Sunday, July 10, 2011
Ten miles in seven hours ... .
Have to say ... I love the search window here. I typed in "trail". A hike on the Apalachian Trail has been on my mind for a long time now. We have spent two days hiking now. I do like it quite a bit. Yesterday, I wondered how many days it would take to "ease" in to the trail. By that I mean, leave the day to day concerns of life behind, and just put one foot in front of the other ... noticing the trail ... listening to the breeze ruffling the canopy ... . Yesterday I walked with my husband for seven hours. I wonder how seven days of that ... a week ... where could we walk to in a week. That's what this Trail fantasy is about. Out there ... there are no distraction ... well, 'cept for the jets ... we were hiking hidden in the trees under the departure path for ATL.
It was really hot yesterday ... and humid. You can see the moisture suspended in the air. I sweated the entire first half of the ten mile hike ... up and down over loose rocks ... huge boulders ... tree roots peeking up everywhere ... and several stream crossings (a couple were bridges with handrails ... Some where hop-scotch style rocks laying in the gently undulating stream, inviting me to dip my hands in to the clear cold water ... really good ... a couple were just logs secured inviting broken bones I thought). The trail was labeled strenuous ... average time to cover one 4.5 mile stretch was three hours. Sissy time I thought. I figured it would be no problem for me. My husband was awesome about stopping along the way ... I am still a city girl and I need to take a picture of every little thing. There are a lot of little things I've never seen before out in the woods. I love the variety of green ... moss is so artful ... really ... and the browns and golds and rusty orange brushed here and there ... it was almost total immersion because we seldom caught a glimpse of the sky. At about hour five of the seven hour hike, the skin on my ankles and calves was burning ... Like fire ant stings burning ... I sat down on a fallen tree trunk and pulled up my cute lightweight Columbia cargo pants leg ... omg ... now the other leg ... yep ... same problem. It looks sort of like a full blown poison ivy rash ... blotchy ... red ... swollen. I've never seen anything like it before. I noticed that I had stopped sweating ... And I noticed that I was really hot ... And when I ducked under a tree which was laying across the path, I noticed I felt a little light headed ... I noticed that my heart would suddenly just be racing ... I started wondering how much farther ... not the whole time, but a few times during the last two hours of the hike. I was so glad when the cicadas started singing ... sweet ... And I was hoping for fire flies, but we never saw any. I don't know what my favorite thing to see was ... It was beautiful in there ... almost magical sometimes ... . I saw some velvety black winged dragonflies with luminescent thorax. They were beautiful.
I saw some bright red capped mushrooms ... sunlight sparkling crystal clear water and pyrite shimmering flashes of gold back up in to the trees. Birds sang. I thought about the silken hammocks we had looked at during an early morning stop along the way. I would like to sleep out there very much. I wonder if I will be afraid or just too worn out to fret.
Today my legs look horrible. I think this is a heat rash ... In a minute I'll start looking for some information about this. My husband had me google heat stroke on our drive home. We stopped at Taco Bell ... I love that blue Mountain Dew. As soon as I started sipping it I felt unpleasant waves ... like chills ... sweeping over me ... and a headache. I drank all the water in my camelback on the trail ... I was well hydrated ... my muscles weren't tired . ... they don't bother me at all today either. The symptoms do sound heat related. I think I shoulda worn shorts and hiking sandals ... all of the heat rash is from my waist down.
That's what I'm supposed to figure out this week. Next Saturday we're going to hike a different section. Next hike at least a couple of our kids are going to go with us ... That will be a totally different kind of hike.
“The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh