Hi all!

I just have to share this story which is funny now but was close to becoming a real nightmare. I met up with my fishing buddy Neal today and we decided to do a hike thru a section of park land where there's no maintained trail. I began my morning with a Banana Nut muffin and a coffee. We managed to get ready for the hike and I immediately felt the effects of one too many muffins. This is also my first fishing trip this year although I've done some hiking this winter.

Anyway, I couldn't do the hill as fast and efficient as my friend. I'm just not in the shape as should be. I looked to the left and noticed a pathway where some fishermen had gone before me. I thought I was going to be a real smarty pant and beat Neal by going where it looked easy instead of crossing the ridge. It went alright for the first twenty minutes or so. I don't really know how this happened but all of a sudden I couldn't find any kind of path or any way back out of there. The ridge was literally straight up and I was tumbling fast. I fell twice and ripped my arm and blood was coming, thirst was setting in and I started to pray to the good Lord above that my Vertigo wouldn't start. Neal was hollering on top of the ridge, come up this way. I told him there's just no way without climbing gear. It's straight up the hill and leaves like a water slide. My feet was hurting, my arm twisted in directions I didn't even know it could. I spotted a gentleman in a canoe who kindly told me you just can't get there from here. LOL. I decided to go back the way I came. The only problem was my shoes was not holding up and it was twice as hard to get back since I was now getting tired.

I got back to my truck exhausted and Neal was gone. I figure he would try to go for help and I waited about twenty minutes. I then decide to drive home to see if I spotted him on the road. Neal had turned around after not finding anyone who could help him and we just missed each other with a few minutes. Anyway, when he got back he noticed my truck was gone so he knew I was out of there.

Moral of the story:

1. Never take a shortcut you are not familiar with.
2. Don't eat too many muffins and get some exercise.
3. Wear proper footwear for the terrain you are in. Not 14 year old worn out hiking boots.
4. Always stay with your party.
5. If you get separated have a back up way of communicating with each other.

I can laugh about this now, but it was a close call today. I knew better and I have never done an error in the Smokies like that before. My wife is going to send me to the dog house for awhile now. In the end everything came out alright. I only managed to screw up my friends fishing day, which I'm sure I'm going to have to live with for a while. Lol.