heartsongs

Weaving my way around Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Gooch Mountain Shelter to Big Cedar Mountain

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Today dawned bright and beautiful, sunny and warm all day.

Looks like he’s hiking in the wrong direction, but really, he just turned around so I could snap the pic. The trail wove gently up and down, with little more than 200-300 feet in elevation gain at any point. My feet were doing well.

One thing I learned today: if I stay too close to another hiker, I would mimic both their pace and where they chose to walk, if there was a choice – to the left of the rock or tree root, or to the right. When I realized I was doing this, I increased the lag between us, and that made a big difference. Since my partner was hiking in boots, and I was hiking in VFFs, his choices weren’t always right for me. There were places where he had to step on the rocks, because his boots wouldn’t fit between, but with my little VFFs, I could tread on the softer earth between the rocks and roots, and save my feet.

They say to hike your own hike, and it turned out this is advice applies in many ways.

Stopped for a rest and to enjoy the view. (Almost two weeks later, I still have a visceral reaction to the photos. My whole body relaxes as I gaze on them yet again.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

It truly was a magnificent time to take a hike. The weather was warm and sunny, no bugs, no snakes, no bears, no spiders, just the stark beauty of the winter woods.

We hiked 5 miles, almost a walk in the park, until day’s end.

We planned to camp on the top of Big Cedar Mountain, rock ledges, a view for miles, promise of both a sunset and a sunrise. I was tired, this was our fourth day out, the longest I’d backpacked. The last part of the this part of trail covers 600 feet of elevation gain in .3 mile – that’s pretty much straight up, with “hand scrabble” in some places. I trudged along, slowly, slowly, stopping to rest every few feet.

-Something else I learned today: some hikers, like Oddbird, just trudge up the hills at a steady pace. I need to sprint a few feet, then stop and rest, and let my heart and lungs catch up with the rest of me. If I do that, I get further, faster than if I try the steady trudge. I enjoyed playing with different approaches, learning what worked for me.

We knew storms were coming in, and were pushing a bit at the end of the day. I was getting tired, and the top of Big Cedar Mountain was looking further away with each step!

When we were so close we could see the top, Oddbird took off like a kid who sees a candy store down the block. I was content to keep on keeping on, up and up some more, my eyes on the rocks at my feet. Within a few minutes, Oddbird returned without his pack, relieved me of mine, and headed back up the mountain. I slack packed, the last 10 minutes of the day. Even without my pack, it was still a hard climb at the end of a long-for-me day. But Oddbird had a nice surprise waiting at the top. He’d already pitched the tent, and was in the process of heating water for out dinner!

He’d set up camp behind some really huge rocks, to block the wind. We watched the sunset as we ate, then hunkered down in the tent, out of the wind. Slept warm and cozy for 13 hours that night. I was one tired gal!

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Written by wovensongs

February 20, 2012 at 7:25 am

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