Monday, October 10, 2011

Camping!


Subtitle: why today is a rest day.

Friday night I went on my first backpacking trip as an adult. As I've said before, I was super duper nervous. I've never had to carry all my supplies for survival for so much as a day. Hell, I get worried if I don't have enough snacks in my purse when I go for a long drive. I did not take any pics of the pack, but it was a not very full at all, standard backpacking backpack. I carried clothing, food, toiletries, water, and assorted 'stuff' like headlamps, GPS, and car keys. Nick had the tent, sleeping bags, blanket, and some more food.

The first day was a long drive, dropping off cars and hiking to the campsite. This was my first time wearing the pack and feeling the weight... yikes. We were on top of a ridge line the first night so we couldn't replenish water until the next day, so all the water bottles were filled up. The hike to the site was less than 1 mile, but I had tired legs from the longish run the day before and it was UPHILL. Mucho uphill. I was a little scared at this point that I was sweating and panting just from that little bit of hiking... I was convinced I was never going to make the next 2 days of >7 mile hikes. We settled in for the night and enjoyed the beautiful clear sky and chilliness. Sleep was terrible. I'm a pretty big wuss about sleeping, so being cold + weird location + hard ground + weird noises meant I slept poorly. But I survived.

Saturday was the first day of real hiking. We got on the trail at 8am. It was around ( I think ) 2.5 uphill miles followed by TONS of downhill switchbacks. Those were tough on my legs and tough mentally because I was pretty stressed about twisting my ankle and being incapacitated for the marathon. The group I was with was more experienced than I was and I was also worried about being the slow poke in the back, slowing everyone down. That was not the case (I don't think). We made incredibly good time and were at our campsite by 1:30! Uh... what to do with 5.5 hours of sunlight? We were in a beautiful valley with a considerable stream running through it. Nick and I chose a substantial pool and 'bathed.' It was the chilliest, least cleansing bath ever, but it did the trick and we smelled and felt much better afterward. I ate a dehydrated meal for dinner because Nick knew even with my resistance to what I considered creepy dehydrated food, the lure of a warm dinner was too much for me to resist. I had this and it was DELICIOUS. It tasted like actual food, had real chunks of veggies in it, and had a fair ingredients list. It also had a ton of protein without a ton of calories. There was a lot of relaxing, some water filtering, and bear bag hanging (who knew it was so difficult) before a MUCH more restful night of sleep.

Sunday... the end was in sight. I was pretty sore first thing in the morning, and a chilly start did not help. We got on the trail again and hiked downhill MORE. I was irritated because I felt like every downhill step was a step in the wrong direction after Saturday's long descent. We had >1000 feet of elevation to regain on Sunday, why oh why were we going downhill!?! I quickly regretted not relishing the downhill, as it turned quickly into some mild rock climbing. We weren't anywhere near vertical, but it was incredibly steep, technically challenging terrain. I hurt! My calves were tight and my IT band was aching. My pack felt like it was 100 pounds (it was probably around 35). I just wanted. to. be. done. We covered the ground pretty quickly and the last bit of hiking retraced the first 0.8 from Saturday (downhill became tiring uphill) plus the 0.8 miles from Friday night (uphill became downhill! so nice!). I have never been so happy to hear cars on the roadway.

We changed clothes, went to Subway and Starbucks (civilization!) and headed home. After the best shower of my life, I had excellent Thai dinner with Nick and slept like a rock. I would definitely backpack again, although I think 'car camping' and hiking during the day sounds a little more appealing. When we went for little treks without packs on our backs I definitely enjoyed myself more than when I was carrying all that extra weight.

This morning my legs hate me a little, so I might do a low impact On Demand workout when I get home after class, or might just call it a rest day... tomorrow is 20 miles! AH!

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