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

About Me

Unschooling mama from the start with 2014, 2016 and 2018 graduation dates. I enjoy camping, reading, swimming, hiking and photography.