Take a hike

You probably can't do it, so don't even try.
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GORDON
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Take a hike

Postby GORDON » Thu May 24, 2018 11:00 pm

Ha! Forgot about my Dad's wife's negativity that was on display in Utah, last year.

Planning a few days in Phoenix next month, chatting on Facebook with my Dad, who lives there. I was throwing out ideas for my kid and I to do, while there, so we aren't just sitting round all day. I mention a particular hike that isn't far from his house.

His wife sends me a link, saying I'll die if I do it:

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2015/07/31/phoenix-camelback-trail-hiking-dangers/30909215/

Yep, forgot that.

But Bull Pen looks like a lot of fun.

http://www.azswimmingholes.com/
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Postby Leisher » Fri May 25, 2018 9:09 am

GORDON wrote:Source of the post His wife sends me a link, saying I'll die if I do it:

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/lo ... /30909215/


Is that negative or a genuine concern for your safety?
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GORDON
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Take a hike

Postby GORDON » Fri May 25, 2018 9:30 am

I'm sure it always comes from a good place.

And I don't know what's more disturbing... a challenging hike, or the fact that locals there come out to count the out-of-state license plates.
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Postby GORDON » Thu Jun 21, 2018 3:55 pm

GORDON wrote:Also, these $20 hiking shoes from Costco might be the best hiking shoes I've ever had. I had ZERO foot pain in about 25 miles of hiking over a week. Zero. Total comfort.


BTW, these shoes are at Costco, again. They're a different color this year, so this link doesn't work... but it's the same shoe, and still $20. I just bought 2 pairs.

Which bums me out because a month ago I bought a $100 pair of Columbia hiking shoes, and have been breaking them in, in anticipation of the hiking next month. I think these Fila's may still be superior.
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Postby GORDON » Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:24 am

Hiking in the desert with triple digit temps is a whole new thing. Kind of got our asses kicked by the sun and heat. But tomorrow is hotter, and a bigger hike. Let's see if we learned anything, today.
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Postby GORDON » Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:49 pm

Yes, we took yesterday's lessons to heart. This morning we started earlier, took enough fluids, and did a little over 4 miles... The last one the most miserable, in the sun and heat.

My big toe nails may fall off. Not happy with the shoes.

But ready for more, tomorrow.
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Take a hike

Postby TheCatt » Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:01 pm

GORDON wrote:Source of the post My big toe nails may fall off. Not happy with the shoes.

Whoa. Never had that before.
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Postby GORDON » Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:06 pm

On the down hill, toes were jamming up in the shoe. In retrospect I should have seen if making them tighter would help... But by then the sun was up, we were cooking, and not thinking things through.
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Postby GORDON » Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:05 am

I am impervious to heat. Hiking in 114 felt like being alive.
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Postby TheCatt » Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:45 am

GORDON wrote:Source of the post I am impervious to heat. Hiking in 114 felt like being alive.

Well, I hear it's a dry heat. Come back to NC and try that in 100.
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Postby GORDON » Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:58 pm

My son's quote of the day, during this morning's 106 degree hike:

"I am definitely sick of the desert."

Also, I took a fall this morning, so I'm sitting here feeling pleasantly beat up. If you're going to hurt yourself, do it during the last hike of the trip.
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Postby GORDON » Sun Jul 15, 2018 5:40 pm

Think I broke a finger. Still hurts.
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Postby GORDON » Sun Jul 15, 2018 5:41 pm

TheCatt wrote:Source of the post
GORDON wrote:Source of the post I am impervious to heat. Hiking in 114 felt like being alive.

Well, I hear it's a dry heat. Come back to NC and try that in 100.


Dad also went down, again. Fortunately I had Gatorade on me, this time. He perked right up.
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Postby TheCatt » Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:24 pm

GORDON wrote:Source of the post Think I broke a finger. Still hurts.

:(
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Postby GORDON » Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:35 pm

Took a hard slip/fall. Had cactus spines in my arm. NBD.

I got to show the kid it isn't a big deal to be all bloody and stuff, you can keep going without whining. ;)
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Postby GORDON » Fri Aug 02, 2019 4:30 pm

I should make a little update, speaking of nerve-damaged superheroes with goofy walks.

I got leg braces in January (for free, thanks VA hospitals!) that keep my toes from dragging. I learned a new term called "drop foot" from a guy in the gym, and he showed me the brace he wore, and I learned it was a thing that could be corrected. So I brought it up to my VA doc, she said "Yeah, we can do that," and it turns out these braces were a game changer. My left foot dragged worse than the right, so I wear that brace every day. It corrects my "goofy walk" by about 95%. Now instead of lifting my leg really high each step to keep my toes from dragging and tripping me, now I just have a distinct "heel/toe" walk, that looks normal unless you're really looking. I love it.

But I rarely wear the right brace, because I have a little more nerve control on that side, and I can't work a gas pedal/break if my ankle is locked down at 90 degrees off my calf. But for this hiking/cruise vacation I just took, I wanted both braces.

A month before the trip, I shifted from the gym and cardio training, to straight hike conditioning. Three times a week I was putting on the new shoes to break them in, strapping on both brace, loading the backpack with weight to simulate lots of water, grabbing the hiking sticks, and doing some miles. Started at 2 mile hikes, focusing on my form, stride, and speed. My right foot wanted to turn out a bit, so I focused on keeping that foot straight. After about 10 miles, I didn't need to think about it as much.

Planned 2 days of hiking in Alabama, a 3 miler to warm up Will (he was in Georgia, and I KNOW he was ignoring my orders to hike laps around his neighborhood, to get ready), and the next day a 7 miler. It was the 7 I was worried about, both for him, and me. I know I could do it, but I needed to do it at speed because we still had a 5 hour drive in Alabama, when we were done. So the day before I left Ohio I hiked 6 fast miles nonstop, successfully, beating myself up. On the real 7 miler, I knew there would be rest breaks for water and sight-seeing, so I saw it as equivalent.

Fast forward to Alabama, picked up the kid early in Atlanta, and we were in the forest by 9am. Went to the nearest ranger station to get trail conditions, and they were cool and helpful. Went directly to the trailhead, and we were the only vehicle there.... interesting. Hit the trail.

About a half mile in.

*thunder crack*

Super heavy downpour. Soooo fucking cool. We hiked it a while wet, but then I realized my 5% body fat kid was shivering, and put the poncho on him. The trail was a running stream in places, these were all up and down hills and hollars. The rain falling through the trees was super loud, and you couldn't see the sky to have an idea of what was coming, and the little warm-up hike became epic. It was a really good day. And we learned that with two braces, I was a loot faster than William was used to. I still was a little careful on downgrades due to slippage, but I could keep his full pace on a flat surface. Braces are a game changer.

But we were thoroughly soaked. We fortunately waterproofed the cell phones, but everything, including my wallet, was drenched. We spent some time in the hotel room drying off, went out and caught a movie, and just unwound the rest of the day, preparing for the next.

Next day we hit the 7 miler trailhead, which suggested it was actually 8 miles, there and back. OK....

Pretty hot, chance of rain 50% in the afternoon. I was hoping.

This is one of those trails that was well marked, but not paved or anything, and so well traveled that you come to random branches in the trail and both look legit. We had to guess quite a few times, and somehow always guessed right. We had to cross a river/waterfall at one point on rocks, and that was cool. And we came to a random shelter house on top of a ridge, that I have no idea how they got the timbers in. The sign said the trail and shelter house was built by the local boy scout troop, so I guess those crazy Alabama kids hauled that shit in on their shoulders. Nice.

About an hour after the waterfall, we started passing some rowdies from the other direction, but they were all cool, more or less. They asked if there was a waterfall from where we came, and were shocked I told them it was about an hour back. Because they'd already come a long way.... which is where we still had to go. Sigh.

About an hour later, we stopped for a break, and I realized I underestimated our water needs. I had been planning on my usage, not the water needs for two of us. Fuuuuck. But I was sweating like crazy and knew I wasn't dehydrated, so I stopped drinking and saved the rest for him. The 1 12 ounce bottle of water, and 16 ounces of gatorade. And we were about 40% through the hike, and 90% of our water gone. Uh oh. Stupid move. I decided to push on, and see if we could refill water at the turnaround point, at which there was supposed to be a campground. Worst case scenario, I KNEW we wouldn't die, we just might get back thirsty. It was only 4 miles without water, max. Not dangerous IMO, just uncomfortable. But Will was worried, so I started getting the "what if's." And then there was another fork in the trail, and no good markings for a really long time (which you hate, because you're just looking for a blaze marker and you're not sure if you should turn around and try the other fork, so you keep going knowing you'll have to backtrack farther.... grrrrr).... when we passed a middle aged couple coming from the other direction. I stopped for a breather, said hi, and asked, "What's the next anything up the trail?" We chuckled and chitchatted for a moment, they were impressed we came from where we came from, over the mountain. They confirmed we were still on the trail, and only about a quarter mile from the end. Sweet. Said our how-do's, and pushed on.

Saw the waterfall, Will was too tired and concerned to want to stop and play in it. That was a mistake, I thought we'd hit it on the way back with a fresh supply of water, and dip our toes.... optimist that I am. Got to the end of the trail, the restrooms were primitive with no running water, and no other water source that I could find. I asked a few peeps in the parking lot if they had water I could buy, I had plenty of money. Strangely enough, there was only diet cokes. Ok, I bought a couple. They were ice cold, so that was nice. William and I had a little pow-wow while we rested. I didn't have a map, but I saw it, and I remembered a road running more or less from where we parked, to here. I decided we would make better time on asphalt rather than twisty trails, and we were gonna haul ass the 3-4 miles back on the road, and not even miss any water. I would be able to do 4 flat (road grading is a shitload more gentle than trail grades) miles in 90 minutes, my training taught me that. NBD.

So we girded our loins, and I was secretly glad that WIlliam was going to get another lesson in creative problem solving.... I have stated to him more than once that "There are no problems, there are only opportunities for creative problem solving." Low on water, so we're going to alter the path back to make better time. "What if we get lost?" "Then I'll flag someone down." "What if no one comes?" "Then we spend an interesting night on the side of the road, under the poncho." Cell signal was almost nonexistent in this forest, btw. Anyway, we hit the literal road with high confidence, and a mental route to take back. A couple miles, there should be a gravel road to the right, and that should take us directly to the truck. We saw that gravel road when we parked.

We made it 25 yards out of that parking lot when that couple came back out of the woods. "Hey," the wife shouted, "Do you guys want a ride to your truck? We're going that way."

I was actually excited for the challenge... but I knew Will was concerned, and if I was wrong about my memory-map, we were in trouble. So I decided to not be obstinate, and accept their hospitality.

They were nice, and for the record, my memory-map was dead-on-balls accurate. We drove the exact route I'd guestimated. I'd have gotten us there.

But we missed playing in the waterfalls, on the way back.

I'm calling it a win.
Fuuuuuuck YOU.

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Postby GORDON » Fri Aug 02, 2019 5:15 pm

BTW, both hikes were in the Talladega National Forest. On alltrails.com you can find them as the "Porter's Gap" trail, and the longer one was the "Chinna...something Silent Trail."
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