Monday, April 5, 2010

Dog Day Afternoon

MST – Day 13 – 3/27/10 – Mountain View Restaurant to Taylor Road – 15 Miles

Our day began at 8:35 a.m. outside the Mountain View Restaurant, a cool 36 degrees. We walked through Pilot Mountain, a town with a lot of personality (loved their fire hydrant decorating competition). We stopped to chat with three guys outside a restaurant enjoying their morning cup of coffee.

We walked on out of town, completing our last road miles with Pilot Mountain continuing to dominate the horizon, and stopped for a snack. A friendly black dog with no collar slowly inched across the field, checking us out, finally close enough to sniff at Danny’s food, signaling time for us to move on. We finally stepped into the woods on the Sauratown Trail and our first white circle blaze. A hundred yards later we were facing our first stream crossing, Crocs required – the Little Yadkin River.

Sauratown Trail is divided into sections, each one the distance between road points, thus sections are short and pass quickly. The Sauratown Trails Association has an excellent map you can order – but plan ahead. I ordered several weeks in advance and they arrived at my house while I was on the trail. Fortunately Danny had a copy. Our first bit was Section 11, two miles of pleasant wood walking at last.

On Section 10 we picked up a new friend – Heidi, a black-and-tan dog with a bushy curving tail and perky ears. She ran to us as we passed her house, like every other dog we have passed, and her owner called to her from the porch. Heidi ignored him and the owner was not inclined to leave the porch to pursue her. We could hear his calls long after we had passed his property. We turned left onto Mazie’s Lane and Heidi trailed at a distance as we passed cows and donkeys. When we re-entered the woods, Heidi was with us. She followed us for the next eight miles. She never barked once and would not come close enough to be touched, so we could not read her tags. She cavorted through the woods, sometimes running ahead of us, and sometimes she would disappear, only to come racing up from behind at breakneck speed. After the first few episodes I was no longer startled. Heidi splashed in the streams and sniffed at everything. When we took breaks, she waited for us. Danny and I walked about eight miles – Heidi walked about 25. Danny contended that she has been this way before, and indeed she followed the trail well.

Section 9 was hit-or-miss trail signs on an interesting trail, creeks and rhododendrons. At one point I could see six trail signs at once – but most of this trail we hunted long for white markers.

Section 8 was about a mile walking on a gravel road, one car passed us. This looks like a favorite road for trash dumping of objects large and small, couches, toilets, car bumpers, and the everyday stuff of life. You probably don’t notice the trash from the front seat of the car, but it’s hard to miss on foot. Sections 6 and 7 are side trails leading to a large parking area for unloading horses and are not part of the MST.

The Sauratown Trail was very well maintained, thanks to volunteers who have worked hard to overcome the effects of the severe winter. Section 5 still needs work – a bridge is missing (which we fortunately knew from reading their website) and required Crocs again for crossing. This section also has a few blowdowns to contend with. This and the lack of white circles made the trail hard to locate at times.

We popped out on the road at the end of Section 5 and oriented ourselves towards our parking area. Heidi followed us all the way to the car – and then disappeared into the woods and did not return. Now, she had waited patiently for us at every trail break. We had formulated a plan to lure her into Danny’s car and return her to her home – maybe she didn’t want her adventure to be over yet? I felt uneasy just leaving her there, several miles from home. Maybe she knew the way, maybe she didn’t, but after all, she was someone’s pet. So we drove back to the owner’s home to let them know where we had last seen her. No one was home, but the folks next door were very kind and we relayed the info about Heidi’s whereabouts and our adventures of the day.

Moral of the story : Be careful what you profess to dislike on your journey – you may have to live with it. So what’s tomorrow – llamas on the trail? Perhaps we will have a menagerie by the end!

Read Danny's take on our "dog day afternoon" here.

We're so busy watching out for what's just ahead of us that we don't take time to enjoy where we are. ~Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin & Hobbes

1 comment:

David said...

Maybe she was protecting you from black bears? :-)