Having already devoted almost 15% of my annual income to vacations and dental procedures this year, there wasn't much in the budget for October's new "thing," but this past weekend's Indigenous People's Autumnal Warming meant I just had to get outside and enjoy as much gorgeous weather as possible. I decided to head out into the hills of Bubba County to be in the sun and catch the fantastic show the trees are putting on.
Now, I had already attended the Shady Valley Cranberry Festival a few years ago, so viewing Tennysee's native cranberries (all three of them) no longer holds a strong attraction for me. Instead, I drove past the festival grounds and found myself motoring toward Backbone Rock, a spot that I'd never gotten around to visiting in the 12 years I've lived in these parts, most likely because of intellkid's propensity for car-sickness when traveling certain winding roads in the county.
Admittedly, Backbone Rock is no Mount Rushmore, but it is a very lovely spot to stop and get a few lungsfull of Autumn air tinged with the scent of foliage that's just past its prime. (I need to work on that description.) I hadn't bothered to educate myself about the rock before my visit, but I spotted a number of trail markers and some stone steps up the hillside, so in spite of the sign advising of steep drop-offs, unprotected ledges, and uneven footing, I presumed the hike to the top of the rock was very do-able.
And so, it was. But once at the "summit," I remembered that although I'm not afraid of heights, per se, I am extremely and ridiculously afraid of falling. Nervous, I sat down a safe distance from the edge of the rock and tried to figure out which would cause me less angst, walking back down the steep, uneven, leaf-covered stone steps:...or continuing across the ridge to see where the trail led:I told myself that I was being ridiculous, and of course I could walk across. What was the point in being there if I didn't go all the way, so to speak? Luckily, there was nobody else up on the ridge at that moment to witness my utter lack of bravery, so I figured that even if I had to crawl across on my hands & knees, I'd make it. And so I did. Walk, I mean. Didn't need to resort to crawling!
On either side of where the arch crosses the road -- which is maybe 12 feet wide at the top (I didn't stop to measure) -- there is a 75-foot drop, just high enough to be exciting without being terrifying (see top photo). Nevertheless, my knees were shaking while I stopped long enough to snap a picture of the road, then walked on to see if there was a way down from the other side.
Much to my relief, the stone stairway on the opposite side of the arch was much shorter than the route I took up, and was also supplemented by an iron handrail most of the way down. I took my time walking back to the car, congratulating myself for my bravery while simulatneously ridiculing myself for being such a chicken. I thought of rewarding myself with an ice cream cone, but got lemonade instead, and enjoyed the rest of the drive home while pondering what my November "thing" might be...Any suggestions?