This past weekend, Heather, Bailey, Kirstin, Sara and I had plans to camp at Johnson’s Shut-Ins and then get up early Saturday to overnight backpack Bell Mountain.The forecast was pretty iffy all week with daytime highs in the high-30s and low-40s and nighttime lows in the mid-20s. Bailey’s car was having some trouble so a 2-hour drive for her wasn’t in the cards. There was also the ever-changing percentage of potential snow Friday night and Sunday morning so we decided to play it safe (and warm-ish!) and spend a day out hiking the full loop instead of camping halfway.
I decided to load my pack up like I was backpacking anyway just to give myself a taste of what I’ll be carrying for LHX (which is only 18 days away!) I’ve been doing 10-20 minutes a day for nearly 3 weeks on my stair stepper and I noticed during our near 13 mile hike Saturday how beneficial it’s been.
We had a sunny but chilly lunch at the summit, and could see for miles!My hips were bruised and my thighs & calves were tight from the extra pack weight but I truly felt great all day Saturday and am fully confident in my distance abilities (with a few breaks thrown in!)Everyone always begins the day energetic and motivated, but after an early start, driving two hours, 10 miles already hiked plus an annoying, rocky terrain we all entered our personal headspace and nobly suffered in silence; (save for the occasional “Sigh”, “Ugh, my body!” and random song lyrics being belted) the last 3 miles grew noticeably quiet.When I found myself getting frustrated or exhausted I just kept repeating to myself, “It’s mind over matter” and while the trail wasn’t particularly strenuous or difficult by any means, 13 miles is 13 miles – and you really start to become aware of every detail and discomfort no matter the severity.
The way the chapstick clipped to your pack sways and clinks into the plastic on the strap with every step. Your feet swelling and your toes becoming more and more tender from going straight downhill for half of a mile. The ache in your hips and knees from pounding down on uneven ground and rocks. The slowly growing tension between your shoulder blades from the weight in your pack. Sweat dripping into and burning your eyes. Pulling quick breaths in through your mouth and letting them leave your nose.
…I love every second of it.