Monday, February 6, 2017

C+K {our big adventure}

Chris and I practically lived through Reader's Digest "Drama in Real Life" on Saturday.  (I would say we survived "Naked and Afraid" because that would grab readers, but since we weren't naked it seemed like false advertising!).

Long story short: because I've been hearing all about Rainbow Mountain in Madison lately, I got it in my head that we should go hiking!

I think the first issue might be in my definition of "hiking".  In retrospect, I should not have been saying I like to "hike".  It's more accurate to say I like to "stroll"...on pavement...even dirt!  The main point being a flat, non life-threatening stretch of earth.

I think it's so odd I've lived in Huntsville practically my whole life and I NEVER heard of Rainbow Mountain until like 3 months ago.  One of the guys I work with is always going up there and it's listed on all the blogs of things to do in Huntsville.

So when Chris and I were looking for a great way to spend a lovely day, I was pumped to plan our hiking trip!  I mapped the parking, checked the weather and asked my coworker for tips.  The next issue of the day might have been that I didn't write down what my coworker said.  And if I don't write it down, I don't remember.

I should have written down that he said to park at the water tower.  I should have written down that he said to turn right to get the pretty views and flat paths.  Instead, we parked at the pavilion and turned left.

{a tamer section of the trail}

We found out pretty quickly, turning left didn't lead us to flat paths and pretty views!  Instead it was the start of the Rainbow Mountain Loop, a 1.5 mile STEEP trail all the way DOWN the mountain then ALL THE WAY BACK UP IT!  That is an important lesson to learn about hiking:  if you climb down it, you have to climb back up it.  If I'm reading the map right, it looks like we started at 1,100 ft., hiked down to about 750 ft. then back up.  The fact that I could actually move Sunday morning is a miracle in itself!

We really had no clue how long the trail was, or prepared for how rocky and steep it really was.  There was one harrowing section as we started our way back up where I think we got off the trail.  They had trail markers but they were very spread out and then some trees had blue ribbons (still don't know what those meant!).  Several times when I was sure we had met our doom and would be forever trapped on Rainbow Mountain, the Lord would send some happy hiker who would point us the right way.

I was especially surprised at what the Land Trust of Alabama considers a "trail"!  They were obviously not marked by someone used to only "hiking" through Target.  I'm talking big ol' boulders that you had to climb up and hop over!  That's not really a "trail" to me!

{that's the trail!?!!?}

We finally climbed back up to a trail favorite- Balance Rock.  This is where my coworker had suggested we start (and stop) our hike.  You can see a pretty view over Madison on that side of the mountain and you can see Huntsville from the other side.

In all seriousness, Chris and I had a great time together.  We were due for a fun date and could feel the stress of life melt away as we worked together to survive!

If I've learned anything from our big adventure it would be these nuggets of wisdom:

1.  Don't leave your water and crackers in the car because you might not ever make it back.

2.  Have med flight on speed dial.

3.  Don't turn left.

4.  Stop using the word "hike".

5.  Find dates that don't involve your life flashing before your eyes.

Here's the trail map for those who might feel this has been an exaggeration (we followed the trail in red):

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