Greetings, Poetry Lovers!
In last week's post, I featured Edgar Guest's "It's September" (which had a fun addendum added later, after my mother saw the post and shared with me her own experience with that poem). I also mentioned that Jeff and I were going to celebrate our engagement on Sunday, exactly 40 years later, by revisiting the place where he proposed. As Furman students in the South Carolina Upstate, we had hiked up Table Rock, not far from campus and not far from where we moved this year. BIG thanks to everyone who left encouraging words last week for our hike!
Sunday morning, we donned our boots and grabbed our new hiking poles, and off we went! We were hopeful to make it to the top, but the trail is designated as "very strenuous," and I wasn't sure that some past injuries of mine would be keen on such an adventure. But (drumroll...) - we did it!
It was a gorgeous day with a bright blue sky and heaps of wildflowers. We got there early in the morning. They say to allow three hours up and two down; it's a 7.2 mile round trip. We took our time and got to the top in four hours, stayed up there an hour enjoying the views (and a bald eagle fly-by), and then took three hours to make our way down.
Did I mention, "very strenuous"? No way I would have made it without the poles. At the beginning, and at a couple-few points along the way, the trail teases you with regular ground at a gentle slope. This never lasts long. Most of the trail is literally huge rock stair steps that have been put on the trail, or carved out of existing rock. Or, in more than one place, little indentations carved into a rock face, barely larger than an adult-sized foot (sideways). Then, in other spots, there are just scatterings of rocks and boulders stacked up - and the red painted trail blaze close by on a tree.
There were a few folks our age and older, with most younger, and, faster. Most. A few young ones did struggle in spots! It wasn't as crowded as I thought it might be on the first fall weekend, especially as reviews had mentioned crowds. Reviews I'd read on the All Trails app ranged from accurate to aspirational to very funny. One hiker said she experienced all five stages of grief on that hike. Another said it was just several hours on a stair-climbing machine.
Anyway, we made it up and down alive and enjoyed the challenge! Jeff said, "Maybe we should do it every year." I'm thinking every 40 years sounds good... so, I'll write about it again when we're 100.
Decades of wear,
decades of tear,
but with more than a skip and a hop -
we dug deep and dug in,
put in all of our skin,
and made it somehow to the top.
You want wear and tear?
Pull up a chair.
(Though around me, I only saw stone.)
The Rockies have nothing
on what I once was.
Her voice had a wistful tone.
You talk about years?
I shed waterfall tears.
And yet, I still hold my own.
©Robyn Hood Black
We didn't see any bears or rattlesnakes, as had been mentioned in reviews, but one hiker ahead of us had seen a Mama bear and her two cubs, and some other young hikers had seen a rattlesnake. Shortly after we arrived at the top, however, we did see a couple of bald eagles, one flying very close to the few of us gazing at it from the rock outcropping.
out of the blue
a bald eagle
©Robyn Hood Black
Please visit the one-and-only, creatively adventurous Jama at her Alphabet Soup for this week's Roundup.