Monday, October 25, 2010

Our Hiking Experience

You know the line in The Wizard of Oz...Lions, and Tigers, and Bears Oh My! Well our story kind of goes like this....Lions, and Turkeys, and Coyotes, Oh My!

 Now, that I am finally getting back to posting about our Weekend Mountain Trip, I can tell you all the story that I promised to tell you.

After we had gotten off of the Blue Ridge Parkway and started to head back down the mountains, we turned in the first pull off that we found. There was a large group of hikers heading into the woods so I thought this would be a great place for us to go hiking. The hikers went one way we went the other way. Josiah started leading us through the woods, followed by the girls, Joel was in front of me (as seen in the picture above), and Karlton and Jordan were behind me a little way back. Josiah was leading us to a waterfall that we could here. But after hiking a few minutes we could not hear the waterfall anymore. I assured him that we would find water if we kept going. After about 10-15 minutes into our hike, Josiah came blowing by me with a panicked look on his face! I asked him what was wrong, but he kept running. Once we stopped  I finally got him to tell me that something had run across the trail in front of him, but he did not know what it was. I asked him if it was black and he said no. We had been talking about bears since we had arrived in the mountains, so bears were on all of our minds. ;0) I said it was probably a deer and I started to lead. The rest of our time hiking in I could hear something walking to the right of us. I kept stopping everyone to listen from time to time.

Then we found a  waterfall that was almost dried up to explore for a little while and totally forgot about animals. We had fun climbing up and down the steep slippery rocks.

We hiked a little longer.... until Jordan started whining about being hungry and then that is all I heard from him for the next 30-40 minutes. So we turned around and started back to our car. What a tough hiker huh!? lol....

Josiah and I decided first, we wanted to go down the mountain some more to get a better view of our waterfall... We left everyone at the top of the mountain and started to make our way down....... a really steep.......slope! We did get a little better view but decided it was time to get back to the others. Boy was that a workout!!! We were both worn out after Climbing back up! Once we got back tot the top everyone was sitting down waiting for us. Once agian we headed for the car.

 Jordan was leading the hike this time holding Sara Ava's hand, he was hungry and wanted to make sure we were going to the car this time! Karlton and I were in the back... All of a sudden something BIG and Loud flew out (at our feet) at us and scared the Crap out of Karlton and I. The kids said it sounded like a growl but it was the wings flapping. I was in front of Kartlon and I let out a scream and jumped and he had a large stick in hand ready to fight!!! Lol!!! I went over to hug him because I was so legs were about to give way. Our hearts were pounding so hard they were about to beat out of our chest. I don't know if it was a turkey or what, but the bird was on the ground and we just about stepped on it. After we were able to walk again we started to finish our hike.... About 2 minutes later Sara Ava came dragging Jordan past us tell everyone to "RUN!" She was crying and shaking.... I was trying to get a grip of what was going on and Jordan's face was priceless.... He was scared out of his wits and he didn't even see anything. (He told me later that he didn't need to see anything because he believed what ever Sara Ava saw was pretty bad. He said she was shaking so hard and pulling on him telling him to run, so he just followed.) Poor baby was begging us again,  " EVERYONE PLEASE RUN!" She was trying to get us to run the opposite direction of where we were heading. I asked her if it was a bear and she shook her head no. I asked her if it black and she shook her head no. I asked her what it was and she could not talk. So finally I said," show mommy where it is", and she pointed.  I told her I didn't see anything. She said "it moved" and pointed again. This time I saw it's chest. I told Karlton there was a bear! It was reddish brown. Like I said,  I only could see the chest and it was pretty big. I knew bears were not brown in that area, but I could not get my mind to wrap around what it was. I asked Karlton what to do. should we run or stand still. The standing still was all I could do at that moment. I said I didn't think we should run, because we would be come a chase. So Karlton got in front of us to protect us with his big stick. I put Lilee on my back and Jordan had Sara Ava on his, Karlton had Joel. Then I saw the animal walking parallel ....following us. I saw its legs this time. Lilee kept saying "I don't think its a bear mommy" ,and Sara Ava said "Do we have tigers in the mountains?" I told her we did not. Then she said it looks like a girl Tiger but with out the hair around the neck. I asked her if she meant a Lion. She shook her head yes. Then it hit me.... a Mountain Lion. I just had no idea they got that big. Then she pointed to Joel's shirt and said, " it looks like that mommy but brown". He had his Carolina Panther shirt on. After what felt like an hour we finally got out of the woods and back to our car. Sara Ava was still crying when we put her in the car. She told me it was laying ( in a crouch) on the ground and was licking its lips. Nice huh!!! I think It wanted her for a snack but there were so many of us it didn't know what to do. My Poor baby came face to face with a BIG Mountain Lion.

 Then we pulled over to eat and hike to another waterfall. But.... Sara Ava would not get out of the car! I assured her that  the Mountain Lion was miles away and that we would be fine because there were other people at this stop. After 20 min. Karlton finally got her out of the car to join us in our next hike to another waterfall.

(I did not take this picture of this ML, I found it on the internet.) This is what we saw. Except ours was the darker color on his neck and back. When Sara Ava saw this picture she said,"that is what I saw! ";0) Trust me people this was a Big Cat! They can get up to 260 lbs.

If we would have known these things were around and went to look for one we would have never seen one in a million years. But we had no idea there were ML in the NC mountains. But they are there! After I googled them I found many stories about them being in that area and people seeing them all the time on interstate near Asheville. (Near where we were.)

I would say it was a cool experience but that was to close for my comfort, especially w/ 5 kids. If it were me and Karlton I would have tried to take pictures of it. I was told they circle you (which that is what it was doing), and that the NC people call them Panthers!

 If it were not for Sara Ava seeing it who knows what would have happened!

Oh BTW....We saw 3 Turkey's up on a hillside when we were trying to find an apple orchard, and  there were coyotes howling beside us on a hill where we were staying at. We had made a fire to roast Hot Dogs and Marsh mellows. It was really cold and windy so when the girls where finished eating I took them inside. Then Joel, and Jordan came in later. Karlton and Josiah were the only ones left out side when Josiah came flying through the house saying, "Mom, there are wolves howling outside! Come listen to them." I told him there were not wolves around there but Coyotes. Karlton said  that he was in the middle of telling a story when they started howling and as soon as Josiah heard them he was out if there! ;0)

Come to find out there are Wolves around there but that they have lots of Coyotes, and the Coyotes get the chickens of where we were staying all the time.  Nice huh!


jodi said...

wow scary!!! i'm not an outdoorsy person, that would have scared me out of my wits!!!

Mom (Nana) said...

Kris asked, "Hey Bella, did you
see any Vampires out in the woods?"
We are glad you are all safe!
That's a story the kids will
hand down to their kids.
Love ya'll lots,

The Burleys said...

Oh! My! Word! How scary! Was God looking out for you guys, or what!?

M said...

too scary for me! sounds like you had quite the adventure and one that your kids hope to never have again! glad you are all safe!