Saturday, July 2, 2011

Vacation Part 2: Hiking in the Smokies

Our hike, oh our hike. I had a love hate relationship with it. It was amazingly beautiful, challenging, and left me with a sense of accomplishment. However, it was 9 hours of climbing up and down, up and down. When we were finished I could. not. move.  I thought I was somewhat physically prepared before we left but I wasn't prepared for the toll going DOWN steep hills does to your joints. And the fact of simply "being" on your feet for 9 hours is pretty daunting by itself.

Our first clue to not go on this adventure was the mere fact the ranger warned us over and over again about the bears. I mean, he kept telling us to put all food away at night but we didn't think they'd actually be a problem. Well, as we were walking to the trail from the site, the ranger decided to tell us about the bear who had devoured a tent at the camp ground the night before.  Luckily, no one was in the tent and their guess was it smelled like beef jerky but still, a bear was dangerously close to us.  He assured us not to worry and just make a lot of noise as we're walking.  I put change in a metal cup and shortly became very annoying to my lovely husband.  About 3 hours in, I started to annoy myself and put the cup in my backpack.  I felt relaxed about the bears at that point, or just tired, whichever. 
The route going up was steep.  We climbed the mountain at a pretty fast rate and made it to the top by lunch time.  We had packed our lunch and found a nice spot at the top by an old fire tower to sit and eat.  After resting a bit and taking about a thousand pictures of the beautiful land, we felt refreshed and ready to head down the mountain.  We had a choice.  We could go back the same steep 5.5 miles we came or we could take a different route that was 10 miles but looked easier.  Since we felt so good and accomplished and didn't have anything else planned for the day, we thought, why not take the longer more leisurely path. Ha. SERIOUSLY?  It might have been a more gradual climb but still a terrible mix of up and down, up and down.  By mile 7 we were dead but had to keep pushing, we were afraid of loosing daylight and then the bears would come out to eat us. :)

Once we were so close to the campsite, we saw some really amazing waterfalls and scenery.  Now I wish we would have taken pictures, however, there was no way I could muster the energy to do so.  There was no, "I'll be sore tomorrow."  We were already sore and knew that tomorrow would be 10 times worse.
Looking back...I wouldn't trade that time with Jarrod for anything and it's pretty cool to say I've hike on the Appalachian Trail

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