Ain’t No Mountain High Enough!
Today I achieved a goal I set out for myself very shortly after I moved out here and started this new chapter. Obviously, I have been hiking quite a bit. Well the first time I hiked Mt. Wittenberg I about nearly died (Ok, I didn’t nearly die, but it felt that way.) Why? Because the first 2 miles are basically straight uphill. How steep you ask? Well, in those 2 miles the hiker gains nearly 1,300 feet in elevation. So, yeah, it’s pretty steep.
When I took the picture on the left it was in anticipation of doing a post solely on Wittenberg and my relationship with trying to “conquer” it. Instead I have fallen into quite a cozy relationship with this hike. The usual hike is about 4.5 miles in total and takes a little over an hour and a half. In an effort to continually push myself I try to improve my time up the mountain. So far I have taken 8 minutes off of my time. Weee!
Since I tend to work better with a goal in mind, I set a goal to hike what, to me, was the hardest hike I could think of. Why make things easy on myself? The hike involves starting with Wittenberg, continuing on for another 2.2 miles on fairly easy terrain until you turn back around and hike another 750 feet in approximately 2 miles, with the final stretch consisting of 2.7 miles of either flat or downhill terrain. All in all it is nearly 9 miles (8.8 for those of you who are counting, but doesn’t 9 miles have a certain ring to it?) So the challenge in this hike is two-fold, it’s not just the elevation, but also has a bit of endurance.
I have had this hike in the back of my mind for about the last two months while I was building my strength. Well, I decided that today was the big day. It was chilly and grey, which might have put a few people off, but I think these conditions were ideal. It meant that, for a weekend day, the trails were fairly empty and the weather helped to keep me from over-heating. One little fun side-effect, I was so warm and it was so chilly that condensation actually started forming on the outside of my sweatshirt. It’s true!
At the start, it was a bit rough going, some days I hike Wittenberg and feel great and some days I grin and bear it. Unfortunately, today was a grin-and-bear-it day, not the best start for the tough hike. However, I continued on my trek. I was able to recover a bit in the 2.2 miles, which normally has a great view, but today was not about views. (Oh! But, I did see a bobcat during this stretch!) And then I had to turn around and face the next uphill battle. At this point I was a bit hungry, next time I need to bring at least one more snack, one apple did not cut it. But I pushed on and knew that once I got over the last hill it would be easy sailing. The last bump in this hike is the downhill bit, which is also steep. Let’s just say that I never looked up to enjoy the scenery during this bit, I did not trust my legs and I was sure that I would trip if I didn’t identify each and every tree root, rock and slippery leaf. The final 0.8 miles are on a very flat and wide trail. When I hit this stretch it was smooth sailing! It took me approximately 3 hours to do this hike, not too bad if I do say so myself.
So, one goal accomplished, I wonder what crazy hike I will think of next.