Lessons From a Not-So-Successful Hiking Trip

I had a pretty terrible time on one of my early hiking trips way back in the day.  My boyfriend (now husband) and I went to North Carolina with some friends and met up with one of their friends who worked at Mt. Mitchell.  He took us to a nearby mountain for hiking one day and it was a disaster.  Even though I was young and in pretty good shape (walking, biking, and working out on the stair climber– I had even hiked to the top of Half Dome), as soon as we go on the trail it started ascending and I started complaining.  The weather was hot and humid and I just could NOT breathe.  I was completely unprepared for a hike up a mountain, I just didn’t realize it.  I figured that since I got regular exercise I could easily do it. Very luckily for me, my friends really liked me and I’m pretty sure they have forgiven all my complaining on that grueling (to me) hike that day.  
THIS IS WHAT I LEARNED:  
I don’t think that hike was very difficult for anyone else in our group.  I’m not a wimp, it just takes me longer to acclimate to higher elevations, heat, and humidity.  
Again, it takes time to acclimate– this breaking-in time may different for everyone.
Know your limitations.  This might take a few attempts!  But it is SO important to get to know and listen to your lungs and legs.
Don’t be afraid to talk about your limitations to your hiking companions.  In fact, it is ESSENTIAL to an enjoyable experience for all. A good friend and hiking companion will choose a trip that everyone can do– challenge is great and can be fun and rewarding, but too much is, well, too much.
Have a good and positive attitude.  Try to bite your tongue unless you are approaching a medical emergency!
Plan your trip with friends and family who will still love you at the end of the trail!
A perfect reason to rest and take a picture! Great Smoky Mountains National Park 2012.

A perfect reason to rest and take a picture! Great Smoky Mountains National Park 2012.

Enjoy the scenery.  Stop.  Rest.  Take pictures.  Breathe.  Drink plenty of water.  Take really good snacks.  And don’t let the smallest of flowers or the really cool bugs and critters go unnoticed!

Happy Trails,
Ginger
 Originally posted on January 27, 2013 by Ginger.

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