Making banana bread wasn't my only adventure two (Or is it now three? I've lost count.) weekends ago. After leaving a cryptic comment on my entry about exploring the Ross Marble Quarry and seeing the giant Alex Haley, Elizabeth finally convinced Kristin and I to go with her, Ben, and William on a mysterious hike to a secret destination.
I say "mysterious" because this is what she told us to prepare us:
1) Bring strong flashlights. You'll need them, even during the day.
2) It's nearby, but most people don't know about it.
3) "Sometimes people go there to commit suicide."
Wait, what was that last one?
"You know, sometimes people go there and kill themselves. But it's totally safe!"
OK, see, I've seen The Descent, and I don't want to die in that movie. (What movie do I want to die in? I dunno, but I prefer that it's one where Tom Welling and I spend the first half making out pretty much the whole time. And clean shaven Tom, not that mess he turns into between seasons.)
"You're not going to die! It'll be fun!"
Yeah, the chicks in "The Descent" thought they were going to have fun, too, and you saw how well that worked out. Still, I picked up Kristin, we drove the Elizabeth and Ben's, and then the five of us piled into their truck and drove to Keller Ridge in nearby West Knoxville. Sure enough, neither Kristin nor I had heard of it, and when we pulled to get onto the hiking trail I realized that we were in a totally different movie:
Abandoned, gated road leading off into the middle of the forest? Great. Now we're going to die in Silent Hill instead. You might think I'm exaggerating, but look:
Plant William alone and vulnerable in the middle of the shot, change it to black and white, and tweak the contrast so all the shadows are darker, and suddenly the forest is totally menacing.
Regardless, we followed Elizabeth into the woods anyway, because that's what you do in those movies.
I figured a couple of fun "along the trail" photos would add a certain poignancy to our demise when the searchers found my camera buried under the corner of the Blair Witch's cabin. After several minutes of uphill climbing we burst through the trees into a gorgeous view of Fort Loudon Lake:
It was a gorgeous day to be out there, but what's hard to see in the pictures is that once we reached the lake, the path pretty much clings to the ridge. If you slip, it's a long, long drop, a point Elizabeth emphasized when we reached the part where people climb onto the rock ledge and then jump off and kill themselves:
It will surprise no one, I'm sure, to hear that I did not climb down there. I'm bad with heights and a little clumsy, and there's really nothing down on the suicide ledge that I need.
Likewise, there was nothing in the cave, a little further down the trail, that I needed, either. Clearly, it was safe, since Elizabeth, Kristin, and William went inside and didn't die:
but when I got to the entrance and crouched down to peer inside my little danger voice said, "Don't. Don't go in, ok?" so I didn't. I think Elizabeth was disappointed, but I really did enjoy the trip and the hike. I'm not totally afraid of new things. I try new food and walk down creepy alleys and drive to places I can barely find on a whim, but when my little danger voice says things like, "Get out of this deserted cemetary right now" or "Don't go any further into that abandoned asylum, ok?" I listen without question, because it's never steered me astray.
And I still had a good time even without going into the Cujo bat cave.