Friday, January 2, 2009

Up to the Top; Lost in the Woods

Yesterday we decided to climb up to the top of one of our ridges - definitely a challenge! At 2,000 feet elevation, the top of the ridge is 600 feet above our house. Heart pumping, legs screaming for relief, sweat dripping down despite the cold, we made it to the top.
We wanted to make certain that our "no hunting" signs were still up, and put markings on the trees at a particular "trail" to make it easier to find the best way up and down the ridge.

We make good use of our hiking sticks. My name means "little winged one" in Spanish, and so when my DH made my stick, he carved the word "hummingbird" on it. His name (Douglas) means "dark waters" and that is what he carved on his stick.

In some of these pictures, you can see our house down at the bottom of the ridge. At the point when we took those pictures, we were still a good ways from the very top.

Now and then I go up there by myself. That ridge is one of my favorite spots on our property, although I have favorite spots all over our property! On warm days, I love to find a "comfortable" rock up on the ridge and read, write, and meditate, surrounded by nature. The only problem is that I have a terrible sense of direction. Last Spring I went up there hunting morel mushrooms. I know that we have tons of them but I seldom get any; our neighbor is good at locating them and I think he gets most of them, or maybe I just don't see them, but either way its okay because it is more the hunting of them that I enjoy than the eating of them, although they ARE good... At any rate, on that particular spring day last year
, almost as soon as I got up there, my walkie talkie fell out of my bag and I had to retrace my steps to find it! Through the woods, through the leaves, around the trees - as I looked, I figured it was lost forever, but miraculously there it was wedged against a log. That should have been my first intuition that maybe I ought to give up and go on home for the day. The walkie talkie is the way that my DH and I communicate when one of us is out on the property and the other at home. But I pressed on. Moving about looking for morels, after awhile I realized that I didn't know which side of the ridge was to the north (Virginia side) or south (where our house is). Every direction looked the same. All of the trees looked alike! It was around 4:00 p.m., but I couldn't use the sun for direction because clouds had moved in and completely covered the sky. There was a flock of buzzards flying around above me (NOT a good sign if you use old westerns as a reference!). I figured if I got on my walkie talkie and told my DH to look out the window and at those buzzards, he could tell me which way to walk to get home. To my great distress, my walkie talkie had died! Panic began to set in. No longer was I looking for morel mushrooms (I hadn't found any anyway!), but now I was looking for the right way to just go down! The day was waning as quickly as I was becoming too tired to walk. I sat myself down on a rock and closed my eyes, breathing in, out, calming myself, using my internal Eye to guide me. Finally after a few moments I ignored the darkening sky, ignored my weary legs, ignored my "poor sense of direction" and just went home. That's all I had to do - just go home. Don't think that you don't know the way; you do. That's what I told myself, and I made it.

My DH gave me a compass for Christmas.


  1. Oh Aleta, I'd love some property just like yours --in the woods somewhere. Like you, I'd spend alot of time out there in nature. How many acres do you have???? WOW!!! I'm jealous!

    Great pictures. I'd be panting also going up that elevation. But--I'd love it.

    Being lost is scary... The compass will help. We have a hiking GPS which is wonderful. We mark where the car is when we hike off trail. That way we can get back. You can mark your home --and that way you won't get lost. Have fun!!!!

  2. beautiful scenery.I would be scared too.I can see your house from the 1 pic,but in the summer when the leaves are on the trees,I bet you can`t see your house.Thank goodness for your walkie talkies,good idea!phylliso

  3. I get lost very easily. I got a GPS last year for my birthday. I can't imagine laving home without it now.

  4. Betsy - we have 80 acres and we enjoy all of it. It is mostly on ridges, but we do have old logging trails that we hike on. We started out wanting at least 10 acres and were pleased to get lots more. We only wish we had a nice, year-round pond.

    The GPS sounds like a great idea too, Betsy & Fiona. Maybe for next Christmas!

    Phyllis - You're right - we can't see our house in the summer due to the leaves on the trees. I think this is the first picture I've gotten of our house from the ridge.