Readers, I apologize. Several of you have pointed out that I have not finished my recap of backpacking and I’ll admit, in the swirl of Versus and such, I shrugged it off. I told myself, I’ll post tomorrow, no big deal. Except that right now, the cosmic universe has come together to give me as much work as possible but no matter, I am determined to finish strong with this blog. So hold on to your hats because it’s time for the remainder of a wild backpacking trip.
Saturday morning, we drove over to the Deep Creek trailhead, and got ready to go. True to form, I think I won the award for most layers in the group and I brought lots of extra clothes in my bag. I would later come to hate all of those clothes, not because they were unstylish, but because they were useless to carry.
I was also the only one wearing gloves or a hat, but hey, I get cold, that’s just how I roll. Even though I knew that the backpack would feel really heavy later in the day, I felt SO legit when I put it on.
You’re right, I really am pretty much a wilderness gangster with that backpack. Once we were all packed, we were ready to hit the trail. In the very beginning, things were going quite smoothly. The sun was shining, it wasn’t too cold and was definitley getting warmer. But within the first half hour, our group would face a major problem ala Harry Houdini. We stopped to see a waterfall, and somehow Nick and Tiffany got away from the group. We tried to look for them around the area, walked a little further on the trail, then returned to the bridge by the waterfall, but no luck. Eventually we spotted a fellow hiker who told us that they had seen our two lost people way back on the trail, so Matt and Reba ran (literally) to get them and Rachel, Catherine, Harrison and I stayed on the trail, guarding the packs and enjoying a wonderful combination of sunshine and dried apricots.
Once out whole group was reunited, we ate lunch and then continued on the trail for the rest of the day. It was a good combination of uphill and downhill and I actually couldn’t decide what I thought was harder, hiking uphill because it made my legs yell at me for not exercising more or the downhill which made my ankles yell at me for tripping all over the place. Somehow the poise I acquired in climbing didn’t translate so great into hiking, but you can’t win them all.
It was really warm hiking in the sun but once the sun set, it was back to all the crazy layers, mittens and the wild hat. At our campsite, we had a bit of a rice snafu (there was a hole in the bag and then the water got tipped over, murphy’s law of dinner). I couldn’t believe that we were going to bed at 8 o’clock but it was cold and I was very tired, so I didn’t protest when we all started getting into our sleeping bags.
We got up early so it was still pretty cold in the morning and I can’t say me feet were overly anxious to get back into hiking boots but I wasn’t sore (pre-emptive aleeve was the best decision I could have made). After breakfast, we started our trip back to the van. On day one, one of the motivational phrases that was thrown around was, “Don’t worry, tomorrow is downhill.”
We decided to take a trail called “Martin’s Gap,” which sounded innocuous enough. Also, it led to a trail called “Sunkota” which I personally thought sounded awesome. The part we could see was uphill, but I figured that it wouldn’t be too bad.
Martin’s Gap was a mile and a half of total uphill. I actually don’t think there was a single downhill on the entire thing, just a few glorious ten step stretches of level walking before the uphill madness started back up. My morale started waning on Martin’s Gap for a variety of reason. Not only couldn’t I get the song, “I’ve been working on the railroad,” out of my head, my entire body was furious with me for putting it through this. Every time I thought we were at the top (I seriously couldn’t understand how the trail just kept going, it was like an evil energizer bunny) another uphill would start. In my head, I started weaving a tapestry of curse words about Martin’s Gap, the most tame of which was “Martin and his gap can go to Hell!” Which is probably around when this picture was taken:
I was a little upset with Martin at this point...
But once we ate snacks and lunch at the top, I was in much better spirits. Dreaming of that Snickers bar really kept me going on Martin’s Gap and I have to say, it was as awesome as I dreamed it would be.
The hike down wasn’t too bad, except I was getting tired which led to increasing levels of clumsiness and tripping. Overall though, I was proud of how I did hiking. I may not have always been the happiest camper, but I didn’t complain (I channeld that into my internal Martin rant) and I didn’t hold up the group which was something I had been worried about in the beginning. Back at the van, I was so excited to change into comfy, not synthetic clothing and everyone was tired but very happy.
not the best hair moment, thank goodness for bandanas
On our way back, we stopped at a Thai restaurant in Knoxville and I discovered that I really like chicken pad thai! I was kind of the lame-o of the gropu because I ordered mine at a spice level of 1 and everyone else did 5 and above (Reba asks for 20!) but it was really good. I’ve never loved a noodly dish so much, I was so hungry!
Well, that is the tale of backpacking. I have to sign off now because I actually have to finish my Wilskills exam, yikes! Sorry for the delay with this one, it’s totally my bad but better late than never!