Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Sightseeing (08/08/05)
TITLE: Bear Wallow
By Kurt Youngdale
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After we had checked everything and packed our vehicles we set out for the camp. I was the last to leave and I lost track of the person in front on me as soon as I got on the interstate. I would never see them again until I reached our destination. It a good thing I had directions and then we still didn’t get there until almost 9 o’clock.
We were scheduled to go hiking the next day. I slept like a log. I had always wanted to go on a hiking trip but I had never gone on one until now. The next day we got ourselves ready and were at the start of the trail by 8:30. I knew it would be a long day.
The guy who gave us our instructions wanted to make sure we had enough water. He really stressed that and it was at that point that I got a little concerned that maybe I had not taken enough with me. I had heard stories of people who had gone running or jogging and died of dehydration. I didn’t want to be the victim of a preventable death.
He gave a lot of instructions of which I did not pay much attention to. There were markers to follow the trail and a little more than halfway was a lunch area where we would stop to have lunch. We had to divide into two groups because there were two many of us to go all together. I was in the first group which actually went second because we had an equipment malfunction.
The trip started by descending into the forest. We had backpacks which contained our water and lunch and first aid kit, things like that. I started to get the idea quickly that this was a trail that ascended and descended a lot. The trees and plant life throughout the hike was beautiful but the only wildlife I saw were butterflies, insects, a bird, and a turtle.
The first time I ascended I ascended too quickly and lost my breath. I could feel my heart beating and I realized I didn’t prepare enough. My feet still felt good though and we continued on. I wondered how long it would take to get to the lunch area.
About five or six miles into the hike my feet didn’t feel so good. We couldn’t believe we hadn’t gotten to the lunch area yet. I had used all my water by then and so had a lot of the other people on our group. If I ever go on a hike like this again, I will bring a lot more water.
I had another problem. My right knee stiffened up. Every step for the last 5 miles was painful. I also slowed the group down. My youngest son got through the hike like it was nothing. He still seemed to have the energy at the end that he had at the beginning. It just reminded me how old and out of shape I was.
We finally reached the lunch area around 4:00, 7 hours after we had started. At that pace it was taking us almost an hour to walk a mile. I was completely ready to give up the rest of the hike but forced myself to go on with the others. We heard the sound of thunder in the distance.
There were about 5 to 6 really steep climbs on the hike. When I finally limped up the last one that marked the end of the trail, my feet were killing me. I was sure I had blisters on my feet. A couple minutes after we got onto the porch of the trail headquarters it started storming. I told my sons I was proud of them that they made the 12.1 mile hike. We earned two really cool patches.
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