|Chris at Hungry Mother Lake - right before our ascent up Molly's Knob Trail!|
Once at the top of the knob, the views were breathtakingly beautiful. We settled in for a picnic lunch and about an hour of rest before heading back down the mountain to close out our day's adventure. We never forgot that day and had intended to do it again...this year!
October 22, 2011 - today - I DID go back to Hungry Mother State Park in Marion, VA to trek up to Molly's Knob again. This time - no Chris. Rather, I believe he watched from heaven as his sweet sister, Lisa, joined me on this journey that I still longed to do, in memory of my husband.
It was another perfect day. The day started out with fall crispy cool temperatures, necessitating layers of dress. However, before we were halfway through the hike - the jackets and sweatshirts were GONE! We both giggled with pain. Lisa had never hiked this before and couldn't believe it was as tough as it was. Me? I obviously wasn't in the same top-knotch physical shape I was in four years ago.
This particular hike isn't that long (just about 2 miles including the final Vista Trail), but it's an uphill climb all the way. My calves, my feet, my toes are screaming at me tonight! They'll get over it...they need to toughen up anyway. :-)
We finally - after a few stops to take pictures and talk to people - made it to the top!
We had a quick protein-laden snack - took more pictures and then headed back down the mountain. We both believed the descent was just as tough (in some respects) as the climb up, because it was so steep, and we were trying to keep from falling. I also took time on the hike back down to look for more heart-shaped rocks - similar to the ones that I found at the campsite where Chris took his life. Anything heart-shaped I find in nature when I'm focusing on doing something that relates to Chris - I consider a kiss from heaven. I looked and looked but only found this stone. It sort of has a heart-shaped look to it, but it wasn't as defined as the one I found a few months back. But, I picked it up anyway...just in case...
Just as we were nearing the finish line...the last 10 feet of the trail...I did the unexpected. Yes. I. Did. I rolled and sprained my ankle! I was so frustrated with myself but grateful that it didn't happen until the end. I could still walk, so it wasn't that bad of a sprain. But, it hurt so badly that I simply had to stop for a moment to "re-group". As I was bent over looking at my ankle...I saw it. And, I knew...it was for me...another kiss from heaven. This time inside of a hickory nut. And to think...without the sprain to get my attention...I never would have even noticed.