Déjà Vu All Over Again.

Yesterday, I intended to go fly at one of my favorite spots, Insurance Bluffs. The last time I flew there, I got some great footage, but spring had not yet sprung, so everything was still gray and yucky. Now that the greenery has returned, I wanted to get some new film (why do we call it that?), but it wasn’t meant to be – the entire back side of the PCSF was closed for some reason. Oh, bother. I could have walked back to the bluffs (only vehicle traffic was forbidden), but I wasn’t properly equipped for a 10-mile hike – no pack, only a little water (and I’ve done that hike before). So, I decided to hike a little elsewhere – there are a few short roads and trails I want to explore, and since I couldn’t go fly, I went with that. Nothing long or dangerous enough that I’d need my gear.

Anyway, in hiking Sheep Rock, I came to a stand of massive pine trees in a flat, open area that very much reminded me of the aptly-named Pine Island in Florida, where I spent a lot of time growing up. It was uncanny how much this area resembled Florida, almost as if the Universe was trying to tell me something. I’m listening, OK?

Sheep Rock on my maps is a loop. No more. For whatever reason, it’s been broken up into two roads that don’t connect, which I now know because I walked both of them. Not a particular exciting or challenging hike, but it fills in another section of the Master Adventure Map.

Following that, a little driving around on the trails, just to see what there was to see, and to scout some future hiking/flying/biking locations. The little Jeep handled the trails quite well, including pulling off a nice wheel stand on one of the more rugged trails.

Wheel stand!

Wheel stand!

The weekend wasn’t a total loss, though – Saturday, I got in some amazing flying. First, a long hike in and around Edwards Point, which is one of the places I’d really been looking forward to flying.

click for larger, or Endomondo data or Movescount data

click for larger, or Endomondo data or Movescount data

Now, I’ve done Edwards Point before – in fact, one of the best hikes I ever went on was here on a foggy day years ago. Another time, I got caught in a wildfire, and had to take the long, long way back around to the trailhead. So, to make this one different, after the fully-loaded 2.5-mile hike in (and flying!), I decided to follow one of the Jeep trails to see where it led (in the hopes I could bring the Jeep down here some day). Eventually, my map and compass indicated that I wasn’t going to meet back up with the trail as I hoped, so I decided to really challenge myself, and go off-trail. Basically, just going through the woods in the direction of the trail I wanted to intersect with. Clearly, I was able to find my way out, but it was tough. My legs are cut to ribbons from the thorns, and my path took me to a point about 200 feet above the trail, with no clear route down. So, I had to follow the ridge for a little ways, then actually climb down the ridge – with no ropes or climbing gear – to get back on the trail. An awesome challenge – but my legs are shredded.


But the flying was worth it! Unfortunately, there were some campers on the Point, so I didn’t exactly get to do the flying I wanted to, but I got some good footage, nonetheless. Equally sad, there was trash everywhere. I’m going to go back in a few weeks and try again, and take trash bags to clean up the mess. That area should be pristine, not littered with empty beer cans from the locals. C’mon, people – don’t be dicks.

That wasn’t all, though. After Edwards Point, I decided to head to nearby Falling Water Falls. You’ll recall that the last time I was there (on my bike), I did one of the stupidest things I’ve ever done on a trail, and I’m still surprised I didn’t end up all dead. And all in the interest of some good photos. Not this time – this time, because I was going to fly, there was no need to hang over the side. And footage – just wow. It speaks for itself.


I want to go back and fly more here. When I dropped down in front of the waterfall, I lost the GPS signal, which kinda freaked me out (the prospect of my super-expensive toy flying into the falls and crashing to the rocks below, y’know). So, in my excitement and/or nervousness, my cinematography wasn’t that great. Now that I know what to expect, I can plan it out better when I return. Plus, I saw people far up above the falls; therefore, there must be a trail there, which I intend to find.

There’s been other stuff going on, as well. Another trip to Huntsville (but no hiking; weather), a great flight at Snooper’s Rock, and I’m crushing my numbers on the Fitbit. As of now, I’m at 49.5 million steps, so it looks like I’ll hit my goal of 50 million by my 5-year anniversary in June. I’m also in the home stretch on the Apple Watch; less than 100 days to go to hit 1000 consecutive days hitting my goals. I also scouted Enterprise South and Bauxite for mountain biking, and took a trip to Cleveland to walk the greenway. I got the dashcam hardwired into the Jeep (and it’s amazing), and hopefully, I’ll be getting the motorbike out of the shop this week. I guess it’s going to be a busy summer – watch this space.


Link:
Edwards Point Photo Album on Facebook
ESNP, Bauxite & Cleveland Photo Album on Facebook