My son and I decided we would maximize our social distancing lately, so we decided to spend a few days hiking in the mountains. Upon spending a couple of days tromping about, I figured I would share a few observations:
• When you are used to temperatures in the 90s with high humidity, starting your morning in the low 60s with 50% humidity was worth the trip alone.
• I have shared many times how much you should. Not. Text. And. Drive. But on a mountain road? Really? There are people who, while winding back and forth on a curvy mountain road, with oncoming traffic on your left and 4,000 feet of straight down on your right, think it’s time to text someone. Seriously?
• If you think I rant about people texting too much in my column, just think about my poor son, who had to listen in person to me each time we passed someone and saw it happen.
• I live on the coast in a very flat area. The town I live in, Mount Pleasant, is 16 feet above sea level. Sixteen feet. And it’s called MOUNT Pleasant. So while I am used to hiking, I am used to hiking flat areas. You know what’s not flat? Mountains. We did a lot of our hiking off trail, so as my son is bounding up the side of the steep hill like a goat, I will admit there were a few times in which I stopped to tie my shoe. And went ahead and took about five minutes to tie it.
• That said, coming DOWN a mountain? A breeze. Didn’t have to tie my shoe once.
• During one hike, we went to a waterfall to check it out. One of the areas we were in is known for its waterfalls. Some are right by the road and jam packed. We prefer the ones that are a bit of a tougher sled to get to. Nothing against people, but at those roadside waterfalls are, you know, people. We hiked to one and then made our way to the bottom. While at the bottom, one of the two of us bounded from rock to rock and advanced about 30 feet up the creek. One of us walked methodically and at one point stepped on a slick spot and slipped one leg knee deep into the water. I’ll let you guess who did what.
• Despite one of us having a soaking wet leg, the bottom of a waterfall is a fantastic place to have lunch. And, yes, it was a Lunchable. I may be a grown man, but turkey and cheddar on crackers chased with a Reese’s is good regardless of your age.
• On our way home, we passed by Bald Rock in Cleveland. There you can see an amazing view of South Carolina over the expansive granite surface high in the mountains. You can also see thousands of names that have been spray painted all over the place. Most every spot is covered with names, prom proposals, pictures of … well, let’s not even go there. Just graffiti everywhere. It made me sick to my stomach, to be honest with you. I don’t know what the environmental impact is. But let’s assume it’s zero – I like to get into nature to see the art that has been created naturally, not to see “Toni and Randy 4Ever” spray painted in 4-foot fuchsia letters. I am sure some of you are rolling your eyes at me and saying it’s no big deal. Well, I look at it like this: Imagine every time you go to watch a sunset, 10,000 sky-writers have just finished their work. Kinda distracting to see the true art Mother Nature has produced.
Despite that part, the trip was a wonderful time. We hiked around 20 miles total, and my son found his first (and second and third) hellbender salamander. (Google them; they’re huge.) I’m not sure where our next adventure will take us, but wherever it is, I am sure we will have fun exploring nature and taking in all that she has to offer. And I’m sure we will have Lunchables at the ready.