19 May 2013

Hiking in Shenandoah National Park

Today was a big day.  And you know how I went running for the first time in years on Friday?  It meant I started today's thirteen-mile hike sore. 
Our friend and guide, however, had plenty of trekking poles to spare, so I readily accepted the pair he offered, and away we went.
My mother-in-law was afraid I had taken on so much that once I got back alive, I would never want to go on a big hike again.  Maybe I had neglected to tell her of the time that without any prep I hiked from Hurricane Ridge to the bottom (roughly nine steep miles, if I remember correctly) and then when the evening activity was a four-mile round trip hike to some natural hot springs in the dark, I slipped my blistered and sore feet into my flip flops and that was that?
I (and some biology classmates of mine on the same delightful field trip) was sore for a week.  Could hardly climb even one stair.  (Railings and arms were made for times like these.)
Or maybe I had neglected to tell her about that backpacking trip to Ice Lake (in Oregon's Wallowas), again with no prep but with enough altitude gain for twenty-some switch-backs in six miles or so.  In the dark.  And right back down the next day.  I was sore for more than a week that time.
So she might have been worried I would be intimidated by soreness; I expected soreness and a lot of it.
What I DID fear, though, was something I don't think anyone else did.  I was afraid I would hit my rope's end about half way through, hold everyone up from finishing at anything like a reasonable time, and be a ball of tears.
Of course, I wouldn't feel in the least put out if someone else did that, but I couldn't bear the thought that I might be that person.
Long story short, I put all that out of my mind, got in the car with the others, accidentally left my phone in the car because I forgot I was planning to use it as my camera, and set out with the others. 
Our friend and leader kept a wonderful pace.  We kept moving well.  Every time my "bad" knee felt tired and before I told anybody about it, he stopped for photos, water, or rest, and I simply never felt rushed.  With a nice long lunch break (during which I aired out my feet and put on a clean pair of socks....felt wonderful!), I kept feeling good (if a little sore) through about mile twelve.  Then I felt just about done.  Then before I knew it we were in the parking lot.
I think I'll sleep well tonight.


  1. I'm so glad you went to the park! Very cool nice weather for hiking, even though it was probably not very pretty for sightseeing!

    And congratulations on being able to run again!


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