“At first an ordeal and then an accomplishment, the daily run becomes a staple, like bread, or wine, a fine marriage, or air. It is also a free pass to friendship.”
~ Benjamin Cheever, Strides

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Another wake-up call

Sundays are my long hike days in my current training plan.  As of late, childcare logistics has required me to stick close to home and utilize High Banks Metro Park for these hikes.  I've been rocking it out.  18 min/mile is fast when you are hiking and wearing a heavy pack!

Today, I got another wake-up call.  :)

My friend Richard is climbing Rainier next weekend.  We ran 12.3 miles together on Saturday morning and went to breakfast afterwards.  We talked about how we hadn't managed to hike together yet, and suddenly Sunday came up.  He was planning to drive South to Clear Creek Park to get in some great hills for his last pre-Rainier hike.  My friend Deb who was at breakfast with us, heroically volunteered to be at my house at 6:30 am this morning to watch Avery so that Richard and I could go together, and try to get down there prior to the full 90 degree heat hit.
Wait.  What???
I drove, because I live farther North than Richard does, so he was arguably more on my way.  I brought my Hikes Near Columbus book with me to show him this hike I'd found down south that claimed to have 4200 feet of elevation gain (this is unheard of in central Ohio).  His immediate comment was "let's do it."

Wait. Say what????  

I kept demurring and indicating we could stick with the Clear Creek plan because this was his last hike pre-Rainier, and he insisted on trying the new spot.  So, after a brief stop for coffee and donuts, we drove to Tar Hollow State Park to look for the Logan Trail.
A view from our parking spot
Richard thinks this was the big hill we went up.
We were so excited to get going, that we saw a sign saying Logan trail and the requisite "red blazes" described in my hiking book and took off.  Straight uphill to start - alright!  Then it got dicey.  This trail dumped out by a pond with a slide and someone blasting music from a nearby lodge looking thing.  As we approached the lodge, two people came running out to block our progress.  We explained where we wanted to be, and they said that we were on private campgrounds.  We were both confused, because we were still on state park grounds, but okay.  They told us it happened a lot and promptly told us where to turn differently (practically at the trailhead).  Um, if it happens a lot, perhaps better trail signs are in order???  No, just me?
Maybe something like this?
We went back to the beginning.  On the way back, I took the hiking book back from Richard and read the directions.  Based on those, we hadn't even started from the correct side of the parking lot.  So, we went all the way back and tried to follow these directions.  Richard saw the Hempstead Trail sign (which was MENTIONED in the directions) and we took off.  Eager to get on the right track.  (We'd already been hiking for over a mile at this point).  As we crossed a bridge, I got uneasy, the directions said don't follow the downstream path that crosses the stream.  I read this aloud to Richard, but I think he misheard me.  About 0.6 miles down THIS path, I insisted this wasn't right.  It was pretty level and just too easy.  Plus, we hadn't passed the park road as listed in the trail instructions.

We stopped and looked at the park map we'd gotten from the park office.  It had all the elevation circles on it and was VERY HARD TO READ.  It did have descriptions and mileage for each trail.  Hempstead trail said 2.5 miles, family friendly.  Oops!  Not where we wanted to be.  Re-read the directions, it sad veer left at the Hempstead trail sign, not to get on the Hempstead trail.

Back to the start.  AGAIN.
If only Avery had been with us - "Go THAT way Mommy"
This time, I looked for exactly what the book described.  The actual trailhead was partially concealed by overgrowth and the front of the trail.  Words cannot truly describe it.  I really, really regret not taking a proper picture.  I promise to take one when I go back next time.

This trail started straight up.  We climbed OVER and UNDER trees.  It is rather hard to go UNDER a tree with a 43 lb pack on your back, just saying.  We went up for about a mile.  Parts of it were as steep as the Dam hill.  It was a BEAST.  I was huffing and puffing and trying not to die.  Part way up, Richard said we were taking a break when we reached the top of the hill.  I readily agreed.  We'd already hiked well over an hour with our added detours.

After our break, we proceeded downhill for even longer.  Footing was treacherous, and I'm wussy, so Richard had to hold back here.  We both kept lamenting that we weren't wearing PANTS instead of shorts because the brambles were CRAZY.  Single person trail is being generous in describing this trail.  Then Richard made the comment, "this is gaiter territory," referencing the gaiters we'll use on the mountain.  Wait.  I had those in my pack!  We promptly stopped and Richard I insisted I put them on.  They made a tremendous difference, but I still have scratches on my legs from before Richard thought of them.
After we went down this tremendous downhill and back up again, we paused to consult our map.  Based on what we could tell, we'd only finished one leg of the 6 leg trail, and we were already about 2 hours in to our 3 hour planned hike.  After some discussion, we decided to turn around, head back to the car and call it a day.  I may have been whimpering internally about this decision because that meant going up that crazy long downhill we'd just come down.  It. Was. A. Beast.  I thought I was dying.  Richard was killing it, and kept calling backwards to make sure I was okay.  He also called back that we were taking another break at the top of it.  I didn't argue.

After our break, we still had to climb over and under trees again, and this time, I made Richard take a picture of me for the blog.  I know, I totally failed as a blogger today from a pictures perspective.  In my defense, this hike was harder than normal.
Action shot!  Observe the Gaiters in use.
Both of our shirts were so sweat soaked when we finished that we could wring them out.  Ew.  Luckily, we'd both brought a fresh shirt.  I was so grossed out that I didn't even bother trying to do it on the sly, I flashed my hot pink sports bra at the campers who were staring at us as we took off our packs, and changed.  I even said to Richard, "sorry, you get to be flashed."  I know, I'm classy that way.

To add to my classiness?  I'd noticed that my car was low on gas on the way there and assumed we'd get it on the way back.  Things got dicey as the car said "approximately 13 miles to empty," and Google maps said the nearest gas station was 14 miles away.  I like to add a little excitement to my hikes.  At the same time, I was almost positive we'd passed a closer gas station. We turned off the air conditioning and the radio and prayed we wouldn't have to walk a mile to get gas.  LOL.  Luckily, I'd remembered correctly and we found a gas station with "8 miles to empty".  Also, luckily, Richard was perfectly willing to laugh about it.  He even bought me a Gatorade while I was filling up the tank.

It was a good day.  I learned a valuable lesson about how High Banks really does or doesn't prepare me for Rainier, and will definitely be driving South for the remainder of my long Sunday hikes.

Have you ever been lost on a workout??

Have you ever flashed innocent bystanders because of a workout?


  1. Sounds like a fun(ish?), interesting morning...!

  2. I flashed your neighbor once while pumping. Does that count? Good lord, you guys had quite the adventure! This may be the first time I ever I read it on your blog before talking to you about it. Glad you got to go with Richard and explore something new!

  3. Sounds like quite an adventure! It also sounds like this new-found park is the place for you!
    I haven't been lost, exactly. More like "I wonder where this road goes?" Followed by, "Now, how do I get back?"
    Flash? Yes. Ragnar is good for all things indecent. :-)

  4. Oh the stories I could tell you about misreading maps and getting lost! My dad was an expert at both. The upside is I can find and follow even the faintest herd path...

  5. You're amazing! And what a day... so glad you didn't run out of gas to top it all off!


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