I’m moving forward with my Changing Seasons post even though Brian or Ju-Lyn have not officially started the conversation yet. Sorry to jump the gun and I apologize for not hyperlinking properly, however, I am heading out early tomorrow morning on an adventure that will leave me far from home and with no cell service. I do plan on checking in with all of your Julys just as soon as I am back and able.
In May I shared with all of you, my first backpacking experience in THIS post. What I didn’t write about in that post was the fact that the trip actually ended earlier than planned because one of the girls that joined us got pretty sick and worn down on trail and we had to get her off as soon as we could. It was 100% the right decision to make, but for me left an approximately 10.5 mile stretch of trail that I had been really looking forward. It was the length of trail that was supposed to have some of the prettiest views. It was also the steepest and most challenging climb we planned to do during that trip. I had trained for months in preparation for that mountain by the name of Big Hump and I was curious to see how I would perform. When we abandoned the trip before I was able to tackle it, I felt like I was walking away from unfinished business.
Fourth of July weekend offered an extra day off work and some amazing weather up in the mountains. Hubby made the gracious offer to drive up to the mountain with me, hike a few miles in at which point he would turn around and go back to the car then drive to an exit point further down the trail to pick me up. This gave me just the chance I needed. It was nice to have company for some of that section of trail, but also allowed me to resolve the fact that I REALLY wanted to climb that mountain!
Prior to starting out on the hike I had some concerns. I broke a toe and went through 6 weeks of recovery since the last time I was on that trail, my training had fallen off, I was not in the same hiking shape I was the last time I was out there. Also, the last time I planned to backpack that stretch of trail the distance was supposed to be broken up across two days, but with no camping partner and my hubby there to drop me at the entry and exit points, this time I had to get it done in a day. These fears were compounded significantly the day of the hike after I’d climbed the first two of three mountains and I stood at the base of Big Hump contemplating what was ahead of me. That mother was steep and intimidating as I stood there looking up. Well…I made it!!! The hike was every bit as beautiful, fun, challenging and rewarding as I had thought and heard it would be. The tough climbs were rewarded with impressive mountain vistas and the entire length of trail was wrapped up in Summer growth and life. I was pleased with my performance and as I got in our car at the end of the hike I felt accomplished.
Big Hump on The Appalachian Trail was not the only hike I got to do this month. I was able to climb another much smaller mountain which may have only been a big hill while visiting a friend for the day and we took a trip to Cane Creek Northern Approach Trail. On a separate visit, that same friend and I were fortunate enough to tour three different waterfalls as we hiked around Hanging Rock State Park for a day.
For a change of pace, one Saturday morning I met two friends at a small county park with well maintained flat walking trails for a short stroll around a couple of ponds which we followed up with a visit to the local winery. The winery offers wine based slushees to help beat the Summer heat. It was a relaxing day that allowed the three of us to catch up among some pretty backdrops to our chatter.
I topped the month off with a visit from my cousin, her husband and my aunt. My cousins are rock climbers and had dreamed of visiting here at a time they could attempt the deep solo wall at The Whitewater Center. Large artificial rock climbing walls slope out over crystal clear blue pools allowing the climbers to work hard to get to the top and then let go as they free fall into the refreshing water below. The Center also offers rope courses, kayaking, whitewater rafting and zip lines so it is always a fun place to go visit. I didn’t participate in any of the fun activities on this particular visit, but was happy to be there with my camera so I could document the fun others were having.
I’ve got some good stuff coming up in August and I hope you all do too!