- a hard mass formed in the kidneys, typically consisting of insoluble calcium compounds; a renal calculus (i.e. a pebble in the kidney).
In the past 7 years I’ve had 2 kidney stones. The experiences were painful, but they were quick to resolve. My latest stone was less pleasant, a lot more painful, and took forever to pass.
A couple of Christmases ago, my wife and I bought our son a Fisher Price GeoTrax train set. It came with a train, a bunch of tracks, and a 3-piece table. Since then we’ve bought a few expansion packs including a bag of tracks that comes with a trolley.
While the extra tracks provided additional creative value, the trolley was just this car that had to be pushed along the track. Not the best for a kid who wants to make the “biggest train of cars in the entire world.”
So, the other day we were snowed in. My son was playing with his trains in the living room when he started talking to the trolley. Soon after, words turned into screeches. Eventually he picked up his trolley car and brought it over to me saying, “Here, it’s broken. This trolley is broken.”
What he meant was, the trolley didn’t have couplings like the other cars so he couldn’t attach it to the rest of the train of cars. I asked him if he wanted me to “fix it” and he started dancing around the room singing the song of “Yes!”.
My buddy Coop and I have backpacked during the winter months for a few years now. Shining Rock in Western North Carolina, Roan Mountain along the Tennessee-North Carolina border, and most recently Dolly Sods in West Virginia.
We hadn’t traveled north for a winter hike and it’d be a test for us as Dolly Sods is notorious for year-long crazy weather with an average annual snowfall of 55″. As he always does, Coop researched potential routes and in doing so came across White Grass Cross Country Ski Area, a cross country skiing and snowshoeing business in Davis, WV. He emailed Chip, the dude in charge, who kept Coop in the loop about weather and gear (including $15/day snowshoe rental).
Our intent was to park at White Grass and take the Timberline trail to Forest Road 80 where we’d huff it up to 524 Rocky Ridge. From there we’d hang a right at 511 Blackbird Knob camp at the intersection of Blackbird and Upper Red Creek, and then head up to Dobbin where we’d join up with Rocky Ridge and take it back to the car. A fairly straightforward 3 day, 15.5 mile trip. However, thanks to the wintry weather, the actual route we hiked was a wee different.