Saturday, October 03, 2009

The Hiker

Author: Susan L. Prince

"I'm a hiker!"

This announcement comes because I completed a total of thirteen miles of trails in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. These were all day hikes, which is a term I learned on this trip to The Smokies. Day hikes are, get this, hikes one does during the day! And they are not too long that they can't be completed within a day. Oh yeah! I have the terminology down! Uh-huh!

Oh, I also learned what a "sherpa" is, and teased Ellen that I was her sherpa. Actually I was more of a mule. A sherpa is a guide, I didn't guide, I carried the backpack. LOL

So I was advised to purchase special socks for hiking, socks that will wick moisture. Yep! Listen to me and my bad hiker lingo! I learned that these socks help keep the feet dry and prevent blisters. I had happy feet on this trip and I am thankful to my friend for preparing me so well.

I also had some all-terrain hiking boots which are of utmost importance when it is wet and muddy while walking rocky trails. They also lended support to my ankles which have been sprained so many times that they have little support of their own.

I got to use a walking stick, or hiking pole, as well! Woohooo! This thing was an essential because it really helps to steady your gait while walking on slippery rock surfaces and uneven terrain.

It had rained many days prior to our trip to the mountains and threatened to rain the entire time we were there, so I prepared by taking a good rain jacket. It served me well and kept me dry the first couple of days when it rained some. Thankfully, the majority of the rain cleared out for our last two days and only a short spontaneous shower crept up now and then. The weather was quite cooperative afterall.

A hat is also a good idea for many reasons. It can keep the sun off of your head to help keep you cooler and for me, my ballcap helped shield my glasses from the rain. I can't see a thing without my glasses, so I have to wear them in the rain and that doesn't always work out so well. A hat will also protect you from ticks that fall from the trees onto your head.

One more essential thing for the hiker; the backpack. We filled that pack with water which is something you should never go without on a hiking trip. We packed plenty of water and other food that would provide energy for climbing the steep, strenous mountain sides. My friend Ellen also packed things like a First Aid kit, flashlight and a whistle in case we had a mishap and needed help.

I learned a lot on my first real hiking adventure. Most of all I learned that I LOVE IT! I will go back someday. I can't wait to share the experience with Katie! It's gonna be so grand!

The previous post has some pictures from the adventure on my Flickr and you can also see more pics on Facebook; here, here and here.

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