I'm headed for the Appalachian Trail this summer and this past weekend I went on a four day backpacking trip to kick off my spring break and test out my gear and my legs. I went with my two friends and fellow Math teachers Nathan and Carlos out to Sam Houston National Forest to the Lone Star Hiking Trail. It was beautiful and difficult which fit the bill perfectly.

Day one we got a late start starting at trail head 1 and hiked only five miles before the rain threatened and we sequestered ourselves to our tents for the night. A long night with the rain beating down but my tent performed like a champ and I stayed dry. 

Day two we got a fairly early start and hiked about 11 miles to Lake Conroe. Trail conditions were muddy at times, but not overly difficult. I twisted my right ankle mildly which slowed me down some, but nothing too painful. We spent a lovely afternoon at the lake napping and reading and then built a fire to better enjoy the chilly evening. 

Day three was the difficult one. Our pace had been so good we decided to extend a bit and take a side loop on the way back rather than down the known path; in hindsight not a great decision. Trail conditions were pretty bad (read awful) with lots of thick mud that sent us into the brambles to keep dry for several miles. And then we reached a section of trail that was basically a swamp and we had to wade through two foot high water for several hundred yards. I was the only one who had packed extra shoes and socks so I fared the best from our adventure in the swamp. I did learn that I am somewhat afraid of water snakes. Not that I saw any, but moving through their territory was pretty unpleasant for my psyche. The difficult trail conditions slowed us down incredibly and we opted to cut back to the main trail to save a few miles. We covered about 11 miles that day, but could have easily done five more if conditions had been better. We made camp and fell asleep exhausted. 

The last day we pushed out another 9 miles to make it back to my car. The trail was mostly good, but by this point we all had enough aches and fatigue that the game was mostly mental. My ankle bothered me in fits and spurts, mostly just holding back my pace.

I am overall pleased with the outing. My gear choices were all on point and other than my ankle (which is fine now) I felt great. I ran a couple of miles the day after I got home and my hips were sore from the adjustment to carrying the weight of a pack, but my legs and rest of self felt perfect. Yay body. I realize this post has been more technical than my typical of late, so let me add that the weekend was also just fun and cleansing for the soul. So nice to get away from school, away from the city, away from my phone, and just walk in nature.

That said, man was I glad for a shower when it was all said and and done. 


Melody said...

When and where are you hitting the AT? If you're at all near my neck of the woods I'd love to see you. Of course, I do realize it is pretty long. (P.S.--you are super-skinny.)

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