspiring moment for me was when we were all sitting around the fire and Dominic said, "I don't think we are supposed to sit around."  It may not seem like much of a statement, but at the time I was tending to the fire which I had been doing constantly since it was lit and would continue to do until it was time to leave.  The constant activity of providing warmth in the midst of an already active day caused this simple statement to really sink into my psyche.  We really aren't supposed to sit around.  If you think of humans in a natural state there is always movement unless they are sleeping.  Even recreation time would be filled with activity, if nothing more than tending a fire.  This thought went right along with the words from a song from my past that goes round and round in my head:

Gotta get out of bed and get a hammer and a nail
Learn how to use my hands
Not just my head I'll think myself in a jail
Now I know a refuge never grows
From a chin in a hand and a thoughtful pose
Gotta tend the earth if you want a rose.

Here it is for your enjoyment. I hope it gets stuck in your head too!

No comments: