I try and post every Friday. It’s good practice for me. However, yesterday I was hiking. This is a new activity for me. And it was exciting and chocked full of learning experiences.
So let me begin by saying I didn’t know I was going on a 10 mile hike until I was 2/3 of the way in. But I knew I was hiking Tiger Mountain in Issaquah, WA. In fact, I began on the south side. Which brings me to my first lesson:
After passing the general area of the south enterance trailhead 3 times, I decided to buy a map and ask a local resident. “The trail is not easy to find and not always maintained,” the little old lady down the street warned me. “Be careful and make lots of noise ’cause there are baby cubs and cougars out there and angry protective mamas!”
A quarter mile in, I lost the trail. I’m green at hiking and I was alone and there are wild “I’m not afraid to kill you” animals out there. So I pulled out my compass app and headed back to my car. Searching the map and internet, I decided it was best to start at the NW enterance of High Point Trailhead. There were other vehicals and the enterance/paths were clearly marked. I felt more secure. Time to begin this adventure!
Walking Sticks Are Helpful
I found mine at the base of the trail…it was sort of sticking out of the mud like the sword and the stone. Although, I did not meet Merlin or become a King. But it was magical…err…helpful.
Going up the first three miles was a slow steady pace. It was more vertical than I expected. But the stick helped me keep my pace. Let me make a note by saying my pace is slow to begin with. And sweaty. Not like the many people running past me caring on normal convo without shortness of breath. This is not me. Maybe someday. But certainly not this day.
On down hill adventuring, the stick helped my knees not take so much load bearing. Again, not like the two 60 year old women who flew down the path past me. But none the less, my knees appreciated the extra support.
I also used this magic stick to notify other animals (cougar, cubs and bears oh my) of my presence by tapping on trees and rocks.
And when I was on mile 7 and realised the bridge was out, the magic walking stick sturdied my balance as I crossed the raging river. Okay so it was more like a babbling creek but this is my story and it was raging.
Speaking of water, this brings me to my next lesson.
3 Litres of H2O Will Get Me 6 Miles
So when I decided to take a rest and rub my feet at mile six, I discovered I had run out of water.
Note to self, bring an extra bottle or two. Or go 6 or less miles. Really, be more prepared.
I slowed down my pace so I wouldn’t sweat all my hydration away and looked forward to the gaterade with electrolites that was soaking up the sun rays in my car at the bottom of the hill…4 miles away.
But that’s okay. My thoughts at this point were not really focussed on the dangers of dehydration but rather caring for my feet…which sort of hate me.
Mindfulness Doesn’t Mean Pain Free
So my right foot has arthritis and my left foot cramps from muscle tightness and if not properly stretched feels like I’m walking on a marble. At mile 6 when I discovered my water shortage, my feet began to speak to me also.
I sat down on a log and took off my shoes. That’s when I found the blister. Note to self: bring moleskin and bandaids with you. Not helpful if left in car. I carefully rubbed my feet thanking each of them for doing such a spectacular job. “Please feet, hang in there.”
On the last 4 miles, I walked mindfully. I paid attention to my breathing, the way I moved my hips and legs. And most importantly my feet. Particularly my right foot.
The inflamation of arthritis was incredible, especially the last mile. But by being mindful, I was able to care for while using my body. However, it was not pain free.
Weed Causes Cotton Mouth
I brought some cannabis with me. Just in case. Glad I did. It took the edge off the pain of my feet. But weed causes cotton mouth. No water + cotton mouth = sucking on dried fruit. Which brings me to the next lesson:
Snacks Are Good
I ate a cliff bar before I began. This was both good tasting and gave me the energy to do the first 3 mile hike. I also had trail mix with dried fruit. I snacked on it throughout the desent. I realise now that perhaps I should have had more calories as I was burning them so fast. Healthy calories.
My dietition always tells me “Protein builds muscle. Starch gives energy”. And I know from experience:
Electrolites Are Good For You, Even If Warm
After the last mile or so, I finally made it to the car. I grabbed my warm gaterade and took a swig. And spit it out. Yuk, its warm. But being that I’ve just walked 10 miles, the last 4 without water, I needed to drink it. So I did. And after a few gulps, I didn’t mind it. It even tasted…good.
A Change Of Clothes Would Be Nice
For someone who sweats as much as I do, a change of clothes would have been nice. I was so sticky and it looked like I peed my pants from all the sweat pouring off of me. Meh, I just hiked 10 effin miles…time for a shower!
Trees Are Wise And Very Healing
My favorite part of this hiking experience was hanging out with the trees. I touched them, hugged them, talked to, sang to, and thanked them often. It was hot and muggy. The trees protected me, sheltered me, and allowed me to rest upon. I could tap my magic walking stick on them to let the wild know I was there. They were tall and wise. Trees are magical. I breathe better when I’m surrounded by them. I love trees. And I think, maybe they love me too.
I’m Stronger Than I Think I Am
Remember how I told you I didn’t know I was going for a 10 mile hike? When I reached the first “view point” around mile 3, I pulled out my map and made the decision to explore another trail. I did make the assumption it would be mostly downhill, which of I course I was very wrong. However, it proved to be an endurance test for me. And although it took me all day to complete, I finished. And amazingly, it was a fantastic experience.
My next hike will probably not be 10 miles or for a few days but I am looking forward to the next big adventure!
Have a blessed weekend my friends. Love and hugs to you all!