Monday, July 13, 2009

5, 17, 32, Hike!

I haven't done a lot of hiking in my life. I live in arguably the most beautiful state in the country, but I just haven't done a lot of it. The last one I went on was over a year ago (and maybe a mile. maybe). And I've never been on one alone.

There's a very popular hiking trail that I drive past every time I go to Rockland. I had no idea where it went, how long, or anything, but hiking it made it to my 101 list.

And today was the day.

I put together my pack, got my hiking boots on (don't ask why I have hiking boots if I don't really hike...I have no idea), and drove to the parking area. I figured I'd hike an hour out, and then turn around and come back in.

3 minutes in, I wondered how long it had been since I had taken a real breath. My breathing has fallen into a pattern of being very shallow, which does NOT work well when hiking. Do not try it. I had to work (and actively think about it) to take full, deep breaths, which helped a LONG way in convincing my body that it really didn't need to collapse. How embarrassing to have to turn around so quickly. It was *not* going to happen.

A few minutes after I started giving my body real oxygen, hiking got a lot easier. I really started to enjoy myself. The sounds of traffic died away, and I was just surrounded by trees and rocks and birds in the trees. It was gorgeous, and very relaxing.

The trails on Georges Highland Trail are very well marked and easy to follow. A great deal of the hike (the part where you skirt around Mirror Lake) is pretty easy, but there's enough up-and-down to keep it interesting. Once you started up the mountain on the other side, there were some pretty steep sections that were a little more challenging (or in my case, what-the-fuck-were-you-thinking-when-you-decided-to-do-this-oh-my-god-I-think-I'm-going-to-die level). It looked like this:

But it felt like this:

An hour in, I hadn't quite reached the top, but it was tantalizingly close, and I was damned if I'd done all that steep crap and then bug out without having seen any amazing views. So I trudged on.

I had planned to take a quick water break every fifteen minutes. That worked well the first 45 minutes or so. Then I hit that hell-climb, and it was more like two minutes, rest. Two minutes, swear, rest. Finally I got past that part, and shortly after that, I hit this:

I *almost* stopped there, and in fact did take quite a long rest break, relaxed, recharged. Then I pushed on further, and reached the top (or as near as the path gets to it) and was further rewarded with this:

The climb back down went, of course, much faster, although I was forcibly reminded of the bunions on my toes, and also that I had ripped my knee in Alaska hiking *down* the path. Knee gave some twinges, but it held me up, and amazingly I didn't twist my ankle or really injure myself in any way. I only needed one break, and that was about 45 minutes into the trek back.

Altogether, I was gone 3 hours, and hiked about 5 miles. Not too shabby, thinks I. mk


Anonymous said...

wow, great job. are you sore today?

markira said...

I was a bit sore this morning, but amazingly, I'm mostly recovered. My feet are the big issue, where the bunions were rubbed wrong. I have a blister on one, and tender spots on the others (you know I have bunions on both the big toe and little toe of each foot, right?)

Other than that, I feel really really good! mk

Anonymous said...

yes, I am fully aware of your bunions.

markira said...

I thought you probably were. Poor thing.

Capt. Brenda said...

I'm so proud of you! That is not an easy hike and I have to stop a couple times during that steep spot you have the photo of. I bet right now I'd have a hard time completing the whole trail!