This hike almost lead to my COMPLETE undoing…I’ll explain after all the initial STUFF.
Directions and such here: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/htnf/recreation/recarea/?recid=65574&actid=50
The Low Down:
3.5 Miles roundtrip- Strenuous as fuck.
Wear layers in the winter, sun protection in the spring and summer. I would suggest that you wear pants to avoid scratches.
Hiking Boots would be best. Loose rocks and snow.
Sun Block is a must no matter what time of year. Sunglasses and a hat (a warm one in the winter) are a good idea.
Cell Service? Ha!
WATER, WATER, WATER
Indulge in a snack when you get to your destination.
Only Kid that LISTEN WELL can do this trail.
THERE ARE NO TRASH CANS. PACK IT OUT!
I almost hung up my hiking boots after this one. I have ALWAYS wanted to do this hike but the arthritis in my knees has held me back a bit when it comes to longer trails and switchbacks. I also forgot about ALTITUDE and Elevation (7000+ feet). In the first 1.6 miles, you climb 1100 ft. I had to sit down every 1/4 mile because I couldn’t catch my breath. When I made it to the bottom of the switchbacks, I almost turned around and headed back- but I didn’t because I’M A BIG, BRAVE DOG!
As I head up the switchbacks, I meet various folks along the way and a LOT of dog friends too! I FINALLY make it ALMOST to the top and I cop a rock. This skinny, trophy wife comes hiking by (with her 100 year old husband) in her Nike Running Shoes- HOLDING HER GUCCI PURSE- and asks ME if I’m alright?! Ummm…I think your HUSBAND needs a respirator, Hun. No offense to SKINNY, TROPHY WIVES but…it’s my blog so deal with it. Anyway-
The View from the Top
So here’s the COMPLETE UNDOING part…
I can’t find boots that fit me correctly. I never could. When I go downhill, not only do my knees kill but my toes SMASH against the boots. The pain is excruciating but I grin and bear it because I LOVE to hike. It took me next to FOREVER to get OFF the switchbacks and it was completely downhill to get from there to the car. I practically crawled. I called myself EVERY name in the book because I couldn’t walk like a normal, skinny young, healthy PERSON. I was NOT a Big Brave DOG!
The car came into view and I couldn’t get to it fast enough. I. Was. Done.
“I will NEVER hike again. I’m such a joke. I could never GO with anyone because they would think I was OLD and fat and incapable…”
Then I stopped and realized that I MADE it off that mountain ALL BY MYSELF. No rescue helicopter. No Hot Rangers searching the Pines (bummer that though). No cadaver dogs looking for my body. Slowly, carefully- I achieved what I set out to do- I hiked Mary Jane Falls. AND I took some GREAT SHOTS! AND I got to PLAY IN THE SNOW!
AND…I forgave myself for not being 25 years old and a Triathlete.
Will I do this again? Maybe.
It was such a beautiful place to see and I DID enjoy myself (even though I verbally abused myself for 1.6 miles!)