This was one of my most crazy adventures. The story is below if you want to read.
I DID WHAT TODAY??
Ok, this will be a little long, but it’s well worth it.
I LOVE Mabry Mill, I have managed to get up there 4-5 times, but never in the winter. Now I know WHY!
I was driving back from Baltimore and decided to see if I could get to the mill, knowing that there was a good bit of snow in the area. I looked online and all it had written for that section of the Blue Ridge was “Advisory”, no details at all. As I drove up to where I would pull onto the BlueRidge the road was still covered in 6-8” of snow, and there was a flashing sign “ROAD CLOSED”. I looked at my GPS and realized I was 2.2 miles from the mill.
I sat there, for at least 5-10 mins, thinking, do I give up, do I try and hike it, or what? There were tracks in the snow, and there was nothing blocking traffic. I knew my van would not make it to the mill without issues, and the last thing I wanted to do was get it stuck in the middle of nowhere with no cell service.
After a few mins, I decided to go for it. 2.2 miles to the mill, then 2.2 back, plus the fact I would be walking through 6-8” of snow, some packed with ice, some just snow. You need to understand something, I am NOT a hiker, I have issues with both knees (arthritis), and I was not 100% sure this was the best idea.
Let's go over some things.
1. I’m in the middle of nowhere
2. I have no cell service
3. No one knows where I am
4. In 10-15 mins I have not seen a single car
5. Its 20 deg
6. It’s a long walk in good weather for me
– longer than I’m used to.
7. It’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses – oh wait that’s from Blues Brothers – lol
So.. I get my camera, my boots, my tripod, gloves, hat, hand warmer, some water, take the one leg of my tripod to use as a walking stick (yep its made that way!), and start out.
The road to the mill is 2.2 miles from where I started, and its full of hills up an down, the ups were hard on the legs, the downs were kind of scary as there was a lot of packed ice patches, and I slide a few times.
After walking forEVER, ok 20 mins, I checked my Fitbit App, and I had walked.. wait for it.. 1.1 miles!
Yeah, I’m old and walk slow, I'm also fat, and that doesn’t help. I stopped for a min, and started to check out some of the prints in the snow, little ones (birds I assumed) then some dear tracks, and even some small paw prints – I guess wolf? Or coyote? Thank you Lord, no Bear prints – but don’t they hibernate?
I started thinking, maybe I should just turn around, pack it in, cut my losses, and head back. There was nothing, no sounds – some wind in the trees, and that’s about it. I started to think, “what if I fell”, “what if there is a bear?” – yeah, I think lots of positive things, when I'm alone in the middle of nowhere on a road where no one is traveling.
BUT, I pushed on, and I made it to the mill, at around 40-45 mins after I left the van. The mill looked awesome, but man there obviously had been a LOT of people walking around. I was in “the zone”, shooting shots I KNOW I wanted to get, To match some of the ones I have at different times of the year.
After 30-45 mins of walking (ok TRUDGING) thru the snow getting shots, I still had not seen a single car or person. At this point, its been almost 2 hrs and I have been 100% alone (well to the best of my knowledge).
Now, I’m tired, been walking in 6-8” of snow for almost 2 hours, non-stop. I really was not looking forward to this trek back. Knowing that the first part was going to be up-hill for at least ¾’s of a mile.
I had said a few prayers on the way there and doubled up on the walk back.
After 20 mins of walking up hill and sliding, my legs were killing me, and I was ready to take a nap. I stopped near the top of another hill and thought I heard something. I took my hood off and listened, and I did hear a noise. It got louder, and then this big old pickup truck came over the hill, and slammed on his breaks to stop right next to me. I was totally shocked. He goes “Do you need a lift?”. I told him “More than you could possibly know”. He tells me he has to make a u-turn, and he would be right back. I continue walking up the hill as he goes down and disappears. After a few mins I was thinking he was just gone, and I had imagined him, and here he comes back up the road. I get in and ask him where he was going. He tells me he saw my van and thought someone might need some help so he wanted to check it out. Isn’t that just amazing? Here I am praying “God send me a ride” and here he is.
I know this is a very long story, But, I am so glad you read it all. Isn’t this awesome! God is with us all the time, sometimes he is just waiting to give us something awesome.
-- If you read the whole thing - please leave me a comment -- thanks!
I am so blessed to be able to capture God’s world. He paints some of the most amazing scenes.