Sunday, May 17, 2009

Rim of the Gap Trail, South Carolina

In keeping my theme of exercise, I want to tell you about what I did yesterday. I hiked the Trail known as Rim the Gap, beginning from Jones Gap State Park, over to Caesar's Head State Park, around to Jones Gap Trail and back to the starting point. Total trail distance = 11.1 miles + getting to the trail head from the lot 0.5 miles. Here's another good description of the Rim of the Gap Trail. Let me back up. I went with my son and other Boy Scouts. We all carried pack packs of at least 25 pounds. Despite being warned that this route is ranked 10/10 in scenery but 9/10 for difficulty, I overestimated my stamina and started off with 36 pounds in my back pack. Based on my base weight of 124 pounds, this may not have been a smart choice especially, since I had never hiked this trail before. We went clockwise on the trails, but even if we had gone in the opposite direction, we still would have encountered a nearly 2,000 foot elevation rise. Add to this moderate intensity rain beginning shortly after we got on the trail which continued for about 2 hours. My glasses got completely steamed over and wet, so it made seeing the trail difficult. The path of course was muddy and at times resembled a stream. The rocks were slippery. Nearly every one slipped or stumbled. I slipped and grabbed onto a branch for support. Unfortunately it had thorns on it. I still fell. Oww! Some boys tripped, strained muscles or got scrapes and small cuts. About two-thirds of the way up, I jettisoned some weight, namely 2 two liters of water I delibrately carried to make this hike "a better experience." Crossing the streams after a rainfall was interesting too. They were full and flowing fast. Basically it was nearly impossible to cross without putting your foot in the water. Keep marching guys is all we say do, despite wet feet. Several streams had wires strung across them to help you cross. I think several more of those streams would benefit from having wires. I thought going downhill would be a cake walk compared to going up. Like I said, the rocks were slippery and I ended up stumbling into trees a few times. My legs aren't young any more. In this phase is where I acutally felt the most discomfort. My Achilles tendons started to ache more and more with each passing step down. Through today, I could hardly walk or go up stairs. I'll live to tell the tale though and I think the boys actually had a decent time.

So what does this tell you? Get some exercise, in one way or another!

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