Sentinel-Echo.com

Opinion

September 27, 2013

On The Rebound: Of course I didn’t get lost

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — The plan was to hike the 9.1 mile Rockcastle-Cumberland Confluence. Taking Ned Branch Trail off Kentucky 1193 would be an easy loop with a lot of level walking to where the Rockcastle River becomes Lake Cumberland.

I plotted the trek the night before and gathered everything I would need to for easy hike, plus everything I would need should things go wrong – food, water, fire, and shelter. I also had a map, compass, and GPS. No way to get lost, right?

It took less than a mile for me to lose my bearing. I walked right past a switchback. In my defense, the path I took was more clear and obvious than the one I missed. When the trail I followed turned into a mangled mass of rhododendrons and brush, I backtracked and easily found my way.

There were a couple more places where I had to backtrack until I found the familiar white trail blaze on a tree that signified the correct trail. There were also a lot of orange ribbons hanging from trees. Although I had never seen this as a trail marker before, my guess is this showed where they were clearing the trail. When I ran out of ribbons, I ran out of trail.

I don’t know if you would call it lost because Ned’s Branch creek was on my left. When Ned’s Branch became the Rockastle River, I still knew I could trace it back. But when I found myself scrambling over boulders looking for the trail it felt a lot like lost. When I headed straight up what felt like Everest looking for where the trail would intersect, it felt desperate. Honestly a night in the woods wasn’t what I feared. I would have shelter and fire. Supper would have been beef jerky and granola bars. I feared seeing the faces of the people that would panic when I didn’t show up.

I had left my itinerary with a friend that could have organized a rescue by himself. He’s so computer savvy he could have found me with a Google search.

According to the GPS, my last position was only a couple of miles from the car. Of course, this is as the crow flies and not accounting for all the twists and turns. I had been hiking over two hours, which should have been at least six miles.

Since I do not have a true report on Ned Branch Trail, I will amaze you with the stories of what I thought about while trying not to think about my possible demise.

I thought about gravity. The story goes that Sir Isaac Newton’s theory evolved from getting plopped on the head with an apple. He could have discovered the same by hiking. Try walking up a hill as compared to down a hill. It is gravity that is pulling you back with a firm hand.

I should know more about the effects of gravity, but I made a C in college physics. The average grade wasn’t my fault, it was Bobby Chavis. The course was graded on a curve and everyone was average except Bobby. In my defense, I probably made an A+ on the equations I answered; there just wasn’t enough time in the class for my slow mind to work them all. Bobby would work all the questions and then build a spaceship or laser from spare parts.

My other brilliant observation is that maybe I watch too many action movies. As I crossed a creek and started to step onto the opposite bank I stopped abruptly. Stretched across the path was a trip wire that could have set off an explosion or an Indiana Jones- style spear through the sternum. I backed up and followed the wire to the end expecting to find a hand grenade.

The wire stretched for over 50 yards and I gave up finding its origin in either direction. It had too much slack from branches falling over it to be any type of trigger. On closer inspection, it appeared to be braided fishing line. Still not sure what it would be doing there because it was stretched in a way that would make it impossible to be a product of fishing.

I will be back on this trail, but will try hiking from the other direction. I will also pack a little extra supper.



mhoward@sentinel-echo.com

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • mitch.jpg On The Rebound: An almost completely true fish tale

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • denis.jpg Direct Kick: Did Lana cross the line with her remark?

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • mitch.jpg On The Rebound: All Star Game less important than Wiffle Ball

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • denis.jpg Direct Kick: A very eventful week in sports

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • The shining kingdom

    The drop in gas prices locally is a welcome sight for most residents in the area with gas falling under $3.60 per gallon.

    July 16, 2014

  • Letter to the editor: Thanks, Sentinel-Echo

    In the July 4 edition of the Sentinel-Echo, (last page, section 1), the entire page was given to quotes of references to God, the Declaration of Independence, and our constitution by our founding fathers, former presidents, Supreme Court judges, etc. 

    July 14, 2014

  • Zamperini's story was inspiring

    I had never heard the names of Louis Zamperini and Russel Allen Phillips until my pastor gave me a book, “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,” by author Laura Hillenbrand, who wrote, “Seabiscuit: An American Legend” a few years ago.

    July 11, 2014

  • The tales of Dr. Robert E. Pennington

    When Dr. H. V. Pennington began to practice medicine in Laurel County times were hard and medical methods were primitive, compared to today. 

    July 11, 2014

  • Where did that red truck go?

     We were sitting out on the front porch last Saturday afternoon when a  big, red, late- model pick up whizzed by on Charlie Brown.  It looked like there was a man driving and a woman riding shotgun  

    July 7, 2014

  • A change for Pace

    Let me tell you a little about my friend Candice Pace. We were sitting in the fountain square the other day and she was telling me about how she had driven to Pikeville, where she’s from, to visit with her mom. Along the way, deep in McCreary County, she passed three turtles that were crossing the road.Let me tell you a little about my friend Candice Pace. We were sitting in the fountain square the other day and she was telling me about how she had driven to Pikeville, where she’s from, to visit with her mom. Along the way, deep in McCreary County, she passed three turtles that were crossing the road.

    July 7, 2014

Facebook
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
B. Going to the beach!
C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
     View Results