Taylor and I sat in the office checking emails and talking business over a couple of cups of black coffee. We were feverishly trying to plan the workday as our late start had us out of sorts. Monday's and Friday's are days we both have off from our real jobs and spend our time focused on Oakmulgee.
We decided on more eggs and more coffee first... never a bad choice. We knew we had to run into town eventually to handle some business. With my computer currently out of commission we decided that today, a dreary grey Monday, would be a great opportunity to do a small hike to loosen the mind.
We chose a short but steep hike in Morrow State Park. We also decided that fully packing and weighting our 40L and 60L bags would make the hike better for "training" and a great opportunity for a little exercise. We would call it a "gear test".
The pups were outside and the car was packed. As we hit the road toward the mountain a light mist set in, something we had both foreseen and I reached in the back of the car to unpacked our rain shells as Tate drove.
A quick stop by the Accountants for some business before we hopped back in the car to head out and do real business.
We reached the parking lot at the base of the trail, threw our packs on, and set off to push ourselves up the mountain. Having mountain biked all summer we knew we were in decent shape, but weren't quite sure how we would perform as pack mules. Time was of the essence as we fought the short days of winter.
The day was grey and the scenery matched. December in North Carolina rarely provides a setting for snow, so we were left with somewhat mundane scenery for our hike. We came to a split in the trail and chose the quicker of the routes to the top of Morrow Mountain along the Sugarloaf Trail. We enjoyed strolling through the woods as we quickly ascended up the moderate trail.
We reached the top of the mountain surprisingly quickly. Although we knew that majority of the loop was still in front of us, we were both impressed with our progress thus far. We spent a few minutes enjoying the views we could find through the mist, and had a quick drink of water before beginning our descent.
The trail wasn’t necessarily technical, but with a thick blanket of fall leaves covering the ground finding your footing was a bit of a challenge.
We slowly strolled along as quietly as we could, keeping our eyes out for wildlife and trying to generally enjoy the time we were spending in the woods. We spooked some whitetail deer and watched as they moved through the hardwoods.
We reached a small primitive campsite where we dumped our packs for another short break. After enjoying a sip of water we continued toward the conclusion of our hike; a quick assent following by a fairly level but winding path back to the parking lot.
We made it back at the car, slightly sweaty but in good spirits about how well the short hike felt with our fully loaded packs. We explored the rest of the state park a bit more, and eventually set off back toward home.
Different preparations for next time, lessons we learned, and future hikes to come were the subject of discussion as we prepared a meal of steak, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. We filled our souls with the outdoors that day, our heads with thoughts of how to progress the business, and now it was time to fill our bellies.