Now that I have no lingering pain from the 20 mountainous miles I've hiked in the past seven days, here are a few photos from my trip last week. I'm actually really glad that the knee thing doesn't seem to be anything permanent. I'm not even getting the slightest stiffness in that knee today. It was already getting better yesterday at the Tech game, but it was making the steps in the parking deck and around the stadium a little difficult. Today I don't even feel stiffness there, much less any pain.
There aren't any photos from the first day of my hiking trip because it was too rainy to get out the camera. There aren't many photos from the family Thanksgiving camping thing because no one who wasn't there would be all that interested. I will have a few on my baby blog later tonight, though.
This is pretty much the exact spot where Mickey and I camped one day less than a week ago. Bryson Gap is about five miles into the Benton MacKaye trail after it splits from the Appalachian Trail. This is actually the morning of our second day. It looks sunny here because it was. It was a nice change after the twelve hours of rain that defined our waking hours the previous day. I think the sign may have actually been a part of our camp structure.
Do you know the last time I wore gloves? I'm pretty sure it was a couple of years ago when we went to Denver for Christmas and there was a blizzard. This was honestly the coldest I've been since that time in my life. Actually, I was colder this time because I wasn't wet in Denver. A guy residing only an hour's drive from Florida doesn't have much use for gloves in his everyday life. Despite my inexperience with gloves, I actually meant to bring my own pair but they somehow never made it into my pack. Luckily for me, Mickey is Mr. Boy Scout and had two pairs and gave me these for the duration of the trip. Unluckily for him, this was the much warmer pair. The pair he kept for himself had holes in the fingers. As warm natured as I am, he should have switched back with me. I wouldn't have suffered any, but this is just more proof that Mickey is much nicer and less cynical than he seems.
Mickey packing up his gear. He was moving really slow that morning. I've got a feeling it had something to do with his abnormally low bodyfat levels keeping him from conserving body heat. Seriously, the guy barely has enough natural insulation to survive a summer evening. I had to sit around and wait for like three minutes after my gear was all packed. Did you know that sitting around and waiting actually makes you colder? It does.
This is about a half mile from the exit of the trail. There was a little spur trail that went to a little water fall and this is the view I had while lying on my back on a boulder next to the falls. The Benton MacKaye was a bit beyond my fitness level (at least at the pace we were going) so I was entirely exhausted by this point in the trail. While Superman Mickey scrambled around the boulders trying to set up the perfect shot of the falls, I laid on the cold rock and watched the oaks and hemlocks (there were some huge hemlocks along this part of the trail) sway in the strong gusts of wind that punctuated our trip out. The funny thing is that the rest of the trail out was almost entirely flat and by the time I got to my car I didn't even feel tired anymore. I was a little surprised when I got home later in the day that my thigh and calf muscles weren't that sore at all. The last time I went hiking, my leg muscles were so sore that I could barely walk when I sat or stood still too long. This time all of my limping seemed to be emanating from my overworked knees and feet.
This has nothing to do with the Benton MacKaye trail. My cousin David picked up a really interesting album before we met up for the family Thanksgiving at Amicolola Falls State Park. This is actually what the album looks like. That's not cover art. The music is actually played by flipping the on switch at the bottom left and plugging your headphones or speakers into the jack port on the right of the jewel case. The music itself was interesting, but the fact that it all came from this tangle of electrical components was pretty sweet.
And to keep you from feeling left out (especially Mickey who actually did go camping with me but wasn't able to start a fire due to the rain), here's a video of a campfire.