Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hiking in Shenandoah National Forest

Wow! Look what post I forgot to finish!!


It only took 3 days. But, after 3 days, the aches and pains from my weekend of hiking are gone.

This past weekend #1 husband and I went with Kelly and Dad Buck on a hiking trip. This was preceded by a week of getting supplies together, no mean feat since we had never been hiking before. We started with boots, neither of us had a good pair. I got a pair of Keens on sale at R.E.I. - go me!

Then it was off to the wilds of West Virginia to borrow from the Ahrens' stash of supplies. We got backpacks (a must for backpacking, don't you know), sleeping bags, a camelbak, and assorted goodies.

Next we went out to Kelly's place to dig through her stuff. She managed to get a loan (thanks Laura!) of a tent (ours was way too huge to consider backpacking with), another sleeping mat, and more assorted goodness. We were all tricked out.

After being re-thinking our location due to heavy rains (wow has it been a wet Spring!), we settled on Shenandoah National Forest in Virginia.

First, I had never been down Skyline Drive. It was phenomenally beautiful. Evidence:

We arrived, after several detours that were totally not my fault, at our trailhead around 2PM on Saturday. Happily (as it turned out), our trail didn't have a spot for camping, it was pure day trip. That meant that we didn't have to haul in all of tents and supplies (that's the happy part), which was essentially water and food.

Our trail went down and down eventually following a creek and running past waterfall after waterfall. So. Lovely.

Of course, since the first half of the trail was down, down, down, it doesn't take a scientist to figure out that the second half was up, up, up. Woof. I thought it was impossible, but I made it.

We got to our campsite, which was huge and packed, and unpacked. Since we weren't hiking in, it was pretty posh. We brought a giant tent which slept 4 adults, 1 dog, all of the hiking gear and a big rubbermaid tub. It was a BIG tent. Kelly made a marvelous supper which was better than I often get from my kitchen.

I slept like I had worked hard that day or something. Woke up with the sun and it was a perfect morning. Nice and cool with the sun very bright. Kelly cooked again and we ate Well.

Wow, my hips are feeling a little achy. I must have really pushed myself.

We set off early on Sunday for our second day of hiking. As we were all kind of whiny, we were planning a shorter hike - this time on the top of a ridge instead of down in a valley. I'm so glad! I saw such different scenery between day one and day two, it was awe inspiring for me.

AND I hiked a part of the Appalachian Trail! There's something I can scratch off of my bucket list.

This was such an amazing view!

We packed it in after lunch on the trail and headed back. I had a definite spring in my step at this point. We were almost done, and I was worn out!

After loading up the truck, I settled in to the back seat with the Bailey's head (that's the dog) on my lap. Kelly drove and drove until she decided that she couldn't drive another mile without custard in her life. She found a likely stand in Front Royal and we got out of the truck. Except I felt like a was going to fall out of the truck.

My hips had seized up in the worst way and I was in some serious pain. Sadly, in defiance of the yummy custard, this pain stayed with me for 3 days! I had a flare up of bursitis in my hips which made me and the baby Jesus weep in the corner. But I worked through it, and thankfully everyone else was content to listen to my moaning without giving me TOO much grief over it.

I'm ready to go out and buy my own equipment now though. The pain was worth it. Hiking was excellent. I loved the company, the scenery, eating food cooked on a fire, sweating, bitching, breathing fresh air.