Thursday, July 1, 2010

Backpacking...Nope, I never thought I'd try it either

The last several weeks have been pretty busy between my work, training, and E's work and training, so the thought was that we would go away for a weekend.  E, in particular, was jonesing for something in the sooner category, and hasn't been backpacking in over a year, so was understandably longing for the complete disconnect that it offers.  I found the thought of total disconnect mildly terrifying, considering I spend my days hooked up a computer or my cell phone, only putting it away when I get home at night.  And even then, I know it's within reach.

So we picked a weekend, packing gear was borrowed from friends (for me, not him, he has the whole wilderness man thing down) and off we went to Great Smoky Mountains National Park outside of Bryson City, North Carolina.  We had previously day-hiked in this same area last year, but took a different trail this time. 

Wow, backpacking.  Those packs sure are heavy.  Whilst standing in the parking lot, getting ready to lock up the car and head into the woods, the full effect of summer humidity hit me, causing sweat to pour off me in buckets while I struggled to not panic and think this was potentially one of the worse ideas I've had. 

Once we were off though, it was ok.  Alright, honestly, the first day had great moments, and awful moments.  Truly, if it could go wrong, it did, that first day.  But what can you do?  When you're in the middle of the mountains, getting angry doesn't help.  By the second day though, it was great.  The weather was cooler, the day was fairly humidity-free, and it was all just lovely.  Lovely campsite the second night too; I was able to indulge in a couple hours worth of reading on a rock on the creek.

It was a great experience.   There were bees.  Lots and lots of bees, which I'm sort of terrified of (read:  allergic to as a child, not really sure if I still am).  In fact, the first campsite involved bees that became rather infatuated with our packs...and our tent....and us. 

I struggled with taking the weekend in view of having lost a week of training, but decided that the experience and the promised physical effort would be a good respite from the multisport routine, and it really was.  The heavy pack and heavy boots, and the ascents and descents were all quite challenging.  My glutes, hip flexors and quads really let me know it, making me wonder if I do need to begin doing some weight and strength training.

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