Friday, January 27, 2017

Inadvertent Training Hike (three)

I have contacts. the eyeball kind.  I rarely wear them because I can not be trusted to get small things into my face and then back out again with any sort of regularity.  Well...spoons.  But contacts are hard.  They go in a certain way, they are different prescriptions, they, hmmm.  I don't have a third point, I mainly have my first point which is, I can't be trusted.

I decided today, at 4;45 in the morning, to wear a pair.  I put them both in the same eye, then put them in the wrong eye and left them there.  Then I got dressed, got my gear outside, went to feed the cats and loaded the van for a hike.  Then I drove to Chattanooga where I had to stop and buy THINGS I ALREADY OWN because I left them at home when I set them down outside to go feed the cats and then never picked them up again.

Then I drove to the Upper Leggett Trailhead to meet a group of women who did not even bother to wait 10 minutes for me and had already hoofed it down the trail.  So.  I switched eyeballs (after driving 140 miles, turns out having your prescription off by .25 in each eye can REALLY make a difference in your general abilities) and got my stuff together and headed down the trail, too.   I had no map as I was joining a group, so I stopped at the kiosk and discovered I was on something called the Rock Creek Loop, which is about half Cumberland Trail and half it's own thing.

I don't normally drive 140 miles one way to hike, but I am getting desperate for some hiking buddies. Or, was anyway.  And it seemed a good enough reason to check out the trail, which I have wanted to for a couple years now.  At this point in time, I think I may just hike by myself more and forget trying to coordinate every time, it's not working out for me!

Anyway, Rock Creek Loop is gorgeous!

I started at the tiny parking area at the top, headed off to the left to actually get to the trail, then turned right into the woods and stopped at the kiosk to take a couple pictures of the map and info, then headed off to walk Rock Creek loop.  I took the first right onto the loop instead of going straight. This turned out to be for the best because I think the way I came out was much easier as far as climbing.  Same elevation change, but a more prolonged climb as opposed to rock stairs.

I really enjoyed being on my own because for the first bit of the hike, I didn't have my stuff the way I wanted it and I ended up getting REALLY cold, I guess from riding the previous 3 hours with the heat on.  I had to stop and fiddle 2-3 times, couldn't find my gloves, then pulled out most of my gear to look, got about 15 feet and decided I wanted my coat as well...that sort of thing.  The kind of thing I would not do if I were with other people because I don't want to hold up everyone.

The really good news of the whole day is that my feet were fine.  I had taped both heels with a little strip of that padded tape from Nextgard.  My left foot (the one wit the worst blister last time) was a little tender, but unharmed.  Yay!

I did the loop and the additional side trail to the overlook, I am guessing 4 miles total, since I also backtracked a couple of times and I milled around at the creek for half an hour.

I only tracked my hike after I got to the bottom, to see what the elevation change was on the hike out.  It said 776 feet!  

Boiling Springs bridge is out.  I did not cross here, but stayed on the loop trail.


I stopped at the campsite on the creek and looked around, then headed back to the trail.

At the top of these stairs, I realized the trail look a hard left and started to climb back out of the valley, so I turned around and went back to the creek to have my snack!


During this period, I discovered my prepackaged trail mix with 'peanut butter cups and protein bites!' had a SINGLE pb cup and ONE tiny cube that I assume was a protein bite.
I may have complained.

Rested and somewhat fed (with mere dried fruit and almonds and not chocolate) I started the climb out.

There were a few short stretches of steps, but it was mostly gently climbing trail.  I stopped a couple of times to catch my breath and once to have some water, but for the most part, it was a very nice hike, even with the steady climb.  The people who laid out the trail were GOOD at that part.  I have been on trails that go into a gulf, but seem to climb up every chance they got and trails that head out, but manage to go down into every little valley around first.  This trail just went up, so each step was a gain toward the top.  Love that!  It's very heartening.

I sat at the overlook a while and took off my shoes.  :)  Then I got REALLY cold because the wind chill was high 30's all day.  So, back to the van.

I did not notice earlier, but when I cranked the van to leave, it was at 140k!
Nettlevan had 225k with only the odd noise, no engine issues.  So I am hopeful!  I put 25k a year on a car, so I should have at least 3 more years from this one, barring accident or major malfunction.

When I got home, our new quilts had arrived early!
Mine is purple and green, Matt's is charcoal and black.  They are both Downtek treated, mine is rated to 10 and his to 20.  I am thrilled!  We slept under them last night, like dorks, in our 68 degree house and we were both way too hot. hahaha!

Matt also slept for the first time in his mouthpiece instead of with the CPAP.  It was not a total noise-free night, but I think it will work for camping.  We bought it OTC for $12 instead of paying the nearly $1800 to have one made by a dentist.  I was not sure it would work at all, but...we are hopeful!  He has some nights that are...louder than others, so he plans to wear it for the next few nights in a row and see.

Snow this weekend, 63 next week.  January.  Ha

Monday, January 23, 2017

Training Hike Two

I took 2 whole pictures!

Friday, we decided to try for distance.   The plan was 16 miles of easy walking.  RM from north to south and back to the middle.  I have walked north to south a dozen or more times recently, so I knew I was good for that.  A week before, I was still feeling full of energy at the end, so I was feeling like it would be fine.  In fact, we went ahead and kind of planned to just walk on to the north end again, making it 22 miles.  Yeah!

Well.  We got to the middle and it was great.  I was a little tired, but feeling good.  I planned to get on to the south end, have an energy drink and a snack and cruise back to the middle and see how I was feeling about finishing.

About 2 miles into the 5.5 miles to the south end, my knee started hurting.  Matt walked backward so he could see how it was landing.  I was twisting my foot on every single step.  I could not stop!  Ack. This was BEFORE the initial 11 miles.

Last Friday, I had gotten a blister on my heel and had taken out my arch supports thinking that was the issue.  We hiked Saturday and it was fine.  So I did not put them back in.  Well, apparently I need that to make my foot land correctly.  We stopped half a mile from the south end to mess with my boot. I ended up taking out the insoles and putting a pad under it and that actually worked!  With my foot landing the right way again, we opted to head back toward the north end instead of finishing the whole trail, in case it started getting worse.  We didn't want to be walking further from a vehicle!

About half a mile from the middle, Melissa declared herself done.  Matt and I decided to keep going on to our car at the north end.  Then we decided we should stop as well.  At the middle, Melissa was so beat she did not want to drive right away.  We took one look at her and went to the little store to get some sugar and a drink for her!  That helped and I drove us back to our car so she could rest a few more minutes.

I realized at some point around this time that I had a new blister on my heel.  In my nearly new Merrell boots.  Grrrrr.  So it was good we didn't keep going.

I am a bit bummed.  I have walked that SO many times without any trouble.  I will replace my arch supports and see if that was it.  I had new ones last Friday and they were smaller than the boot, so I thought that was causing the rub.  But then I got more blisters with no arch support, so I don't even know.

Bonus between-toe blister.
And I was wearing Injinji liner socks.  Grrrr!

Monday, January 16, 2017


I feel like I should have lost weight from having a cold.  I made roughly 8 pounds of snot.  As is my main complaint when comic book characters grow huge at whim; you can not create mass from nothing.   So where did that 8 pounds come from?  I'll tell you.  Hot tea.  Everyone is all like 'ooo, tea with honey' but all that does is force you to get up and potter around and the results fuel snot.  Next time it's bourbon, chocolate, and goldfish shaped pretzels.  I can keep all that in a drawer by the bed-the one that is currently filled with typing paper.  I have not have a functioning printer in 3 years anyway.  Then I can just flail, it's a great plan.

Between New Year's and the 12th, I left the house only if there was some necessary thing at the end of the trip.  Delivering tissues to the croaking thing in Chan's room or reupping the Powerade stash, or, my favorite, buying yet another pill for congestion.  I used to not be able to take decongestants. They made my head swim and my heart race.  I've either developed a tolerance or mild panic attacks are old hat now, either way, I have been popping nasal decongestants at the rate of 2 every 6 hours for DAYS.  Not only am I not reacting, I'm only breathing slightly better.

I have recovered to the point that now my nose does not run, it drains into my throat so I have this near constant need to cough and go 'ah-heh' in long spiels like a chain smoker upon awakening.  This. This is what it would be like to be a 70 year old man.  And me without my tightie whities with questionable sanitation level.  Dang.

The 13th I dragged myself to Elkmont and walked with Melissa and Gina on the Richard Martin.  We did the whole thing in 4 hours.  I had in new arch supports that were too narrow for my boots.  I did not realize it would be such an issue, but it rubbed my feet and by the time I got home, I had 4 HUGE blisters.  The ones on my heels were over 2 inches long.  I popped them and drained them and taped them with leukotape and ended up having to do the same thing the next morning.  I have not had a blister refill before.  My feet were SO tender Saturday, it felt like I had burned them, like I was walking on a sunburn, not a flesh wound.  :(

Sunday, we did a couple miles with a new person, Nicky.  We ended up over at Hurricane Creek. I have not been there in years!  I expected it to be in bad shape, but other than a couple pieces of trash (in a place I could see but not reach) there was no damage or debris!  The trail kicked our butts, I was covered in sweat.

That afternoon we dropped Ben off to do an escape room with some friends (they did it with 2 minutes and 7 seconds to spare!) and Matt and I ran to Cabela's to look for a particular towel I'd like to get. They had it, at nearly $15 more than REI.  ack.  But they did have a big sale going on and I got a mens rain jacket for half off,  It has pit zips and covers my butt.  The women's (same price) has no pit zips and the bottom comes to my waist and I could not even get the large to zip over my boobs in a tshirt-never mind a fleece or down hoody underneath it!  And, if I leaned over wearing it in the rain, the rain would funnel into my butt crack. Who designs this sort of crap?  Mmmm, tight in the titties, don't hide that ass!  PERFECT!

Anyway, here are some pics:

Sunset, out the bedroom window

Richard Martin

From Hurricane Creek:

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Nosy Heifers

When I post anything about the BLOTUS, my page hits go WAY up.  I have had this blog a decade and know about how many people come by on average.  So, if you are here because you are creeping on my thoughts about the travesty of the election, rest assured.  It was a travesty and though there is some delight in seeing people realize what a horrible mistake their vote turned out to be, the fact is, we are all spiraling that drain hole together.

As a citizen with no wealth, I have nothing beyond my voice, which in this state as it is, will not be heard.  I had to call Jeff Session's office to ask him to not endorse HIMSELF for AG because there are only 2 options here and THEY BOTH SUCK.  I would ask, since there are so many, many hits coming these days, that when you boycott Alabama, send a message to the tourist association and the governor and SAY you are not coming here and why.  Is it that the absolute first item presented by our new assembly of elected officials was a proposal to post an employee in stores to monitor bathroom use?

I will say this for Republicans, and I have said it before. They are MESMERIZED by anything covered by a bathing suit.  They obsess, make laws, make rulings, make NEARLY ALL their decisions in fact, based on pee pee parts.  And now their Lord and Master ALSO has shown he too enjoys pee pee parts for more than casual molestation without protestation.

And, yes, I am being infantile with my wording.  Because it's an infantile group of total asshats with priorities so skewed that they mutter 'gimme' in their sleep and can only be happy when their sand box has the mostest sand.

So, keep snooping around, nosy heifers. I won't stop thinking and I won't stop talking and I can't stop seeing and tallying the truly unAmerican fuckups they are accumulating.  'For all' is a JOKE.  There is zero concern for anyone not themselves and the people hurt the most are the ones voting them in and I do not understand where the failing to comprehend comes in, other than, I imagine, the hate of their base is stronger than self-interest.  But boy howdy, the elected understand self-interest.  It's their second favorite thing to contemplate, after penises and vaginas.

Saturday, January 7, 2017


That's the best word to use to describe the current situation around here.

In the last week or so, the humans have all come down with some variation of the common cold and Jessie has done an amazing rebound and returned to life.  It's been amazing to see, first she perked up a bit, then quite a bit, now she's trotting and hopping and seemingly just fine.  After her collapse, I never imagined she'd bounce back.

It snowed yesterday for nearly 15 straight minutes.  Matt picked up milk, bread and eggs because we were legit out of all 3, but it was still pretty funny.  He mixed it up with some veggie eggrolls though.
Wednesday or Thursday, I woke up feeling like there was an entire pencil inside my ear canal.  My chest was achy and my nose was doing that WTF thing where just one nostril works at a time.  The other leaks at the rate of one tissue per 5 minutes.  Throat was a little sore, but the drainage knocked my range of speech to creepy level 3.  I sounded like a rusted man.  When Chan had this last week, when she talked it sounded like 2 people talking it once.  It was SO scary. It does not seem scary, but your child in stereo, with one voice a little lower than the other, is VERY creepy.  Suck in air and talk.  It was very much like that.

While it only snowed a dusting here, the schools were closed. We get made fun of ALL the time for shutting down when it snows at all, but the basis of that decision is made with the thought of little kids waiting for the bus in the early hours.  Many, many people here don't have a good coat.  So, make fun if you want, but next time it's sleeting, go stand by your mailbox before the sun comes up in a sweater and jeans for 20 minutes.  Not everybody's mama can drive them to school.

A couple snaps from the snow.

Kuma was having a blast until I pointed the camera at him.
I go back and forth with wondering if he dies via photograph if he would be vindicated for his lifetime of wariness or if his last thoughts would be of horror because-clicky thing, aaaaaaaa

I have slept a good 4 to 6 hours total in the last 2 nights thanks to, and I will say it, MATT.  And my cold, but mostly my adored hubby who walks in his sleep and makes the bed wiggle.  Move to the couch, you suggest?  I can't fall asleep easily in other places, even the next room.  So all that netted was nearly 4 hour of laying there without the bed wiggling.  I am the most exhausted light sleeper in the world.  I'll just stay awake if there's the slightest chance I could be woken up.  Plus, the living room is COLD with it's single (who planned that?) heat vent directly over the front door.

When I finally did fall asleep last night, I woke up today with my nose crusted TO THE PILLOW.  It cracked loose when I tried to roll over.  Matt took one look and ran for the medicine cabinet, though 2 Sudafed and a Tylenol cold and congestion dose later, I feel NO BETTER.

To that end, I have decided to withdraw some from life and to celebrate, I unfriended the worst of the Trumpers still on my FB feed.  There's supporting your party, there's hoping for the best, then at some point, it becomes a combination of willful ignorance and 'someone said'.  And hate.

I typed way, way, way more and then deleted it because it was unkind.  See?  I am getting better. ish.  I still can't stand a hate spewing idiot particularly and I do mean this-when they are a hypocrite.  People can see when you say one thing and do another.  I'm just done with observing and ready to call people out.  Or, in this case, cut them loose.  Some people are too far gone to fix.

Okay, I think I am wound down.

This weekend is a bust, though Matt is off at the studio and Jake and Chan are going to town.  Ben is still puny.

Next week, there are plans for backpacking Friday because while it's 19 right now, it will be 70 a week from now.  Aaaaaand, no wonder we all have colds.  Various other things scattered in the week, just have to see how this cold is going.

17 words from being level 4 in Swedish.  I really wish I could find someone who can speak it, so I can ask some questions particularly about pronunciation.  Only 2 more levels and I will be proficient.  I have started reading a few things.  Children's books, short articles online, a few blogs.  I need a LOT more words to fill in the gaps, but I can piece together pretty well by guessing the unknown words based on context.  I doubt I will ever be able to write or speak my own thoughts without more training in stitching the words.   Some sentences are word for word.  Han ar trott, sa han vill stanna hemma.  He is tired, so he will stay home.  But then "I will be home at 4" is 'Jag ar hemma clockan fyra" 'I am home clock four.'.
I have a feeling it's similar to English rules, like using I or me, or a or an and once I figure it out, it will all be more simple.  

Monday, January 2, 2017

Not a Year in Review

I usually do a year in review, but this has been a different kind of year.

We did travel, LOADS of travel, out west twice and to Virginia twice to see the ponies. 22 states.  It's been a year for 2, I guess.

I started a couple things I will likely keep up in the new year.  One is learning Swedish. I am just shy of level 4, about 1500 words.  I am still flat amazed that I can remember even half, but I did a 300 word quiz on Tuesday and only missed 3.  That's a 99, or, as Chan would have once graded her own paper: an A++

The other is book reviews and listing what I read.  Not all of it, I have read some books so crappy that going BACK over it in my mind afterward would be like raking nails on my mental blackboard.  But it's been good for the brain.  With just Ben left homeschooling and him doing nearly all his own work now, I have less mental stimulation than I'd like.  It's been good for the old noggin to get some use.

I did not hike 1000 miles this year, and I am a night short of camping 30 nights.  So, neither of those happened.  But, I did work toward my goals which is more than I can say for myself some years.  Ha!

Okay, I guess I did a review.

For 2017, I have (surprise) hikes planned with friends old and new.  I am ending the year with 35 new FB friends. I'll eventually freak and unfriend half or more, but they are local (in the state anyway) and like to hike so I will see how that goes.  I need something to focus on with the kids getting older and finding people who are active seems like a better idea than some I have had.

I am planning to start the AT in April, no plan to finish it, though there's this little back-of-my-head voice that sometimes cheerfully pipes in with 'but we COULD'.  Yeah.  Right NOW the plan is to hike to the Smokies, though I have to say hiking to Hot Springs is appealing and I really want to do all of VA.  Maybe half this year?  I'll start with the first 167 miles and see.  Baby steps.

No other big travel plans yet.  Matt wants to do a long trip in the summer, J has stirred up my interest about a visit, Ben will graduate in the spring and that will change a good bit.  So lots of potentials, which is good for a new year.