"I should not talk so much about myself if there were any body else whom I knew as well."
-Henry David Thoreau

Monday, May 15, 2017

Buffalo Point: Part 2

Saturday's weather was beautiful and we did a ton of hiking.  I had thought that we'd spread these two or three small hikes over a couple of days, but we would up doing it all in one day and going farther than I had expected.  (Drew's a great motivator and it was all so beautiful.) 
We drove to the Rush Historic District for our first hike.  In the late 1800's they discovered zinc mines and the town (and the demand for zinc) was at its peak during World War 1.  As the zinc and demand for zinc fizzled, the town fizzled.  The last resident officially left in the 1950's and what remains is a pretty amazing stamp from history.  A few buildings have been left standing for people like us to see and learn from, many other structures have been reclaimed by the forest. 
 Smelter.  In the beginning of the mining in this area, somebody thought they found silver, so they built a smelter.  Turns out it wasn't silver and the smelter was never needed.  Oops.  It's still really cool to see. 

 This tree was pretty awesome.  It was obviously injured at some point in its life, but it kept growing.  The tree broke, but it somehow healed and kept growing.  It's branches are growing up to the sky.  I'm certain that there is a life lesson here. 
 The hike along the mine level is pretty cool because you can see some of the mine entrances. 

 The hike at Rush was awesome and fairly short.  Don't get me wrong, I got my heart pumping a bit, but it was only about a mile hike and not a ton of elevation change.  When we got back in the truck, Eleanor fell asleep!  We took the opportunity to just drive and explore the area.  What beautiful country!  She slept about 45 minutes then popped her head up, opened her eyes, and said, "I LOVE YOU!"  We drove back to Buffalo Point where I wanted to hike the first part of Indian Rockhouse Trail.  The entire loop is about 3 miles with about a 500 foot elevation change, so I thought we'd just hike the first stretch to the waterfall and then turn around.  I mean, we're fairly new to the hiking thing and we have a toddler in tow. 
We had some other hikers not far behind us, so we asked them to take our picture when we stopped to enjoy the waterfall.  Look!  It's me in a picture! 
 Then Drew said, "We may as well keep going."  Eleanor was having a great time and didn't want out, so we just kept hiking.  We stopped about half way at the Natural Bathtub to let Eleanor get out and stretch, explore this smallish cave and catch our breath.  I only fell down once.  True story.  The rock was wet.  My feet flew right out from under me and I landed square on my rear.  Good thing I have some padding back there.  I was not holding Eleanor and, as last time, the only thing injured was my pride.  

 There is a point where the trail that leads you to the rockhouse meets up with the trail that heads back to the trailhead.  We chose to take that and shave about a mile off of our hike and I'm glad we did.  Y'all, the climb back up made me feel like a fat girl on The Biggest Loser.   My heart was pumping and my thighs were screaming.  Drew was a great encourager, especially considering that he was hauling 25 pounds of Eleanor in backpack that weighs about 7 pounds.  Eleanor was AWESOME.  She did the whole thing like a rock star.  A rock star that didn't have to do the physical part, but didn't complain about going along for the ride.  At one point, as I was struggling my way up the hill, Drew said, "Eleanor is playing with my neck sweat."  I doubled over in laughter.  When we reached the top we felt like champions of the world.  Drew and Eleanor were humming the Rocky theme song with their arms up in the air.  I barely caught their victory pose. 
 Back to the campsite.  The rain from previous days meant the river had gone back up some and was awfully muddy again, so we filled up a bucket with water, put Eleanor's swim suit on, and we just let her play & splash.  It was ADORABLE.  Drew was giving her things to throw in the water to see if they would sink or float.  Best picture from the whole trip...

It turned out to be a really great trip, we had fun exploring, and I'm glad we went.  That being said, I don't think we would want to make the trip to the lower Buffalo again.  The upper Buffalo River is much closer if we wanted the river experience.  Since we aren't floating the river with a toddler, I think there are plenty of other places that we'd rather visit in the future.  We are going to the White River, just below Beaver Dam in a couple of weeks and that will be our 5th place to camp this year.  Neither of us have camped there since we were teenagers and we're looking forward to it.  After that, we will start revisiting some of our favorite places to camper camp with a little one.  We are both looking forward to revisiting Roaring River and Devil's Den this summer.