Wednesday, July 08, 2009
This morning I set out determined to find it again; I am boycotting Hominy Creek now and maybe forever after, since my last two trips were so depressing I felt like just giving it all up and moving to Marshall. It took me a while to find it - not only is it seriously tucked away in the back of beyond, they've changed it completely in the five years since I was last there. Back in the day the parking area was a muddy space carved out of a neighborhood but now it is all down a sloping curved road, paved and gated and fancy and my heart sank, because usually that means crowds. I was also furious with myself for getting somewhat lost and wondering what the hell I was going to do with the three overeager hounds in the car if I didn't find a park. Let them run loose among the ruins of the Inn? Play in traffic?
However fortunately, this morning there was nobody there except an apparently abandoned cement mixer. That might just be because it was raining buckets in South Asheville and along a small stretch of River Road: Asheville - if you don't like the weather, drive 1/2 a mile - but I'm hoping that it's a good sign for future wanderings.
There's only one slight problem: I damn near got really lost in the woods. This piques me, because I have this deep seated belief that I do not get lost, particularly in the woods. Now, this is actually pretty true: I have a weird built in sense of direction. I've been wandering around in the woods my entire life and I very rarely get lost. Unfortunately, the kicker to that is when I do get lost, I don't just get a little confused. No, I go whole hog and get really completely bewildered and at least 180 degrees turned around. Why do things halfway?
This morning, because I'd already been a bit lost, albeit in the car, and because that made me cranky, as did leaving my camera in the car, I was not paying attention to where I was at all. That is stupid as hell in the woods but there you have it: I committed the cardinal sin and just went blindly wandering down path after path after path. There are a lot of paths in that park. I mean, a lot, and about 40 minutes in it occurred to me that while I was fairly sure where the parking area was, I wasn't sure of how the hell to get there. I do know better than to get off a path unless I can firmly see my objective and I couldn't, quite. And then there was the looming possibility of rain, which can not only make any nice hike turn into something more along the lines of the death march to Bataan but also eliminate my chances of rescue by a group of frisbee golfers. "Not good," I thought sternly to myself, "Not good at all, oh great woodswoman. Hiker supreme. Idiot."
I thought about telling the dogs to find the car but reality intruded: these are my dogs and while I love them dearly, Lassie material they are not. Besides, their English is shaky and if I knelt down and said earnestly "Find the car, guys. Find!" they would think I was saying something like "It's time to lick Mom's face! Also, she has treats in her pocket! Yay!" No, it was up to me and thanks either to the compass in my head, the far off sound of construction equipment or the fact that Richmond Hill Park is not actually all that big, I found my way out again, which made me feel triumphant and canny and together and, better yet, nobody had stolen my camera out of the car, which is, all in all, not so bad for 7:50 in the morning of a Wednesday.