Saturday, July 24, 2010

Night Train to Prentice

On July 14th,  a bunch of regular Wednesday hikers joined the Soddy Daisy group for a night hike on the Pot Point Trail on Prentice Cooper. Among the group were Richard, Gwen, Anne, Vicki, Che, Debbie, Karen, Bill, and Reggie. Bill and Che get extra credit because they also went on the day hike on Signal that morning. (The Trail Chronicler suspects they're secret extra achievers.) As we drove in, the vehicles in front came to a stop and folks were jumping out. We found the excitement had to do with a good size rattler in the road- not a good beginning.

When we arrived at the picnic area by Dry Pond campsite, it was like watching a not so well-oiled machine as people gathered their fixings and got the grill going. A few of us had brought food ready to eat so we waited for the others to have their burgers cooked.We visited and enjoyed the late evening in the great outdoors. Eventually, we ate together to the sound of the cicada's and bull frogs starting their night calls. Everyone then jumped in to get the area cleaned up and begin the hike. We also found out Don Deakins wasn't in that big of a hurry because he wanted to make sure we at least hiked out in the dark. (Isn't there always a method to the madness.)

Finally, we took off and began the easy walk on the 4 mile loop. Don was in the lead for a ways until he began to wonder where the folks in the back were. He let Bill and Amy take over and he went back to find that Richard, Vicky and others were busy grabbing juicy blackberries! The trail was a wide path that seemed to be used by ATM's, etc, so we had plenty of room to watch for snakes. Bill and Amy stopped several times to pick up dead limbs that had fallen over.

When we reached an intersection, Don came back up to the lead and we took a short breather. As we took off again, the evening light closed and darkness enveloped us in the night. Head lamps came on and the jovial group became a little more contemplative; maybe darkness makes one more attune to sound? The lights bobbed and weaved as the group walked, dodging muddy spots, and calling out to each other. The crescent moon did not cast much light, but it was bright and beautiful with a few stars shining nearby.

We knew we were near the end when when the bullfrogs at the pond greeted us! In short order we were loaded up and heading out. A great time and, hopefully, not the last night hike. Maybe in cold weather when snakes aren't such a threat!