Friday, July 18, 2008

How To Hike In Flip Flops...

Other titles for this post:
~ Dehydration 101
~ Hallucinations of a Television Crime Drama Addiction
~ Who Needs A Treadmill: 101 Ways to Get Exercise Outside
~ Places to Meet Men

Tonight after work I didn't want to mess with traffic so I decided to take back roads around town and run some errands. On my way home I drove on Paper Mill and crossed the small bridge at Sope Creek. I have always wanted to investigate the remains of what I assume is a paper mill at the bank of the creek, but never have. Why not today, I had my camera and figured it was the perfect opportunity since I had no where else to be, my husband had other plans. I parked, grabbed my camera (sporting it's new smaller, more travel friendly case ~ thank you Kelly & Justin) and jumped out of the vehicle ready for a quick walk down to the creek.

About 3 minutes into my walk I came to a sign pointing to Sope Creek. It was a ratty sign with more faded writing below the words "Sope Creek" and when I got closer I saw that it said "Employees Only" so I followed the arrow anyway.

Keep in mind, I have never been down this trail and have absolutely no idea how long this walk will take or how difficult it will be. So I keep walking, over a large tree that looked like it had been struck my lightning and about 10 minutes in, now I was thinking this might be a mistake. I had no water, no idea when the sun went down (park closes at dark) wearing hot jeans and FLIP FLOPS! I figured I was already this far in, I couldn't turn back, I must persevere.

Down a few hills and avoiding the "we grew like this to trip you" roots, I was now walking parallel with Paper Mill Road and had I needed to get to the black top, it would have only taken a little effort and possibly getting wet & muddy. 5 minutes later, after a few sparsely placed signs, I managed to make my way to the mill remains. It was beautiful. There was a lot of overgrowth, but it just looked so serene and peaceful, I wish I had had more time.

It was strange though, there was a Mexican family gathering something...they were lifting rocks and digging in damp was very strange, almost as if they knew something we didn't know. I looked around and the only thing I saw were a million fire ants. ants. OK, so maybe they were not fire ants, but they were red, so they very well could have been. Regardless the only thing that I was concerned about was the fact that I was still in flip flops. I kept moving my feet as I stood to take pictures, but I am sure they are still crawling on me even now, five hours later! Here are a few photos I took while I was at the remains:

My camera rocks...seriously! The little Mexican family was till there digging away (I think I even got one of them in one of my pictures) but I knew I had better be on my way. The majority of the hike toward the river was downhill, so I knew I had my work cut out for me and my flip flops on the way back.

Funny thing...that little Mexican family parked on the other side of the bridge. Literally a 1 minute walk over the bridge to get to the same location that took me 20 minutes!

Anyway, before I left I thought I would dip my toes in the creek and took these photos:

Sadly, there were a few collections of crap along the creek side. I wish I had had a bag with me, I would have carried it out. I mean come on people! They put a trash can right at the beginning of the trail. And maybe it's not the hikers, maybe it's you up there, throwing trash out of your car as you pass over the bridge. Not cool. Don't pollute!

When I turned around to leave I noticed that from the creek I had a really great view of the main building remains so I took a few more pictures:

It sort of reminds me of my trip to Mexico with Heather. When we toured Chichen Itza, that was far m
ore grand and amazing on so many levels, but it just had the same feel in a way.

Anyway, I headed up the trail and as expected it was horrible. It was getting dark and I am pretty sure Freddy Kruger was waiting out there to kill me. I know it's not funny by any means, but the only thing I kept thinking about was that girl that got killed in the north Georgia mountains. Then I wa
s thinking I need a dog, a dog would have loved that hike.

I kept seeing this little green round berryish things:

I was wondering if they were poisonous or if I could eat them if I never made it out of this hike!

Then I found what I had been looking for...the parking lot!

All in all a great time was had by all. And by all, I mean just me, since I was alone. I think the hiking bug bit me while I was down there, now I am going to try to find other trails around town with "points of interest" that need their picture taken.

Total elapsed time of hike: 42 minutes
Number of people I passed on the trail: 0
Number of Mexicans digging for gold: 4
Number of dogs/owners I seen in parking lot: 6

I hope you enjoyed this took me forever to put together.


MonikaC said...

Looks like fun! I love exploring places that look interesting. I look forward to your next adventure.

Landlocked Shores said...

Beautiful! Thank you for sharing... now I don't have to hike. Ha! Since you know I LOVE the heat!!!
But it is really pretty there... nice to know what's back there.

Supershepherds said...

I love the old mill. I took many a walk there, though never in flop-flops. Great pictures.