I apologize for the delay but since this was a pseudo CSAUP event the 24 hour backblast rule is a little gray.
Unfortunately my plans to eat at a decent breakfast eatery near Crowder’s Mountain went awry when everywhere decent I checked was closed on Sunday except for McDonald’s. I arrived about ten minutes early and sorted my car out and wondered to myself if anyone would bother to show but I had a good feeling that my hiking partner Stroganoff would and at 0600 hours there he was. The pre-blast had a 0600-0640 breakfast timelime and no one else showed so I wondered how many would actually come for the hike. About 0645 JK2 showed up and ordered some food to go so I knew we would have at least 3.
I pulled out right on time and wondered why Stroganoff wasn’t behind me. I waited and figured he was being a good wingman for JK2. Only later did I learn that someone left their phone in the head and had to go retrieve it.
We pulled into the Linwood access at 0658 and the gates were open and there was the Nantan and his crew waiting to go. Kotter Richard Simmons let me know he was coming since he signed up for a HTL Ruck in 2018. Once he appeared nine PAX got in two clown cars and off we went to the Boulder’s access at Kings Mountain. Defib and I registered our vehicles while everyone hit the head and got organized. Before I could set the tone for “church on the mountain”, Stroganoff ripped JK2 with a quip about his Ron Jeremy mustache. JK2 didn’t know who that was and some others pretended they didn’t either. This was the first of many Ron jokes the rest of the day. I decided we needed to read the “Mile One” verse before we started. GENESIS 2:15 “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.” God intends for us to work and through our efforts we can honor God by fulfilling our purpose to work.
We then headed out on the trail. It was clear and brisk to start. We went up a hill and down a hill and I walked past some signage and kept going. Fortunately the wiser group in the back called to us and said we were heading towards South Carolina so we returned to the sign and made the appropriate adjustment. It could have been a very long day.
We had a good pace and there was lots of fellowship along the way. The group of nine all stayed close together. I learned all about Richard Simmon’s training for the GoRuck in Charlotte next year. He had a 40 lb plate in his ruck which made the rest of feel pretty weak in comparison. He also had a feisty female voice on his phone telling all of us constantly to pick up the pace.
Everyone had on a pack of some sort from Camel-backs to first aid kits and food. Monk, the stoic that he is, only had his thoughts with him and a few snacks in his coat pocket. He had a water bottle that probably held about 3 ounces. Fortunately I had at least half a case so I gladly gave him some of mine later in the day. At every mile we stopped to read another verse of scripture and share a lesson. For the first 3-4 miles we only saw one person…an odd man sitting on a bench who seemingly came out of nowhere. Both Monk and JK2 had foot problems during the hike. Monk later declared that his boots were too small. However between some quality first aid and fresh socks there were no complaints.
On the Ridgeline trail there is an option to climb to King’s Pinnacle. There was a discussion about whether or not to do this but Stroganoff didn’t hesitate and led the way and the others followed. We arrived at the top with the mountain to ourselves. We had a snack break and Stronagoff ate a delicious looking smashed PBJ sandwich. Then Freight tried in vain to get his phone to take our picture by balancing it on a near vertical steep rock face. Suddenly two strangers appeared and Monk asked them to take our photo. When they asked if we would take theirs, I believe Monk said “NO”! It was a pretty well timed joke but of course we took their photo.
From this point of the trail and we were about halfway and we past many hikers coming from Crowders or the Sparrow Springs parking lot. At one point near Sparrow Springs the trail was closed as indicated with about a fifteen foot section of Crime Scene Tape. Someone said, “anybody got a dime? Somebody’s going to have to go back and get a sh%tload of dimes!”
We crossed another road and had a Mayor of Charlotte sighting. She was walking her dog and actually passed us twice on the trail. From this point the elevation increases towards Crowder’s Mountain. Eventually we made it to the Crowder’s Pinnacle where there were what seemed like hundreds of people. After a mosey down the stairs we ended at the Linwood parking lot where we finished with a COT. JK2 drove Defib and me back to the Boulder’s Access and we called it a day.
During the times we stopped for bible verses, Def Leppard could almost always repeat the verse with just a few hints. He is a wise sage and I appreciate his impact on me.
All in all it was a great day with all three F’s on the Mountain. Next time we will start from South Carolina for the whole trail. I don’t think it would add much distance but at least it would resolve the feeling of unfinished business.
Psalm 1 18:6 “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
Live without fear and you can be free knowing that your ultimate destination is in heaven.
I appreciate all the F3 brothers that I have crossed paths with over the last several years. The hike was right around the 11 mile mark. I know that Def Leppard thought this was a CSAUP. I can’t argue with that especially since the soreness I experienced this week was ridiculous!
It was a pleasure to lead as always.