Sunday, July 27, 2008

Honey Creek hike

Stepping carefully
Originally uploaded by TheTurducken
Yesterday I went on a trip with the hiking group to Honey Creek in Big South Fork.

The day started off in a hurry - for the second morning in a row, my alarm didn't go off. I woke up naturally at 6:16 with an ETD of 6:30. There was no time for a shower; there was barely time to brush my teeth. Smartly, I had packed the night before, so I just had to throw together a sandwich before dashing out the door.

I discovered at that point that it had been raining in the night, and although it wasn't precipitating at the moment it didn't look to be over. I wondered if the hike might be canceled. Surprisingly, almost everyone showed up and no one wanted to back out.

Honey Creek has a reputation as one of the nicest hikes in the area. You probably can't tell that from my photos, because the weather made it very difficult to get good shots. The flash reflected against the humid air and took pictures of the mist and nothing else, while I couldn't hold the camera still enough with the flash off. I took 72 pictures. After deleting the ones that were blurry or nothing but mist, I was left with 39. Many of those just weren't good photos, and I only posted 18. My shots from the overlook came out quite nicely, but this is the rare hike where the journey is as nice as the destination. There were waterfalls, caves, rhododendrons, creeks, ladders, scenic views, enormous boulders, towering cliffs, and rivers. What more do you want?

I can't give you the usual stats for distance, etc. The National Park Service-provided map said it was just shy of six miles. A fellow hiker GPSed it at 8 miles. An outdoors website that uses GPS data said it was 4.61 with elevation gain of around 2,700 feet. My watch said the gain was less than 1,300. So it's a mystery. However, the terrain made for very slow going, as there were a lot of slippery rocks and roots; it took the full five hours suggested by the NPS.

Not to mention that there is a lot of stopping just to look around and admire!

P.S. Also check out Kelly's pictures. For one, they prove I was actually there, and for another, he includes video.

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