So, Saturday morning Jon and I decided to take the dogs and go hiking. We googled and figured Clark's Creek would be the best place to go because there would be beautiful waterfalls etc. We packed up a backpack, slipped on tennis shoes (not hiking boots because we aren't hardcore), and took off around 9:30. That is the last time anyone would see or hear from me until 6pm. If this is starting to read like a horror story, then I'm making the point I'm trying to make.
We got to Clark's Creek and set off on our journey. Now, let me just fill you in on what I expected out of the day. Every Thanksgiving Jon's family goes to a state park. There are plenty of "trails." Most are paved or at the least gravel. This is what I was assuming we would be doing. My thoughts were that we would be done around 2 and home by 3:30 and then I could get a run in. When we set off there was a gravel path. When there were steeper downhills, there were also a set of wooden steps to go down if you chose to. At this point I was thinking, "Well, this will be a nice day. It's a little steeper than I imagined, but there are stairs." We got about 1/4 of a mile in and there was a nice little sign that read something like this..."Primitive Trail. This trail is for experienced hikers. Must be in excellent physical health. 2.6 miles. Will take 3-5 hours to complete." The sign then points that you drop down a little into a small creek and follow the path that way. There are white reflective markers every so often so that you know you are going the right way. The sign should have read something like this, "Primitive Trail. Enter at your own risk. Death is imminent. Your cell phones will not work. You will get lost and at the very least break your leg."
Jon asked if I wanted to do that one. Our dog, Cooper, is a bit anxious and not too fond of other people so I figured why not. It would be better because there would be less people. I looked at Jon and said something like, "3-5 hours? That's bullshit. 2.6 miles doesn't take 3-5 hours. Even walking we can do this in like 2." Now, keep in mind this is my first actual hike and the sign says experienced hikers, but I assumed they just meant we don't want really old people doing this because they may break a hip or something.
So we are off to a good start. I'm feeling adventurous. Everybody is happy. There are some uphills that kind of suck, but I wasn't super worried about it. I just figured I would get a little more exercise than I had originally expected. About a half a mile in we get to a point where I pretty much have to go straight down about 10 feet. There are tree roots and very small places full of mud to put your feet (It was very rainy the previous week). The mud on this trail was like stepping on a tile floor full of dish soap and water. I made it safely, but barely and started kind of thinking, "Oh shit. This may not be what I thought it was going to be. " We even had to pick Judge up and put her on the ground because she looked at us like, "You guys are assholes and I'm not doing this shit." But then again we were like a quarter of the way done right? WRONG. SO VERY WRONG. Jon and I later came to the conclusion that the mapping was aerial and therefore did not take into account the up or downhills. Like you may walk a quarter of a mile uphill, but from an aerial view it only appears to be a few yards.
To make a VERY long story short, here are some of the highlights:
-I fell twice. Once I was walking downhill and hit a slick of mud and slid down. The second time I was pretty much just standing there and fell on my ass.
-We got full of mud. There was one point I took a step and I sunk almost to my knee.
-We got lost once. There was a white reflector on a tree across a creek. We went there and then continued on up a HUGE hill. When we got to the top Jon said there was no way that was the correct way to go because it would be really difficult to get down the other side. There were no white reflectors in sight. I pretty much slid back down on my butt as to not break an ankle.
-Towards the end EVERYONE had enough. The dogs were so exhausted. We were so exhausted. We had run out of water.
You guys may think I am a pansy, but I feel like I'm a pretty tough girl. This was like running warrior dash. Except like three times in a row. Anyone else ever done this?! Am I crazy? I'm pretty sure it was 6-7 miles. I am still sore. Although, we did get to see some pretty amazing views. I wouldn't trade the day for anything else, but I don't think you will catch me back there anytime soon either.