Yesterday morning just before sunrise in the light gray darkness my kid's head appeared in my blurred visual cortex with a funny smile. I thought to myself, is that really her as she spoke, "Dad I wanna go climb a mountain with you today." Am I dreaming, the thoughts bouncing around in my head as if I were in the place between consciousness and unconsciousness. Really? Okay let's get ready then and within 30 minutes my back pack was loaded with enough essentials and Ms. Arcen, Mary, Zula and I were rolling west and north in the UN Montero for the N. Mills entrance into the Pisgah National forest. The drive was predictably uneventful except for one bizarre occurrence in the low lands just before Shelby NC when a fog bank around 5 miles wide took over and reduced visibility on HWY74 to less than 15 meters. The sun was trying to come through but I had to slow to under 40mph to make sense of what I was seeing/not seeing. I am very familiar with this road but where I was, was well, not recognizable for the thickness of the low cloud on the ground. A traffic light snuck up on me but thanks to my reduced speed there was no problem in remaining safe.
Anyways we rolled in on fire road 1206 and parked at the Slate Rock/Pilot Cove trail head and started our upwards walk for the Cairns trail. Morale was super high as the conditions albeit cloudy were not too cold or wet. The jaunt continued meandering around the low ridges and creek crossings in the bends. Up a step of land and into a little valley that the trail went straight through, the hardwoods were young and sparsely placed, up ahead another rise and the trail tightened in once again. Time passed, questions went both answered and not. A break or 3 happened before we went right at the low left hand creek and started up the steep lowers of the Cairns. At the top before the intersection of Laurel Mtn Trail we stopped for our turn around break and watched Zula wrestle an Apple core as if her life or a million treats were at stake. More time passes in the woods with my kid, density surrounds us and we decide to head on down off the mountain which took just over half the minutes it did to get up. Descending an inside foot bridge creek crossing we ran into two bike riders going up for Laurel then Pilot Rock. We also met Blond pony tail guy with a shovel and his 2 dahhhgs, Malikye(MAL-i-Kigh) and no name. Zula freaked at the attention Malikye was giving and although comfortable around the big ones she has come to know at home panicked and became very scared, almost as if her life was threatened. Something strange happened to her energy which was very hard to pull back. Once Dr. Blond clipped Malikye in the situation calmed and our downward walk continued. Back to the Montero in just over 4 hours and the drive back to the Jar commenced. Mountain transfer day was just what I needed and what the kid wanted.
Zula searching for squirrel poop while the kid poses in full Hollywood style
Creek along the trail up after the first step