"I go to the woods to be soothed and healed
and have my senses put in order."
Copyright © 2015
by Ralph F. Couey
My heart is still heavy after the death of our beloved dog. Everywhere I look, I see reminders of his life, and his presence in our lives. I had to get away for a time. As I do often when life becomes too much, I went to the woods.
The day was forecasted to be warm -- meaning above freezing -- so having a free day, I packed up my gear and headed out. I chose a piece of the AT I had yet to trek, the section between Virginia Route 7 and US 50 called "The Roller Coaster." In this 13-mile stretch, there lie 8 hills, ranging from 400 to 1,100 feet in height and the whole section you're either going up a new hill or going down an old one. I only had a few hours, so I planned a 3-mile out-and-back.
I parked in the dirt lot thoughtfully provided by VDOT, and after gearing up I hit the trail. The first section was a subtrail that led from the lot to the AT. It was only 0.2 miles, but it felt longer. The trail was at first very boggy from the melting snow and the rain from the previous day, but soon became slick. The snow, still on the ground, had been pounded into slush that had frozen into ice. It was slow going through this section.