Nope I’m not back on the trail, but if I can’t for now I thought I would at least say “hi” and tell you what I’m up to.
I’m living life in the Lower 9th Ward and loving it! I started off by building a few garden boxes and just when I thought all was ruined with flooding rains this spring, the gardens sprung!
Getting ready to build several more boxes and plant my fall/winter garden. I’ve been eating herbs and veggies every day and want to make it year round. This morning I harvested enough herbs for tea all winter!
Also pulled a bunch of French shallots, which are wonderful in fresh scrambled eggs. Yup, I’ve got chickens. They are my Funky Town stripper chicks. Krystal, Diamond, Blue, Foxy, Angel and my favorite Bitty.
They are beautiful, but clueless as the Mississippi Kite Hawk sits watching.
Chili is just scratching his head and wondering what’s next. I haven’t yet told him about the milk goat that is joining us in the spring!
So no hiking until it cools off some and I don’t think I can get back on the AT until later next year. I still think about it everyday and I can’t wait.
My life is good and I hope yours is as well. Still kickin! Digdeep
P.S. I’m about to hit the publish button, but haven’t done this in awhile so forgive me if it comes out all crazy looking!
“My dog is worried about the economy because Alpo is up to $3.00 a can. That’s $21.00 in dog money.”-Joe Weinstein
Before I tell you about our hike, I would like to tell you about Chili’s last 6 weeks after a spine injury. He does end up being the hero of this hike!
Almost 6 weeks ago Chili slipped a disc and it pushed into his spine, which caused a partial paralysis in his hind legs. The first few days were serious and uncertain, but major steroids, daily acupuncture and massage has gotten him up and going. We started off limping to the corner and back and tried a little farther each day. He is now off the steroids and has a few balance problems, but he’s eager to go! I wanted to do this hike because it is fairly close and easy in case we could only manage a couple miles.
Black Creek Trail is in DeSoto National Forest in southern MS. We started at the southern most end where the trail is mostly flat and wide for long stretches. What I didn’t think of were the TONS of hunters and their dogs. Chili had his orange backpack and I tied an orange tshirt to mine. We encountered quite a few dogs that were zigzagging through the woods and rounding up turkeys. Really beautiful and interesting dogs. And silent! Chili got into a tiff with an armadillo until I screamed and they both looked at me like I was crazy.
The trail goes deep into the woods and curves around to the creek in several areas, but the bluffs are too steep and overgrown to climb down them. We hiked in about 8 miles and I found a tiered area to climb down. It was very sandy and soft so it didn’t hurt much when I fell and rolled down half of it. I did roll into the perfect place to camp.
I set up camp, Chili played in the water and we had an early dinner before the sun went down.
All was great until these two strolled in.
Hunting dogs are never fixed so I stuffed Chili into the tent. Girl was young, timid but very playful. And it didn’t take long to realize something was really wrong with Boy. He was limping, shaking and seemed like he couldn’t catch his breath. He came right up and laid in front of the tent, but every few minutes tried to scoot up into the tent. He was wearing 3 tracking collars that were still working so I figured someone would come looking for him. I put him on a pad and climbed into my sleeping bag. Girl decided she wanted to run around the tent and tease Chili. She continued to do so every 30 minutes or so, ALL NIGHT! We heard gun shots until well after dark and dogs would bay and come close then fade away. Nobody came. Around midnight I started thinking about The Walking Dead. Around one I started thinking about the Honey Island Swamp monster, and right on key around 2am, Boy started making a really loud Chewbacca noise. Checked on him and tried to quite him, but that didn’t happen. Around 4am a rooster (???) started crowing and then dogs baying started again. I made coffee and waited for the sun to come up.
With so much time to think, I decided to cut the hike short and try to get help for the dog. I knew how hard this was going to be because a few years ago I was hiking with my friend Judy and we found a starved hunting dog in the bushes. We had to carry her out and there were 2 of us. We climb out of the tent and both dogs had disappeared. Didn’t even say goodbye. I was just finished packing up and here comes Girl. She finally came up close enough to meet Chili and then followed us to the path up. I almost missed him, but Chili found Boy laying in the bushes. I couldn’t carry him up the hill so I hooked Chili’s leash to my pants and he literally pulled us up the bluff. I had to have Chili take turns pulling my pack while I was carrying the dog. Then on the grassy areas I pulled him on a towel. It took us 3 hours to hike in and 8 hours to hike out. I put Boy in the back of the car and tried to coex Girl with food. She did get close enough for me to read the # on her collar, but when I tried to grab it she BIT ME! Called and left message for owner, waited for awhile, but I had to take the boy in. A hunter told me where SPCA was in the next town. It broke my heart to leave the girl and I’m just really hoping the owner went and found her. SPCA was very kind and they took the # I had so we know who you are and you better man up or else!! I know this was a long story, but it was definitely an adventure for Chili the hero, and I!
And after all that, don’t forget……. Everyone should have access to clean running water. Digdeep.org and NO to Dakota Pipeline.
Today REI released a new short documentary on YouTube and if you have time it’s worth 37 minutes of your time. It’s called Paul’s Boots and I had the privilege of spending my 1st night on the trail with those boots, Daddy Long Legs and the camera crew. I ran into Daddy Long Legs a couple months later when I was laid up in Pearisburg and he was suffering from shin splints. He summited Katahdin on October 1st. Really proud of him! Watch the video. You get a better idea of those rocks I kept complaining about!
I ♡ hikers-Digdeep
P.S. Found this guy today and he really needs a good home. Please!
Today is day 6, but it’s only 5:30 and I’ll wait for a little light before I start hiking. I’m also waiting for a decent hour before I call my shuttle ride to my car. I have to arrange for pick up this evening and this means I’ll be hauling butt to get in 21.4, or miss an expensive ride! In the meantime, I’ll write about Day 5. Continue reading →
Finally made it 20+ miles yesterday (only made 19 on day 2. Blackberry milkshake killed me) and it didn’t completely do me in! Not rain, nor heat and humidity, or even a graceful faceplant on wet leaves could stop me. Then I met a hiker that had done 28 and was continuing on for a few more. My bubble deflated only a tiny bit.
“He was a killer, a thing that preyed, living on the things that lived, unaided, alone, by the virtue of his own prowess, surviving in a hostile environment where only the strong survive.” Jack London, Call of the Wild
NOT. While Chili may be ready to hike, he’s definitely no “Buck”!! I’m just hoping he isn’t intimidated by a rabbit, let alone a bear.
We leave Thursday for our long drive to Waynesboro, VA, the southern entrance to the Shenandoah section of the AT. From there we hike to Front Royal, VA, the northern entrance, and a total of 107 miles. I’ve worked on the injured leg for the last couple months and I’m pretty hopeful that it shouldn’t give me too many troubles. To be honest, I’m more concerned about “crap car” making it the 2000 miles. Send positive car vibes, please!
I’m excited to get back on the trail after slaving away on the house. Looking forward to carrying a lighter pack (by 7lbs), cool mornings, a breath of fresh air, maybe catching some changing leaves, and of course, chalking off another section!
Busy month. I have finally moved into my home (living out of boxes and sleeping on an air mattress), and I’ve also moved into a new work space. Yup, two moves and I’m still standing. My leg seems to have held up very well and I think it’s ready for a trial on a trail!
Next week I’m heading up to Denver and I’m planning on a good day hike. Something steep and rocky as a test. But my larger scale plan is scheduled for September when I had planned on hiking part of the Pinhoti Trail. I started thinking about it and realized if I want to finish the AT, I need to stick to it. I’ll be heading up to Virginia (send prayers for crap car), and I’ll hike the Shenandoah section, which is 105 miles. Yay! Planning really is the fun part.
Hoping you will enjoy following along on the mini trips.
P.S. Why does downloading the “upgrades” always make things harder. Not sure what this post will look like, so bear with me. Denise, I need your help!
I’ve been home one week and it seems like months, but then again, it seemed like I was gone forever. My re-entry felt like a crash landing at first and I’ve been laying low, just testing the waters. I’ve looked at my photos at least 100 times and I really miss the trail. I miss the ice cold streams, fresh clean air, all the green that goes on forever. Sometimes I miss the bears!