VARIOUS TRAIL COMMENTS AND DESCRIPTIONS
NAKED GROUND TRAIL
Here's the sections to the Little Santee trail: 1) The wooden foot bridge, 2) The dandelion rock, 3) The hollow tree, 4) The Four Gates, 5) The second hollow tree, 6) The neverending steepness, 7) Medicine rock, 8) The oak cove(very steep), 9) The 8 switchbacks.
The 8 switchbacks go like this: The 1st, 3rd, and 5th are long while the 2nd and 4th are short. The 6th is one long hump and the 7th is cleared and nearly level the whole way across. The 8th is very short and very sweet as it propels you into the gap sweet blessed relief.
Just after Medicine Rock and just before the first switchback the trail is very miserably steep and rutted, it's the final insult in a long day of uphill insults. At the 1st switchback there begins a whole long series of brief level respites mixed with moderate climbs though by this time all moderate climbs are strenuous due to the previous leg and lung exertions and exhaustion. My only advice is to take it slow and enjoy the view, the slow view, as it passes snail like before you.
When walking a trail you usually always encounter deadfall and other obstacles which thru consideration I have divided into 5 categories. They are Blowdowns, Slowdowns, Throwdowns, Snowdowns and Reach Arounds. A simple Blowdown is anything you can cross or step over without breaking stride, usually a low log on the trail. A Slowdown is a Blowdown requiring more effort to either cross under or over, always resulting in the near stoppage of forward movement. This can be due to a downed tree or briars or even jumbled rocks.
A Throwdown is a Slowdown resulting in blood loss and is more common than you would think. A hard jab to the shin on a sharp branch and you've got yourself a Throwdown. Arms and legs torn by brambles and you've just left a Throwdown. A Snowdown occurs only in the winter and can be truly aggravating. When a normally open trail is blocked by bushes and trees heavy with snow and you've got to duck walk, crawl and curse, you've got yourself a Snowdown.
A Reach Around is a Throwdown you just can't get through so you reach down inside yourself and turn around, the going's just too rough and brushy. I've had several Reach Arounds in my backpacking career, one on the first 2 miles of the Yellow Creek Mt Trail, one at Sandy Gap trying to get up to Six Mile Gap, once in Lost Valley going thru 5 foot rhodo, one up at Conehead where things starting getting ripped off my pack, and several times at the Stillwinds Tipi trying to follow old loggng roads up to the top.
Becoming lost and not being able to find the trail is not a Reach Around. A Reach Around is knowing the trail and being on the trail but having to turn back due to the poor condition of the trail. Now, with this information all you backpackers out there will know the 5 stages of Blowdowns and how to call them. Let's hope the trail you walk isn't so bad that you have to do a Reach Around. There are also 4 categories of stride or gait but that'll have to wait.
THE NUTBUSTER TRAIL
THE BOULDER PEOPLE AND THE SUN AND DAUGHTER TWINS: Tomorrow I will go up steeply to frolic with the huge boulder people and they will introduce me to the gentlier cove people who will let me rest amongst their big trees and save up my energy before they walk me out past their Boulder Gate and get me started on the Forbidden Zone of Lonesome Ridge, the original heartbreak hill.
Slow and steady is the best advice and I'll take it to heart. If I survive old Grandpa Hemlock he'll kick me over to a level creek setting where I can take a long break and get a drink of ice cold water. Then the son and daughter twins of old man Hemlock will run me ragged and spit me out in a laurel hell parted only by a deep trench they call a trail.
By this time I'll be walking like a zombie on shaky legs when Heath Mother will lift me up and soothe me on her breast. She'll whisper "You're almost there!" and I'll squirm to continue and she'll let me. A young full blown yogi swami called Open Woods will greet me with fresh mango juice and we'll both run skipping to the gap yippee! So ends the final 7 sections of the Nutbuster Trail.