Friday, July 8, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me Again

MST - Day 54 – 4-11-11 – Falls Lake Trail Sections 1-4 – Bayleaf Church Road to Tailrace Fishing Area – 12.3 Miles
After yesterday’s bike ride Jim went home and I cozied up in a hotel in Raleigh with plans to hike on a real trail today.  In January 2010, I hiked most of the Falls Lake MST with Danny and Kate but I had to leave them a day early, so this was my chance to pick up those last trail miles.  Kate put me in touch with John French, an MST trail maintainer, who agreed to shuttle me.  As you know, getting a shuttle ride is a great gift and a most appropriate one because…today is my birthday! 
The hotel was filled with attendees of a pastor convention.  Although it was hard to push my way through to the breakfast bar, I felt thoroughly blessed as I left to meet John at Tailrace Fishing Area, the ending point of my hike.  Then not only did I get a ride to my trailhead, but John gave me a tour of the places where I would cross the road on my 12-mile hike, very helpful.  John also had emailed me some notes about the route. 

Starting out at Bayleaf Church Road.  I know I don’t look it but I’m 53 today.

Although this is the most heavily used area for trail runners, I only saw two people today, perhaps because it was a Monday.  Two days prior to my hike the Friends of the MST held its annual Mountains-To-Sea Trail 12-Mile Challenge on this section.  Roots and other trip hazards were spray painted day-glo orange for the trail runners. 











Lots of photos today:  wisteria at an old home site









More wisteria

Warm weather means spiderwebs galore.  Each spring I have to adapt again to crashing into invisible silky threads with my face, never pleasant but tolerable.  It ain’t gonna keep me from hiking.  But…once in a while the web architect doesn’t get out of the way fast enough…

Emerging ferns

One of the tricky parts of the route that John showed me, coming out of the woods, going left on a road, turning right into what looks like someone’s driveway.  I would have been crazy confused if he had not shown this to me beforehand.  Soon after I got back into the woods I stopped for a snack and my cell phone rang – an old family friend from my hometown who remembers the day I was born and always calls to sing “happy birthday”.  She was surprised to hear I was walking in the woods by myself.

Still waters – crossing a finger of Falls Lake

On this narrow strip of land between the lake and a pond there were at least a dozen white blazes to make sure I did not go for a swim

A reminder that the MST rubs up against private property

Gigantic gnarly roots – Lord of the Rings style

Halfway through my hike I was whistling along when I spotted a piece of trash beside the trail.  But what’s this?  A “happy birthday” balloon!  It looks brand new!  Probably blown away from some child’s birthday party, but now it’s MINE.  I tied it onto my pack and continued on my merry way. 






Various bridges today













































I like to take interesting photos of the white circle blazes.  Perhaps the Friends would like a slide show of trail blazes someday? 
I think something important happens here

Which way should I go?














































I was a little tired from two days on the bike but being on a trail for a solo hike was exciting, invigorating, exhilarating - Happy birthday to me!  A marvelous walk in the woods to celebrate.  This makes four years in a row of hiking on my birthday and I think it’s the best idea EVER.  Do something you love on your birthdays, folks, celebrate your life.  What are you waiting for?
A birthday is just the first day of another 365-day journey around the sun.  Enjoy the trip. ~ Author Unknown
Birthdays are good for you.  Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.  ~Larry Lorenzoni





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