As is our custom, one of us says, “that a way,” and we head out sans map. So this day, we headed out on a nice curvy, wooded trail that goes to one far end of the park. At its end we cross one of the park roads into an area that looks more like the above photo. A trail running competition was finishing up and we met up with with a number of tired, thin, water-bottle clutching people walking and jogging down the trail.
One man slipped down a particularly steep trail as we approached from the other side. I asked if he was okay and I think he mumbled “yes, it’s my 91st mile.” At least that’s what I think he said. When we checked in, the ranger showed us what trail they were on (all of them) and had been competing several days. The park has over 40 miles of trails. So I guess he could have been on his 91st. That’s some brutal miles. The trails can be steep, most are rocky and the steeper trails are littered with large blocks of limestone. (Sorry, I was too busy negotiating them myself to take photos.)
Reaching cross trails, one of us makes a decision, the other follows.
This was our second trip to the same area on a different trail and a decision at this point to head back to the car. My water was almost gone and I was just starting to feel that familiar ache in my thigh.
The walk back was okay, until the last hill. Just on the other side was the car. That’s when the feet started to hurt and the legs weakened. “One step after another” was my mantra and repeated all the way up the hill.
Both of us were astounded to see on the car’s clock it was 3:45 p.m. FIVE HOURS. Felt more like three. But, it was a lot of hills and negotiating the limestone chunks. The drive home was spent discussing the essential oil treatment for our aches. At home the blends I had worked great. A quick figure on the park map and I think we did about 10 miles.
Now, I’m ready to go again.