Ninjas, Dam Kids, and Serenity

Waking up in my own tent was nice for a change, the peace and solitude are needed every so often.  It was still very early so I caught up on the blog and  I’ll ed around till everyone else woke up.  I could hear Dandy rustling around and I knew he was up.  We have been playing this game as we hiked, we were murdering each other along the way.

How it works is when your hiking or camping and you catch someone lost in thought or not paying attention, you come up on them and rounded says one thing real quick, like nice weather right or hey how’s it going, usually startling them. It’s become a game since maple left to get each other and it’s been growing up and down the trail. Since Dandy was up, I decided to walk over and startle him first thing.  Stealthy walking over I stood at the entrance to his tent, silently waiting for him to stop fooling with his bag.  He turned around ever so slowly, as if he felt something was behind him. His eyes shot open wide in surprise, startled, talking loudly with quick breathes. “How long have you been there?” He asked while catching his heart rate.  I thought to myself what to respond and no went with the truth, “just a few seconds.”  We laughed and he was thankful it wasn’t longer.

Eating, packing up, heading out, the five of us Dandy, Gadabout, T-bird, Thunder (Kevin), and myself planned our six mile day to Fontana Dam.  It would be 3or 4 miles before I realized I left my sock by the fire pit.  We started out playing the movie game and the famous name game as we hiked up hill.  Is it me or does it seem like we are always going up hill?  Maybe it’s me.  Up up up we went, before long we were talking about anything and everything that came to mind.  Today’s big topic was self awareness in and out of the trail. Just in time too, I pointed out two turkey hunters coming out of the woods about a hundred yards off.  I would later talk to Pebbles and Bam-Bam about it, the biggest reason to stay aware is not some horrific random event with a person, it’s the cotton mouths, water moccasins, boars, wild pigs, bear cubs, and other animals that inhabit the area.
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We talked about how everyone was going about there day all ladida, without a care in the world, when the chances of being bit by a snake were much higher than being creeped out by another hiker.  This line of conversation would go on all day as we hiked up and down the trail.  It wasn’t till I had to hit the tree real bad, wink wink, that we parted ways for a bit.  While I was busy, the three of them hiked on, Thunder kept watch, and the girls Pebbles and Bam-Bam passed us. Feeling better Thunder and took off down the trail. This was the moment I realised my sock was missing. Why in this moment I’m not sure but it was when we were running down the trail.

Running, not talking, silently, stealthy, we floated along the rocks and roots.  This was how we grew up, running and playing in the woods. The only sounds we made were our packs shifting back and forth, and our light taps of the trekking poles if they hit rocks.  It wasn’t too long that we caught the girls, well we heard them first.  Giggling and laughing as they walked, oblivious to us behind them.  We slowed our pace, just as we were about to be on them, they giggled and so did Thunder.  Bam-Bam turned around looking at us with her eyes wide, shrieked, “How did you catch us so quick?”  I replied with “Easy we’re ninjas.”  “Just like your nephew I see” she said.  And like that we were off again, flying down the mountain side.

We ran for about half an hour before we could hear Dandy and Gadabout in the distance.  By now we were skirting back and forth a long the rocky switchbacks on the cliffside.  Leaping from rock to rock, we looked more like animals than humans, closing the distance with every step.  They were eye about about a hundred feet below us on the cliff and we would have to be super quiet as to not give ourselves away above them.  Light on our feet we switched back and forth a long the trail, ever getting closer, their voices getting louder by the second. Would one of them turn around and see us bounding at them, would our small sounds give us away. Then it happened, flat ground, no more rock fields, streams, roots to balance over, just this soft flat terrain to glide over.  We were on them in seconds. As we slowed our pace, matching their’s, we stayed within two feet of the last person Archy.  Ever so gently I tapped him on the shoulder and gave a look with my finger over my mouth, as to say let’s sneak closer.  Now we were in the group without them knowing.  Taking the most opportune moment I yelled “Gotcha you’re all dead.”

Gadabout, T-bird, and Dandy all turned around startled, shocked, wondering where we had come from.  Laughing and carrying on we hiked the last mile or so to Fontana Dam. We came to the marina and found an oasis of beauty and history.  Walking into the shop we talked to a wonderful woman who told us all about the Dam Kids.  When the dam was built the town had a huge population boom and they were called Dam Kids for growing up during the build.  Listening and appreciating the rich history she shared, we drank sodas and ate candy.  Upon parting ways I walked to the end other dock, finding the most serene spot of the day.  A floating dock that overlooked the crystal clear lake and trees.  Sitting there appreciating the moment, I thought of home, friends, loved ones Anda thanked God for moments like these and days like this.
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