I first have to say that the title may be a little misleading. We didn't almost die. This year...bear with me...

The air is brisk.

The leaves start to turn.

Your favorite team is eliminated from the post season.

The tall tale signs that fall is here. It's time to pull those old hiking shoes out from the bottom of the closet, blow the dust off them and pack a fresh bottle of Ibuprofen because we're going on the annual fall hike in the Shenandoah mountains.

Before I continue, I should mention this is a long lasting tradition with my brother in law and his old army buddies. This year is only my second time participating in this custom and the anniversary to the time we almost died.

Yeah, we almost died. Seriously.

See! look here. We almost died. This is about 15 miles in. One slip and we're a goner. October 25, 2015

OK, it wasn't that dramatic but it was close. I guess you're wondering what happened and I suppose I'll have to give you a little background on my melodramatic statement. So here it goes, In short our goal was Bear Church Rock. A not so known trail but is an incredible hike to a whimsical view that overlooks the Shenandoah National Park.

Didn't I say that was a helluva view?

Sounds good so far yeah? It seemed so for us too.

So we did our little "Heigh-Ho" routine up the mountain. Made it to the overlook. Soaked in the view. Ate some noms. Then prepared to head back down. We thought we all had it figured out. The map seemed pretty straight forward.

Heigh-Hoing to the point of no return *queue dramatic music*. October 25, 2015

Seemed to be is the key phrase.

Then worked our way, what we thought was the continuation of the trail back to the parking lot.

Wrong... Oh so wrong. Think Donald Trump kind of wrong.

 
This is Donald telling us how wrong we were for thinking we were going the right way.  

This is Donald telling us how wrong we were for thinking we were going the right way.

 

 

I should caveat this by saying Bear Church Rock is estimated to be an 8 mile hike I believe.

8 MILES -- EIGHT MILES!!!!

At the end of this thing we hiked for 20.

 
We did get to run into a neat little cabin (Jones Mountain Cabin) while on our trek. Not creepy at all. October 25, 2015

We did get to run into a neat little cabin (Jones Mountain Cabin) while on our trek. Not creepy at all. October 25, 2015

 

SMH. LOL. FCOL (for crying out loud)

Never mind.

So long story short again, we make a wrong turn down another trail that leaded us away from where we needed and more importantly wanted to go. Causing us to go around the base of the mountain we originally hiked up. Following a river we didn't recognize until we reached a service road to an entry point to another trail that we finally recognized. Problem was the trail marker said the parking lot was 7 miles away.

SEH-VIN. MY-ILES.

Our feet hurt. Our backs hurt. Our minds hurt. Everything. F*#king hurts.

Flash forward 7 miles. Getting into the car. Driving to a German restaurant. Eating delicious jagerschnitzel, washing it down with some refreshing beer.

Another interesting thing we ran into. This giant pile of wood. almost like old sheets of plywood. very strange. October 25, 2015

Another interesting thing we ran into. This giant pile of wood. almost like old sheets of plywood. very strange. October 25, 2015

What were we talking about again? Oh yeah, the annual fall hike.

So this year's hike was Signal Knob trail. a 10 mile, 2230 foot, 4 out of 5 difficulty loop located out in Front Royal, VA. And they weren't lying about the difficulty. Not because the hike was particularly strenuous. I think it had to do with the grape fruit sized rocks lurking beneath the freshly fallen leaves, waiting to send your ankles in directions that are not anatomically recommended.

You see that? that's a really long trail. See the next image for what this trail is made of.

98% of the paths were like this. hope you have flexible ankles.  

98% of the paths were like this. hope you have flexible ankles.

 

Other than my ankles folding like pieces of paper it was a great hike that I can happily say we didn't get lost on. Well there was this little moment in the beginning but that doesn't count. Now, as I'm writing this I'm finding the story from last year's hike is much more exciting than this years. So with that I'll just show you some photos how about that?

insert inappropriately witty name for this location here.

reflecting on the terrible decision it was to climb this rocky mountain

carefully trying not to 1. break our ankles and 2. fall into the abyss

aww

hey look. more rocks.

Yeah. Hold on to that tree buddy.

creepers gonna creep

Here's a photo of flowers. You can pick your jaws off the floor now.

"What the hell were we thinking", as he sits and ponders.

LOL

selfie? pano? you guess.

What better thing to do on your break than to FaceTime the family.

All Smiles now. Wait until those rocks shake the hands of your ankles

Five more miles. yay!

Pack de Back

heading home

you got caught. ha!