The long and winding road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear
I've seen that road before.
It always leads me here,
Leads me to your door
So, as I mentioned before, Monday was a very strange day for me. I felt really good all morning, even pushing the kettle bell while bear crawling across the floor. I was happy with my 5K and felt like I really pushed as hard as I could. I was in a good place and felt ready for the afternoon hike. I knew going in it was hard, I knew going in it was 5.5 miles. I didn't know the terrain was going to be extreme, I didn't know the ups and downs would get to me. I didn't know wobbly bridges would await me and I sure didn't ever suspect that I would be finishing in the dark.
I have done some decent sized walks in the past and been ok. I'm slow no doubt about it. I figured I would finish last of the campers who completed it. No big deal. What I have never done in the past is head out on a hike in the afternoon, after doing a 5 K in the morning and 3 .5 more hours of exercise on top of it. I remember seeing this sign and thinking that can't be right I had to have been hiking for at least two miles, no way can it be 4.6 miles back. I think I should learn to trust signs more than the faulty odometer in m mind. I was already starting to fatigue.
I saw a lot of stuff that looked like this. Steps going up, steps going down, and some that seemed to do both. I have never stepped over and around more tree roots, tree limbs, and tree branches... heck even whole trees.
I am not sure what is up with the wild life in upper Minnesota but it sure doesn't seem ver afraid of humans... This guy mocked me by literally posing about 10 inches from my foot.
Here's what the hoopla is all about. The famous split rock, that gives the river, the state park and the lighthouse its name. I know what you are thinking.... big damn deal its two rocks, I'm thinking the same thing
The running question through most of the first half of the hike was do you see a bridge yet? The bridge was identified as the halfway point. Although my wonderful guide Kelly assured me it was past half way, I think she was just trying to be nice. If you look close you can pretty much see the twofold terror in my eyes. First off the bridge I'm standing on is not exactly steel girders and cement and seemed to make a strange noise with each step and secondly I realized I was a little over two hours into this hike. And starting to feel all that exercise, and lack of food.
It started to dawn on me that this was going to take me 4+ hours. I wasn't sure I had it in me. I started to worry, started to think of alternatives. There were none. I was slowing down and we were on a loop hike and I was in the middle. Most everyone else had finished. Another guide and camper backed back out to check on me. I was pretty much a wreck both physically and mentally. I was in perpetual search for somewhere to sit my weary ass, back and legs. I found one but it was not happy when I sat on it cracking, sliding and dumping me to the ground.
I just kept walking as far as I could, assuming my bent over position and dropping F-bombs. we reached the top at late dusk and I asked how much farther. I was told about a football field. It was darkening by the second and after I walked my first football field. I didn't seem much closer. Never ask a non sports fan for an analogy. My guide was using the tiny flashlight on her walkie talkie and I was slowly walking down the mountain as it got back outside. I walked 4-5 football fields easy. I was happy to see the ride although felt bad that some other campers had to wait for their ride back. I came home, crawled up the stairs and climbed into bed. I wrapped myself and shook. Got lots of visitors to check on me, and congratulate me, although I felt more like the conqueree than the conquerer. I just knew I had to be wrecked for days, and was already thinking of an excuse to take tuesday off. I got up the next day and went on my 6am hike. Peace, Love and and a new foe, Jim