This swimming hole was a stop on what should have been a loop hike traveled mostly on herd paths. The hot weather, CPo’s sore leg, and not following some basic hiking rules thwarted completion of the hike.
After shooting the video, CPo and I continued on, following herd paths onto a sloping rock outcrop. This section of the hike is exposed, and we reached it at the warmest part of the day. Out on the rocks, the sun beating down unfettered, it was hot as fuck. Ostensibly to help guide the way, many cairns have been set on the rock slabs. So many cairns exist that it confounds navigation.
I’ve been to this area before, and it’s always required some searching to find the way. But with the heat and Chris’ bum leg, we decided to turn around. On the return, we exited the rock outcrop prematurely, choosing to bushwhack instead. Big mistake. It’s almost always best to stick to the direction from which you came rather than choosing an unknown route. Our decision had us forcing our way through nearly impenetrable stands of mountain laurel. In the course of .4 miles, my arms and legs were repeatedly stabbed, gouged, and sliced by branches. Eventually we found our way back to the river with the swimming hole. But I was a bloody mess by then. There’s a nice scar on my left leg to serve as a reminder to always think carefully before making decisions in the woods.