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  • Robert Henning

Day 12: Taking a Break at Breaks

Updated: Jun 16, 2022

Hello! This is Robert with a post about our rest day exploring Breaks Interstate Park. As it was a rest day, we awoke to a lazy morning. The quiet morning and our senses of space were undisturbed until 10 AM.

Eventually, we made some breakfast. A few of us played Egyptian Ratscrew, a matching-based card game with a reaction-time mechanic, and a game called Up and Down the River, where you anticipate rounds won. After that, we emptied the contents of our car and began exploring Breaks Interstate Park. We stopped at the visitor center, which had a few exhibits on the park's efforts for preservation and its history connected with a local quarry. As we exited the visitor center with a plan for a hike and a swim, a Yellow-bellied Kingsnake was by the door. Fortunately, that snake was non-venomous, but we were still cautious. We decided on the Geological Hike, which was short enough to accommodate our rest day yet also interesting because it showcased a few of the landscape's features. Following a short detour to snag a few photos with a view of the Virginia-Kentucky border, we started on the hike.

At only 0.35 miles, the Geological Hike was not challenging, though our sore muscles ached through some of the steep portions of the climb. One of the more interesting geological features was a gap between two rocks which was relatively colder than the surrounding air; we also appreciated the respite on a sweltering day.

As we were about to reach the trail's end and turn around, we heard an unmistakable cry: "Help!". We responded and found that a couple in their late 50s had lost the trail and was at risk of dehydration. We gave them some water and returned to the main road together before heading to our swimming location at the Russell Fork River. To visit the river, we made a short trip to Kentucky, our first time in the state. We got dressed and jumped in the refreshingly cool water. We swam to a large rock and rested while discussing brain teasers and ideas before getting out and playing frisbee on the sand. We met a young local boy named Jason when he joined the frisbee toss. Eventually, we had to go, and Jason offered us some food from his family's picnic. After returning to the camp, we made dinner which consisted of sardine fish tacos and a salad; our sardine concoctions are getting increasingly more creative. After dinner, we sat around a campfire and chatted about life. We made S'mores and marveled at our attempts to toast the perfect marshmallow; S'mores, surprisingly enough, have a history dating back to the 1920s.

Like a perfectly roasted marshmallow, this region on the border of Western Virginia and Eastern Kentucky has a timeless charm. And as the campfire's shadows danced on the nearby trees, fireflies traced their arcs as they cycled in and out of bioluminescence. Spokes, too, will end someday to shine again down the road.

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