Friday, June 22, 2007

How [not] to somersault down a mountain

How [not] to somersault down a mountain. . . .
Current mood: sick

This week I had both Tuesday and Wednesday off of work so Mark and I decided to be adventurous. . .or at least finally put to use all the camping gear we have purchased. So Mark planned a hike and we set off towards Love, Virginia to hike the three ridges (which is part of the Appalachian trail).

We left later than intended (maybe my sleepy head fault) and had to stop a couple different places for things (Panera for breakfast. .. . Giant for batteries. .. . Starbucks for brunch). So we did not get to the mountain till 1PM.

As soon as we pulled up it started pouring. So we prepared our packs and changed our shoes under the cover of the Jeep. By the time we were ready to hit the trail the rain had ceased.

Hiking was HARD work but still fun. The up-hill part kills me with the
asthma and of course it kills Mark's knees with all the stopping and
going. On the way up he walked behind me thinking it would motivate me
more to keep pushing through, but getting frustrated every time I
stopped. So it caused some tired, grumpy arguments. I hate the up
part. I really need to remember to get my asthma prescriptions from the doctor, and find a way to not kill myself going up a mountain.. I did use my inhaler . . . two puffs every four hours.

It rained half the way up the mountain. Which broke the heat and felt
nice. When we got to the top the views were BEAUTIFUL. I took lots of
pictures. I can not say that the view alone was worth the pain of going up the mountain. But it was beautiful.

Since I was slower than Mark had anticipated (don't know why, he knows
I am a lousy up mountain hiker) we were running late on time. It was
only like 2 hours from getting dark and we were almost exactly two
hours aways from the flat camping area. We hustled down the mountain.
Which actually I can do very fast. . . even run if it was not so
rocky. At one point I stopped to fix my shoes so Mark went ahead. . .
when I was walking to catch up with him, I saw him sitting on a tree
stump. . . and did not see the loose rock at my feet and fell down. I
hit the ground in a roll (which is what you are suppose to do to not
break anything) and just scrapped up my shin and shoulder a little. Mark thought I was showing off . . ."Look I can not only go fast down this mountain. . . but I can do somersaults down it".

It started getting dark and we started to worry (maybe me more than we) but then we saw the campsite. There was also an outhouse near the campground. . . it made going to the bathroom outside in the woods seem so luxurious. It smelled worse than anything I have ever seen in my life. . . and I also made the mistake of looking down the hole. . . ughh. It may haunt me forever. I think I will fore-go the outhouses in the future. We skipped sleeping by the shelter because there was this one kind of strange guy there so we went down the path to grassy, flat area for tents was. We lit our little stoves and sat down for a dinner of Santa Fe Chicken. For food out of a bag it was pretty good. The rice could of stayed in the hot water for a smidgen longer, but it was still good. . . especially after a 9 mile walk up a mountain. We had three camp stoves, two Mark made and one we bought. We had to boil water for the dinner, so we used the coke can stove first, it lit easily and the flames were big and large but it went out fast. . . then we lit the second one he made out of stuff he bought at the container store. . . it boiled the water in about 7 minutes, then we put it in the sf chicken back and had to wait or 10 minutes (seems like an eternity when you are STARVING). Mark also lit the store bought ($30) stove, and boiled water for coffee it took about 7 minutes to simmer , then it ran out and we put the pot on the homemade stove and finished it off. It tasted like bland hotel coffee but at least it had flavor (tired of drinking plain water).

After dinner, we got everything into the tents and settled down to bed, with fears of bears and psycho murderers on our minds.

About 20 minutes after we retired it started storming and POURING. Luckily the tent Mark..'s mom gave us kept the rain out. Unluckily,since all the vent holes were closed because of rain condensation from our breath all night made the whole inside (us included) of the tent moist, also the rain made the temperature drop. We had not planned on cold weather so it was a very, very cold night.

In the morning, we got up early and fixed a breakfast of Chili before heading off the mountain. I took one HARD tumble on the way down the mountain, luckily I rolled again which saved me from being injured.
In the morning, we got up early and fixed a breakfast of Chili before
heading off the mountain. It was a breakfast for champions. We then packed up our tent and gear. Our bags we much lighter since half of our water supply was gone. Carrying 30 lbs on your back is NOT fun.

We set off down the Mauhar Trail to loop back toward the car. This trail was only partially uphill and the rest down hill. The beauty of this trail is it passes a couple of 40 foot waterfalls. Niiiiice.

We ran into a couple of Appalachian Trail hikers short cutting through the Mauhar Trail. Mark conversed for a few with one of them. The guy had been hiking through for MONTHS. . he was nice but he definitely smelled like he had been hiking for months. Made me aware of the fact that I probably didn't smell so sweet myself.

After loading our packs into the car we went back to the stream for a
quick (and COLD) bath before changing and getting on the road. I had only intended to get my feet wet but my dear sweet boyfriend made sure I got immersed in the water. It was COLD but it felt really. . REALLY good! Then we hid by the shelter of the rocks and changed into some clean clothing. Ahhh it felt nice not to feel so dirty. Plus you could definately see where our packs had been rubbing on our backs wrong. I had a bruise on my waise and red rub marks all on my shoulders from the straps.

It was a HARD hike. I thought I was not going to make it up the
mountain and am not a fan of my asthma. But I used my inhaler (I probably whined a little too much. . . but it does not feel good to not be able to breath). But all in all I enjoyed the trip and the camping experience.

On the way home we stopped at Ponderosa for lunch. It was HORRENDOUS!
Mark thinks that 20 years ago all the Ponderosa's went out of business
and someone just forgot to call this one.

I am sick now with a cold. I am sure it is from camping in the rain. Fun, fun.

Currently reading :
A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail (Official Guides to the Appalachian Trail)
By Bill Bryson
Release date: 12:00 AM


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