Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Lost Blog Entry: McAfee Knob

This past weekend was the FINAL EVENT OF THE CYSTIC FIBROSIS FOUNDATION’S XTREME HIKE, a 28(ish) mile hike in Dolly Sods, West Virginia.  The night before the big hike, I pulled up to the hotel and my fan club was waiting in the lobby.  There was an angry mob (of extremely nice people) who wanted to know where my McAfee Knob Hike blog entry was. With my rigorous work and workout schedule, I totally forgot to hit PUBLISH on the entry I wrote a few weeks ago.  This may be a little dated, but here’s the raw unedited post I forgot to publish…

Two years ago, the McAfee Knob hike was our final practice hike before the final 31-mile hike at Massanutten.  At the time, I wrote a blog post that described the beauty and wonders of this trail, and believe it or not, the trail looked exactly the same—except, this time we bypassed the Bizarro AT.
Part 1 of 3: 31miles.blogspot.com/2013/09/final-practice-hike-mcafee-knob-part-1.html

Just another sunrise at McAfee Knob

Proof that I witnessed that sunrise
Taking a break atop Tinker Cliffs

The weather was a perfect 10 on this hike.  I’m not very superstitious, but I really think the streak of beautiful hiking weather we’ve had is a precursor to an amazing weekend in Dolly Sods.  Even though McAfee’s views are some of the most spectacular in Virginia, I’ve been promised the views from Dolly Sods are amongst the most beautiful on the East Coast.  I can’t wait to experience the panoramic 360-degree views from the Dolly Sods plateau.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…I still had to complete the 20(ish) mile hike from McAfee Knob to Hay Rock.

When I signed up for this Xtreme Hike, I had TWO goals:
  1. Raise over $2,500 in donations.  (I’m close and my prediction is that I’ll raise $2,750)
  2. Finish the final hike without fighting Corey to stay on the trail.  For two years, I’ve thought about the final 10 miles at Massanutten, when I hiked into a smoke-filled Aid Station and Corey considered pulling me from the course because of my slow pace.  I finished the 31 miles, but I wasn’t going to put myself through that situation again.  I spent all summer working on my pace, pushing myself to new limits—and training myself to believe in my abilities.

The final practice hike was a chance to gauge where I was mentally and physically—and in short, I KICKED SOME SERIOUS ASS.  I wasn’t just walking fast, I was freakin’ RUNNING the trails with Amy M, Martina, and Jerrod—and it felt amazing.  Trail running always looked like an accident waiting to happen, but somehow I managed not to roll an ankle.

We left behind scorched earth

I texted Di a few times to brag about my pace, and periodically received responses asking where I was on the trail.  The last time Di and I hiked this trail, we finished around 3:30—and I was on pace for finishing TWO HOURS earlier.  I couldn’t wait to cross the finish at 1:30 and tell her where I was on the trail.

As I emerged from the woods, I pulled out my phone to text her, and a little arms grabbed onto my leg like something from the Walking Dead.  I tried shaking it off, but it attached itself tighter.  I looked down and wondered, “Where did this zombie come from?!”  It didn’t occur to me that it was MY child, until I saw Di behind the bushes.  I had NO idea they were going to surprise me at the finish, and I felt bad that I didn’t greet my own daughter with more enthusiasm.  My brain just wasn’t working. 
My little Zombie

I don’t want to give the impression that I was some sort of Hiking God out there that weekend…EVERYONE KICKED ASS and finished faster than 2 years ago.

Amy M ran the damn trail and finished 8(ish) hours before us- - and I think she actually hiked 38 Amy Miles.

Jared and I had finished near the back of the pack at Three Ridges, and I found him running past me with Amy.  Once he gets on that plateau at Dolly Sods, I bet he’s going to break into a sprint.

Martina was another runner who destroyed this trail.  I bet she would’ve been even faster with Roxy pacing her.

Edwige and Fred came bouncing from the trail like it was no big deal. Unfortunately, Tracey was still suffering from the effects of a nasty fall at Three Ridges and had to cut her hike short—but I guarantee she’ll be ready to kick ass at Dolly Sods.

Edwige and Fred laughing about how awesome they are

Amy B, Bob, Gene, and Sharon all finished the trail a few moments later—and I’m thinking they’re going to have an awesome day on the trail in a few weeks. 

And of course there’s Rob—who I thought was a guide the whole day.  I didn't see much of him, because I thought he was too busy doing crap for Corey.

Who's ready for some skiing?

Oh Dana Marie, what are we going to do with you??!  A couple of wrong turns, and all of sudden she’s hiking an additional 5 miles.  Also, she’s really not afraid to bring a giant 200-lb pack onto the trail for a day-long hike.  She’ll tell you that she has food, survival supplies, and tape (flashback to year 1: Dana Marie taped up everyone’s feet during this hike AND the final hike in the middle of the pitch black night-- and saved us all from blisters).  Personally, I think she's a badass for being able to hike 20-miles with that pack strapped to her. I’m going to make two bold predictions about the final hike: Dana Marie isn’t going to get lost (or lead us off a cliff in the dark) AND she’s going to bring a smaller pack. We’ll see.

And speaking of badasses, let’s talk about Josh.  One of the big reasons I’m hiking is because of Josh and others who have cystic fibrosis.   Want to know what's humbling? Try watching a guy with cystic fibrosis CRUSH a 20(ish) mile trail AND do it quicker than a (somewhat) healthy adult did it two years ago.  It was AWESOME to watch Josh, Jamie, and her sister (the Substitute) come out from the woods.  Jamie’s sister is the ‘Substitute’ in case Josh doesn’t think he can finish the final hike—newsflash: Josh is going to FINISH THE FINAL HIKE (unless something stupid happens—like the hike is canceled).

World Class Badass

Also, I want to give a special shot out to Bez and her daughter Michelle.  They were at the finish line with beer and enough pizzas to feed a football team.  We couldn’t hike without the support of volunteers like Bez—she’s done so much for us.  I know she’s planning to volunteer at the aid station on the final hike, and I’ll be sure to smile, thank her for her help, and be nice to her when I pass by!! 

In closing, Positive Scott was back on the trail. I didn’t crush that trail because of my physical fitness—it was my mental fitness. I KNEW a different attitude would make all the difference, and it did. 

This group of hikers aren’t world-class athletes, but they’ve been battle-tested mentally—and they’re TOUGH AS NAILS. Get ready for a ton of badasses, Dolly Sods.

Ready to take on the World

I’m ready for the FINAL HIKE.  My body is in great condition (especially my feet and ankles)  and my mind is in a great place. Nothing is getting in my way now. NOTHING.

In fact, I called Di on my way home and said: I’m going to be the first person to finish the final hike. I’m going to do it. I’m going from worst to first.”   I know it’s not a race, but in my mind I could picture victory.  I imagined Amy M hanging out with Laura chatting about god knows what, instead of running—and I visualized Liam (the Disney Prince) and his wife Tyler going a  little slower to take in REAL views. 

Va Beach folks are used to the views from Mt Trashmore
I KNOW I CAN DO IT.  Nothing can stop me now—unless there's some sort of freak weather event, an injury from a freak mishap, or a bunch of West Virginia hillbillies that chase us away from their hidden mountain meth labs.

Only two more weeks until the Final Hike-- please help support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation by making a donation here: fightcf.cff.org/goto/seaborn

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Three Ridges 2015 (Introducing: Positive Scott)

So yeah.  I’ve received quite a bit of hate mail lately.  

“Where’s your stupid blog, Scott?”

“Hope you break your ankle or something, because there’s no excuse for the delay.” (Almost got your wish…more on this later) 

“I know where you live, Scotty Poo.”  (you’re all talk, Corey…but I’m leaving a case of Jack on the front porch to distract you…just in case).

Relax, people.   
This entry has been extremely difficult to write. As I told Bob on the trail: “It’s easy for me to write about all the bad shit… and there hasn’t been anything bad to write about.  It’s tough to write about the good stuff.”  This entry was going to be a little more challenging to write than ones in the past…and I just needed a little time.

A month (or so) ago, I was about 3 miles into our team training hike at Three Ridges Wilderness and climbing to the first overlook.  As the ascent got a little steeper, Bob asked if I’d written the blog entry in my head yet—assuming the hill’s difficulty level would certainly make the blog .  The entire day hikers asked if certain events were going to ‘make the blog’:

Howabout…the nest of angry wasps in the middle of the trail and the ridiculous route we took to avoid them?

Or…The horseman guarding the canyon’s entrance and warning us of its dangers?
The Knight Who Says Neigh
Or….The hellacious climb out of Harper’s Creek canyon?

Rocks are fun, right? Woo hoo!
Or…. Amy’s Hunger Games and her sociopathic tendencies?

Or….The injuries that several of the hikers incurred during their trek? (Tracey, I hope you’re doing better!!)

Or… The deer that challenged me to a duel (spoiler alert: I won).
Outta my way, deer

Of course I could write an amazing blog entry about all the crap we faced on the trail that day, but I’m not.  Instead, I’m going to describe the transformation I experienced on that trail.  

Anyone who’s read my blog entry about the 2013 Three Ridges training hike knows how much I HATED that hike.  I’d never hiked a trail of that length and difficulty level before…and I did it in the pouring rain, nonetheless.  Three Ridges tore me up from head to toe.  Afterwards, I couldn’t walk for a week.  That hike kicked my ass, but it gave me confidence.  I started to understand that I was capable of accomplishing much more than I thought I could.  On that day I knew that I’d need to push myself further for the 31-mile hike, but I knew I could do it.  That hike was one the most physically demanding things I’d ever done, and even though it sucked…it was rewarding.

This year, the hike was different. Three Ridges was easy.  Well, not walk-in-the-park EASY—but easier than it was a couple of years ago.  It wasn’t easy because I was in better shape. I’m not.  I’m a couple years older, have less time to work-out, and I my BMI is way too high.  Apparently I’m doing something wrong? (hint: everything)

Diagnosis: FAT
So why was it easier this time?  Well, the lack of rain probably helped a lot, but that wasn’t the sole reason.  At the top of the first overlook, Michaela asked how I was doing, and my unfiltered, gut response was: "I’m doing awesome."   Two years ago, my gut response may have been: ‘F@#% off,” and then I would’ve spent the next 5 hours swearing at rocks.
I still hate you, rocks.
I think everyone was expecting a different Scott that weekend (and on this blog), but instead they witnessed the emergence of Positive Scott.  Who is Positive Scott? I’m not sure yet.  He's a little weird, but I like having him around—and I think others do too.

Do I know where he came from?  Not really, he just kinda showed up after our team meeting at the trailhead.  They say positive thinking is contagious, so I probably caught it from the other hikers.  As they introduced themselves and told their stories, Negative Scott just faded away.  On this day, there wasn't a place for him on the trail.  Imagine you’re a hiker with cystic fibrosis, and you have to listen to some dude complain about rocks all day.  Or imagine, you’re a recipient of a double-lung transplant, and some asshole is bitching about a blister on his little toe (for the record, we never hiked together because he RAN the trail with his wife).  Most of the hikers have children suffering from CF—and it’s unfair for them to be stuck on a trail with someone who sees the world as three-quarters empty.  It’s IMPOSSIBLE to view the world that way when you’re hiking alongside someone who’s lost a child to a horrible disease.  All of a sudden, hiking 14 miles doesn’t seem like its worth complaining about.  And the amazing thing about all these hikers….NONE of them seem to hate the world…and they have every right to hate it.  But they don’t.  My challenge isn’t hiking 30 miles.  I can do that.  My challenge is waking up and seeing the world like they do.

My old POV (Three Ridges 2013)
My new POV (Three Ridges 2015)

I want people to know Positive Scott.  I owe it to the other hikers. I owe it to my wife and girls, who model what they see at home.  And I owe it to myself—because I’m stuck with myself 24 hours a day, and I know who I’d rather hang out with.

Cookies for breakfast!?
I kicked Three Ridges ass this year—and it felt great—and my body felt great afterwards.  To paraphrase the great Emmet Brickowski : Everything was awesome.  I didn’t get down on myself or the situation, and it’s amazing how much easier everything became. It may seem like common sense—and it confirms all those times that I’ve heard I lack common sense—but life is a whole lot easier if you don’t allow things to trouble you.

Will the blog suck without Negative Scott? Maybe a little. Hell it took me almost a month to write this entry because it’s a huge challenge to write happy, positive stuff without throwing up.  I could write 18 entries about the little wasp that stung me at the post-hike cookout—after I hiked up a hill at an 85-degree grade to avoid a wasp nest.  It would be super-easy to blog about why I hate wasps (the insects…not the people), but I prefer the challenge of doing what's hard.

If you'd like to donate to Positive Scott's hike and support Cystic Fibrosis research, please click HERE: fightcf.cff.org/goto/seaborn

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


I had promised my loyal readers a Three Ridges post by Friday...but there are more pressing matters to address.

My 28-mile Xtreme hike of Dolly Sods, West Virginia is about to be de-railed by SQUIRREL HUNTERS.

Two years ago, our Xtreme Hike covered 31 miles of Massanutten Mountain on the first day of bear hunting season.  Considering that my eyeballs are the only part of my body without hair, there was probably a slim risk that a bear hunter could mistake me as their potential trophy.  To ensure our safety, we wore fluorescent  orange bibs that bears wouldn't normally wear-- and 100% of the hikers lived.  None of us were shot, or even encountered a hunter.  It was a great day.

Not a Bear

A few days ago, the Xtreme hikers learned that the final hike was being moved from Saturday, September 12 because it's the first day of West Virginia's squirrel hunting season.  The National Board of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation didn't think it would be safe for us to hike during squirrel hunting season. Instead, the hike will be held on SUNDAY, September 13, because it's illegal to hunt rodents on the Lord's Day.  Personally, the new date is presenting some significant logistical challenges-- and Di has had to back out of volunteering at the aide stations.   The entire situation is unfortunate, frustrating, and confusing. The only way I'm able to deal with this SNAFU is to vent on this blog (and to a few CFF employees who accidentally gave me their email).  It's Festivus in August, which means it's time for the Airing of the Grievances.


Grievance #1: There's a season for squirrel hunting?? Shooting squirrels for food seems like a lot of effort, especially for people who would normally scrape them off the asphalt the other nine months of the year.   Imagine how many squirrels it takes to feed a family at Thanksgiving.  There would be a squirrel holocaust to feed one West Virginian adult.   And please don't argue that squirrels are tasty, because they aren't unless you're my grandmother, my dog,  someone lost in the woods and eating them for survival, or the resident Fox News chef: "I'm happy to say I have crossed over and become one of those Americans. Eating squirrel that I've harvested with my own hands, in fact, makes me feel distinctly more American and undoubtedly more human"


Grievance #2: There are people who enjoy hunting squirrels?!  Apparently, there are 1.8 million squirrel hunters in America, which makes me wonder, "How can I get Canadian citizenship?"  At least I can understand why people go after big game.  It's a challenge to hunt large, wild animals (unless you pay a dude $55k to open a zoo gate to let a lion out).  But c'mon... squirrels?!  Where's the thrill in hunting down the most over-populated rodent in suburbia.  It's like going to the beach and hunting sea gulls.  On any given day, there are no fewer than 37 squirrels in my yard, but I've never ever thought of putting on camo and stalking them from my backyard squirrel blind.   

Big Game Hunter

Grievance #3: I AM NOT A DAMN SQUIRREL.  I'm over 4 feet taller than the average squirrel. I weigh 100 times the average weight of a squirrel.  My teeth are not bucked --thanks to six years of orthodontics.  Squirrels have gray hair....shit...just ignore that. They have beady, little black eyes, and mine are a mysterious shade of hazel.  I bite my fingernails, and they have claws. Unless Stevie Wonder is on a squirrel hunting expedition this Fall, there's absolutely no way I'm being mistaken for a squirrel.  (correction: meth heads with rifles could mistake me as a squirrel...assuming there might be a few meth heads with rifles in West Virginia, then the national CFF board could have a valid safety concern).


Not Squirrel!

So  there you have it: My 28-mile hike is in jeopardy because crazy people hunt tree rats and may mistake me for one. America.

The local CFF team is working behind-the-scenes to accommodate us losers who have children and jobs, and I'm going to make my best effort to hike with the rest of the VA Chapter on September 13. No matter what, I'm hiking--I'm just not sure where or when.  Regardless, please support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation by making a donation  : fightcf.cff.org/goto/seaborn

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Elliot Knob Part 2

Okay. So I hiked 15 miles at Three Ridges Wilderness yesterday, and I discovered that my fan club is a little disappointed that I've fallen behind on the blog.  I have a million-and-one excuses that no one wants to hear, so I'm making a public declaration that the Three Ridges Blog Entry will be done by Friday, August 7.  In the meantime, enjoy the continuation of the Hillbilly Hill Hike PLUS an upcoming bonus entry about my hike with Team Cornbread Nation:

So what happened atop Elliot Knob? Who was the person lurking in the tower? What happened to Zed and Maynard? Did I make it out alive!?

NOTHING happened atop Elliot Knob and NO ONE was lurking in the tower.  The hike was so damn boring that I had to invent stuff in my head to keep me entertained.  Some of the hikers may have seen me swinging my hiking poles near the end of the hike...I was having a light-saber duel with weeds to keep my mind off my busted ankle. (spoiler: the weeds won, and my ankle still hurts)

Darth Weedkiller
Once we got to the top of the mountain, we went back down the mountain on the same trail.  The trail may have been boring, but at least I crossed off a couple things on my to-do list:

My daily list

So what about Maynard and Zed? They were real, but we never passed them on the trail.  A couple of weeks later, I learned that the Austin's saw the men walk out of the woods with bags of mushrooms...which could explain why they looked so happy in this picture:

Duuuude, wanna to listen to some Pink Floyd with us?
Zed and Maynard making their getaway!!

In summary: the Elliot Knob hike has a stream, weeds,  gravel roads, and a big ass hill.  Don't even think about doing this hike.  Instead, go to a local construction site and climb a hill of dirt for a few hours.  If you do feel compelled to hike this special trail, bring along an ultra-cool team of hikers to enjoy it with.  Hiking with this crew makes every trail enjoyable:

"We will move mountains for Cystic Fibrosis. If we can't move em, we will climb em!"


After the hike, I stopped at Charlottesville's finest Waffle House to celebrate my good fortune and to wait the return of my children.  The girls spent the night with their grandparents while I was hiking in the mud and rain and Di was watching the Tour de France from the sofa.  Wait, Di is one of the 8 people in America who enjoys televised cycling? No. Of course not. She was enjoying a quiet child-free morning, and didn't want to waste her precious energy and time by looking for the remote control.  There's probably another explanation, but this one's probably the closest to the truth.

While my in-laws were en-route, I sat in my van listening to T-Swift and visualizing how I would kick ass at the next team hike (aka: Three Ridges). This experience led to valuable lesson in automotive maintenance: the radio will drain a car's battery, and if you have a weak battery... the radio will drain a car's battery COMPLETELY.  Duh.

I'm not an expert in batteries or parking
I'm an expert in taking pics while driving (not really).

A few hours later, I  bid farewell to the Waffle House, and returned home with our children. It could've been a much worse situation... I could've been stuck at the base of Hillbilly Hill, waiting for AAA with the future stars of the Discovery Channel's upcoming reality show "The Deadliest Mushroom Hunters."  <cue Deliverance banjos>

Ok... so now that you've heard the story of how we owned that dumb little hill, it's time to do TWO things:

First, go sign the petition that Amy is a nice person: Sign Here

Second, make a donation to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and support research for a cure. Your donation is helping to save the lives of our friends and family.  With 40 days left, I've raised $800 of my $2,500 goal... Donate Here.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Elliott Knob: My Adventures on Hillbilly Hill

For those of you who are new to reading my blog, two things are true: 
1) It takes me a few days (or a week) to write a blog entry.  I have a job and kids, so I have a tendency to fall asleep while writing.
2) I have an incredible sense of a direction, but technology doesn't.

I think I've been lost twice in my life.  The first time: : Torry Ridge 
The second time was on my way to my first training hike at Elliot Knob.  For some idiotic reason, my phone decided to route me to a gun club-- fortunately, Di wasn't with me.  (Do the math: (Gun + Di) x Getting Lost in the Mountains = X)  Unlike the other time I was lost in the mountains, I had cell service and could actually communicate with others about where the trail head was.   Of course, when I met up with Corey we discovered we were at the wrong trail.  Believe it or not, our guide suffers from directional issues as well....how could we forget our hike at McAffee Knob.

Not only did I get lost on the way, but it was raining as if we were in a monsoon.  It may be logical to blame the weathermen for the torrential downpour we were going to hike in, but the truth is that some people blamed ME for the mess.  Apparently, I'm just  a little black rain cloud.

Before going off to conquer the 9-mile trail at Elliott Knob, we introduced ourselves to each other.  Out of the fifteen hikers, half were familiar faces from the first Xtreme Hike.  The other half were new Xtreme Hikers or hikers from last year's event, each with their own incredible story of how they're connected to the CF community.  Hell, one of the new faces is hiking with cystic fibrosis.  Want to know who's going to kick everyone's ass on the final hike? Josh and his wife Jamie.  I know this because A) they kick ass, and B) they just returned from a vacation at Walt Disney World, and I guarantee they walked more miles in the parks than they will in September.

Day-Glo Corey

Oh, and how could I forget the two random dudes who joined us during introductions.  I don't know their names, but I'll call them Maynard and Zed.  I'm not trying to stereotype hillbillies, but when a couple dudes come strolling down a rural road, not wearing rain gear in a heavy downpour and carrying flasks in their jeans...well....let's just say you can hear the banjos play a familiar tune in your head.

Maynard & Zed
The one smoking the cigarette (Zed) finished his drag and asked the group, "Y'all going for a hike or something."  I answered for the group: "No, we're DEA Agents about to bust up a meth lab, know where we can find one?"  Well, that's the answer I wanted to give, but I've read Deliverance*, so I kept my mouth shut and watched them walk into the woods--onto the same trail we were about to hike on.

*If you like outdoors adventures and haven't read Deliverance…don't.

 I know the Xtreme Hike isn't a race, but I don't want to be pulled off the course during the Final Hike-- which is certainly a reality based on my last Xtreme Hike. A couple of years ago, I was a slow hiker.  Today, I'm still a slow hiker, so I wanted to use this hike to work on improving my pace.  The first part of my strategy was to identify the hiker with the highest level of athleticism.  This is why I got behind Roxy, a 7-year old mix-breed.  Also, I thought Roxy could be our best hope for survival if we came across the missing hillbilly hikers.

Roxy, my pace dog

So how was the actual hike?   It's difficult to describe the Eliot Knob trail as a trail.  It's more like two dirt roads connected by a short path through weeds and water.  If I had to call anything "interesting," it would be the weeds and water part.
The first dirt road.

Sure, there were a couple of waterfalls, but nothing scenic enough to stop for.  Maybe I've become a jaded old hiker (or I've always been a jaded old person), but 99% of waterfalls you encounter while hiking can be recreated with a garden hose and a couple of rocks in your backyard. 

Waterfalls are overrated.

 There was a little bit of excitement as we crossed the streams. Most of the hikers dipped their feet in the water unintentionally.  I have to admit, I didn't want to get my feet wet-- despite the fact I was hiking in pouring rain.  If that makes me a sissy, then so be it.  By the end of the hike, nearly everyone was wading through the water, while I was  still tip-toeing across the rocks.   

REAL Xtreme Hikers get their feet wet.

After a few stream crossings, the trail turned into an overgrown mess for about a mile before connecting to the second dirt road.  As we emerged from the jungle,  our group ran into a couple of hikers going the opposite direction-- meaning, they had not encountered meth-head hikers.  I asked how the top of the Knob was, and they told us that they turned around before reaching the summit.  "We're looking for the waterfalls."  Right. Have fun.

The "trail"

Walking on a dirt road doesn't seem XTREME

The next 2 miles were a vertical climb without switch-backs.  The ascent felt like a great workout, but there wasn't a whole lot of excitement on the dirt road.  Roxy kept the pace going up the hill, but the climb was absolutely kicking my ass.  I eased up a little and engaged in brief conversation as other hikers passed me.  I tried keeping up with the group, but intentionally dropped into solo mode when one group started talking about feminine hygiene on the trail.   It's not unusual to talk freely and openly on the trail-- in fact, I once had someone tell me that they enjoyed killing people (bad guys, of course).  

After 4+ miles of terrible trails, you'd think that the views at the top would make the journey worth it, right?

At least I discovered why I was getting such great cell service. That's a bonus.

Oh, and we also discovered the creepiest fire tower ever. If you look closely at the picture, you can see the shadow of a person's body.  Was it Zed? Was it Maynard?
Creepy tower....with an open gate.

Or was it some other axe-wielding psychopath waiting for the next group of campers?

I am not amused.