I paused the mug of coffee just shy of my lips. My nine year old daughter's growl echoed off the immutable ridges across the valley. So much for a nice peaceful holiday at the cabin...
I sighed, took one more wistful gaze at the autumn tinged hills and bellowed at my daughter to stop bellowing. I sighed again. Surely those hills--the ones still clinging to their foliage--would forgive my sonic trespass on their serenity. Surely my own echoes fell on the deaf ears of the backwoods and offended no one. Surely.
Every year my wife's family rents a cabin in a holler in Estill County for the Thanksgiving holiday. The cabin is part of a church camp at the end of state maintenance in a long valley where cell coverage does not penetrate and the hubbub of the holidays seems to not be able to touch us. We've all grown to look forward to our time at "the cabin" and we were despondent when the in-laws announced there would be no cabin for Thanksgiving this year. Then Tomahawk commenced to pouting. We ended up getting the cabin after all.
My children do not yet appreciate these kinds of experiences the same as the adults. We enjoy being away from everything. Unfortunately that means bringing the loud teen and preteen kiddos who insist upon rattling the nerves of their guardians.
Anyway, the cabin is less than two miles from the bottom of Cobhill. In previous years I've brought my bike. I decided not to this year. Instead I made plans with Dave, and Jeaph, and Kris (maybe) to ride on Friday after Thanksgiving. The cabin is painfully close to Bald Rock/Flat Hollow too. Again, I just didn't want to bring either bike though the cabin is in a great location from which to start many different bike rides.
Kris ended up going to London on Friday and Prestonsburg on a Saturday. If he had only told me he was planning on mtbing in Floyd County...
Jeff was in until he wasn't. In the end it ended up being me and Dave for the Turkey Burn 2016. I think that needs to be an annual RRG event. Whomever burns the most calories on Friday wins. Something.
He and I went early before we knew Jeff wasn't coming for the noonday ride to scout the last bit of the DBBB that I'm unfamiliar with. Due to un-Jeepable (daily driver) terrain we didn't make the Big Andy to Shoemaker connection, but I'm certain it's all a go. We just need to go ride that section.
After a brief respite for coffee in downtown Beattyville at the Art Factory (amazing baked goods and coffee!) we headed for Bald Rock. En route I got a text from Jeff that he wasn't going to make it. That turned the ride into a planning session between Dave and I instead of a purely recreational ride.
I showed him my progress on the current section of Hillbilly Hayduke and we rode the unfinished second section of the Shackle Rod Trail. Then we rode the Escalada Bonita grunt to gain the gravel loop on the north side of Bald Rock. With a 42t granny I was finally able to overcome my unfitness and rode it clean again. More on the 42t granny in a few weeks.
|Dave slogging through leaves on Hillbilly Hayduke|
We finished up on the singletrack in Flat Hollow. All of the trails are currently buried in leaves. I'm not a proponent of blowing or taking but until those trails are getting more traffic I think I need to clear them one more time and hopefully by next fall the traffic will arrive.
Sunday afternoon was bright and sunny. It's was a warmer day so Mandy and Bean and I took off hiking. We tromped north on the Sheltowee from Big Bend Road toward the Narrows. I wanted to show my favorite girls a couple of new arches. Mandy had been to Whites Branch before. We also checked out the nearby Twilight Arch which was pretty cool.
|Bean under Whites Branch Arch|
Mandy wasn’t feeling great, but we had a pretty good hike regardless. Lily always eats up having her parents to herself. She would have been an awful only child. I dread the years between her brother moving out and when we boot her out of the nest too. But I love her all the same.
|This shot was her idea|
I realize for a four day holiday this post is coming up short. Get over it. It was nice to unplug and check out for a couple of days. More adventures are coming I assure you. I’ve set myself up for some big efforts this year and I intend to follow through. And over the weekend Mandy asked me if I was going to do Mike(Whisman)’s trail marathon in April. He’s putting on a fifty miler and marathon up in Morehead. Why the heck not; what have I got to lose, right?