My daughter and I have a Jack Sprat-type dichotomy. She is a snow bunny and I am a beach baby. She HATES summer and yearns all year for ski season, as she is quite the snowboarder. I hate how painful the cold is for my body and avoid actually being in the snow (although I love to go to our Tahoe condo and hang out indoors while the family snowboards)...but love the ocean and come out of the water from snorkeling, swimming, and scuba diving long enough only to sun on the beach. Our Kona condo is one of my most favorite places to be in this whole wide world, whereas my daughter HATES lying in the sun, and sunburns easily.
So this week I was THRILLED, much to my daughter's genuine sorrow, that ski season is officially "OVAH!" Mountain High ski resort is closed. So now we can hit the summit of Wright Mountain from the Blue Ridge road trail!
So we packed up the car and kids and headed off to climb Wright Mountain, only to find the darn Blue Ridge forest road gate is STILL CLOSED! Aargh! Are we ever going to be able to get down that road? What's up with that???
So instead, we drove on to Vincent Gap and headed out on the Mount Baden-Powell trail to get some exercise and work my lungs. There was even a little MG like Wiggie's waiting in the lot, which I took as a good sign.
It was a beautiful day, really, with the sun out and shining although some haze to our normal blue sky. It was cold enough still at that elevation that I had to pull on my thermainsulate jacket and hiking pants over my shorts.
We thought we'd just go an hour in, but didn't even accomplish that thanks to all the snow. At first there were only patches, then fields, then finally nothing but snow. We lost the trail in the snow at just under 7000' elevation.
I did get to see what Ken meant about it being a pretty relentless grade. The trail was a really good workout for both my lungs and my legs. My knees wanted to be a problem, as they've been giving me issues all week; but I refused to let them. I just took it slow and even asked for a helping hand on some of the real slide-y snowfields.
I note the hardest part for my legs is when I first start out. The lactic-acid burn is intense -- and I ate 2 bananas every morning during chemo to make sure my potassium level stayed good! Even though the potassium in my bloodwork is perfect, I can still tell the price by the fact I am the most out-of-shape for hiking I've ever been...except for the first time I did chemo. That time, I cdn't even walk for the first month afterward because my legs were so bad.
I do seem to get my "walking legs" after a bit, though; so I don't think chemo has succeeded in beating the hiker forever out of me yet. And my lungs LOVE the workout at the higher elevation. I note it just almost automatically throws me into an ayurvedic type of breathing.
But swatting mosquitoes while climbing over snow just doesn't seem RIGHT. When we return to really do an assault on this trail, it will have to be when most of the snow is gone and with plenty of bug juice to keep the 'squitoes off me. I got bit several times in one 'squito patch of about 100'.
So after our little hike, we headed back to the forest station to find out when the Blue Ridge road will be open. "We need to get there before 4, I'm sure," I cautioned, knowing ranger stations/forest stations. Sure enough, the sign when we got there said their hours are till 4:00. We were there at 3:15, and it was already closed. So WHAT'S UP WITH THAT????
You know, this is a lot of bureaucratic obstacles for someone like me to put up with...in Alaska, I could go anywhere and it was just up to me to not die and leave no trace (which I did very successfully). Here, I can't even get to an area to go hiking without running into USFS BS.
Today, I am unhappy with the USFS' impediment of my training plans. I really wanted to go do Wright Mtn summit today. : (