North Bank Habitat - December 26, 2009
Coordinator Richard O'Neill, narration and pictures by Richard O'Neill

The day after Christmas, 5 hardy hikers showed up to work off the calories accrued from Christmas dinner. The temperature was at, or just below, freezing when we started under a thick gray cloud cover.

The first couple of miles on the Soggy Bottoms Road were just that: soggy and on the bottom of the west fork of Jackson Creek.  Scraggly oaks dotted the banks of the creek.  As we started the climb up to the North Boundary Ridge, frost began to show up and the elevation gain took us into the cloud cover. 

This was serious fog, thicker than the fog inside of Sarah Palin's head.  The mist has a muffling quality to it and it was quiet much like the quiet of snowy woods.  By the time we got to the ridge, visiblity was down to about 20 yards or so.  The frost became thicker and thicker and was more like ice.  The woods and hillsides were covered in white.  At the high point of the hike, there were actually some small snow patches. 

You've got to trust your map reading when navigating in the mist as there are no visual cues with which to orient one's self.  It's kind of like night hiking without the night.  After several miles of up and down along the East Boundary Ridge we suddenly dropped down below the cloud cover and I dropped down to my knees and said "I can see!"

~The Great One


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