Sunday was the Atumnal Equinox-the official start of fall. And the morning temperatures did just what the season dictated: they fell. In the 80’s on Saturday afternoon, it was 48° according to the unofficial wilderness thermometer when Charley and I left for a morning walkabout.
There is a pretty step ridge on the southwest side of the wilderness and the top of the ridge is a small wildlife pond that I thought needed inspecting. This ridge is so steep it is all I can do to grunt and strain my way up, holding on to vines, saplings and trees to tug my way to the top. Even Old Charley struggled getting up this ridge.
But climbing up is the easy part. Getting down is scary.
After a rest and inspection of the overgrown pond (which is not much more than a 2’ deep mud puddle about 30′ in diameter…just enough to water the forest wildstock), it was time to take a deep breath and proceed down the abyss.
I reversed my way up catching myself on trees and hanging on to saplings.
All was well for about two thirds of the way down when the broomstick size sapling I grabbed snapped. It was at that point the cartoon slow motion of what was happening began.
My hiking boots slid on the wet woods litter and I quickly sat down figuring I would have less room to fall. And I did but the skidding on my rear end continued. Snags of wood, rocks and briars tried to be helpful and attempted to slow my fall by grabbing my butt. However they were painfully unsuccessful.
After a 30′ slide ride, a firmly rooted maple tree stopped my Autumnal tumble just shy of the nearly dry, rocky bottomed creek. Nearly dry and rocky bottomed pretty much described my backside as well.
As I slowly slid on down into the creek and semi-level land, I looked up at Charley who was still up at the top of the ridge taking in the comedy. I am pretty sure he was dog laughing as he turned to take the long way-a less steep way- down.
That is the way I will use next time…if I ever try to climb that ridge again, that is.