Checking the weight of my pack it was 10 pounds. Manageable? Sure! My adrenaline was flowing fast and I was so excited to be hiking a little, tiny part of the North Country Scenic Trail/Finger Lakes Trail/Conservation Trail/etc, etc…. this trail had soo many names! I guess it never occurred to me that trails often overlap each other. I drove to my friend, Shelly’s house and we set off together to Allegany State Park.
We met up with a group of people from Hiking Adventures and that is when my nerves set in. I never have hiked a real hike before. My head felt prepared, but I was afraid my legs weren’t. The hike leader said the trail was 5.6 miles. I quickly removed about 3 pounds from my pack and threw it all in my backseat! I have never hiked a mountain that far before. Flat trails, yes. Not up a mountain. Technically, it may have been a hill, but it sure looked like a mountain!
The group started up the hill very quickly with me falling behind just as quickly. Lucky for me, my friend, Shelly hiked with me and other people waited and chatted with us while I caught my breath. The group stopped for a snack (to wait for me to catch up). When I had two bites of my snack, the rest of them moved on. My head had so many thoughts going through it – this isn’t for me, why don’t I do this for a living, I don’t like hiking, I love hiking, I wish I could do this forever, my legs are wobbly, I feel strong. I knew one thing, I had to keep to going! BECAUSE – my car was as the starting point and I needed a ride back to where I parked! I knew they wouldn’t leave me, but it was funny thinking about it.
My friend, Shelly is the most optimistic, positive person I know. She made this hike so much fun. She sang songs, while I was just trying to breathe. She talked about all the times she almost died on her wild adventures. She once mountain biked on an Extreme trail and almost fell to her death! She nearly was sucked up in muddy pond, luckily, she was wearing her flotation device and she didn’t sink all the way under. Two huge men had to pull her up out of it! She said it made a giant “POP” sucking sound when she finally got out! She’s a daredevil!
Before I knew it we had arrived at the highest part of trail and Shelly reminded me to look at the ridge-line. It was amazing! Seeing the tops of the trees and the nearby mountaintops was incredible!! I can’t even describe it!
We caught up with the rest of group and stopped for lunch at a lean to, enjoying each other’s company for a little bit. I actually peed in the woods for the first time in a long time! A little cool air on my behind felt so GOOD! I’m going to do that more often. I need the practice.
The lean to was really neat for me to see. I never saw one in person before and I must say, I was pretty stoked. There were extra pots hanging, tarps hidden in the rafters for anyone to use that might need them and a little notebook that served as a log book. Shelly and I read through some of the entries in the log book and they were FUNNY! “Out of Beer, send more, ” was one of my favorites.
We had a nice rest and I grabbed my hiking pole and set off for the rest of the trail. It wasn’t all down hill from here, there was at least one more up, but I kept my head down and focused on the next two feet in front of me. Near the end of the trail a very nice person created a set of stairs to climb down that led to a meadow of sorts. At this point I was so excited to be done, and so sad to be done. This may have been my first up hill hike, but it won’t be my last.
I arrived home in the early afternoon and I couldn’t keep still. My muscles wanted me to keep moving. My dogs, Royal and Maggie, played with me outside until I finally collapsed on the grass in my backyard, my dogs licking my face. Adrenaline worn off, I knew I would sleep good that night!