I HIKED Mt. LeConte, Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg, TN, 6,593 elevation... 5 miles up! - then- 5 miles down. We took the very challenging Alum Cave Trail... it's like 5 hrs on a stair-machine for me.
I am the largest woman in my group at 253 lbs and with a full backpack, this was VERY challenging for me... but I did it... IN THUNDERSTORMS!!!
The June heat was thick with the humidity for which Tennessee so well known... but I felt GREAT starting off, I had been training for this on my stair machine, climbing 3400 steps to 5400 steps many days...(in my air-conditioned studio).
NOTE TO SELF: MUST TRAIN OUTDOORS NEXT YEAR...
While climbing the first half, I became dizzy and light-headed, hard to breathe like I was having an asthma attach or something... I've never had asthma. This was something I'd never felt before! I began praying, concerned, knowing full well that even if I turned back I would not be able to call anyone from my cell phone because there were no cell signals this far into the mountains, even at the trail head.
My prayers were answered! A trained guide leading a group of hikers came by, hearing me describe my issues and told me my backpack chest strap was too tight, cutting off the main arteries leading to my arms. I loosened it and it made all the difference in the world.
We reached the halfway point, Alum Cave, and the rain began so we decided it was a good time to break and eat our lunch before continuing. As soon as I finished half of my chicken wrap, the rains stopped so I put on my faithful Mickey Mouse poncho (from my last visit to DisneyWorld) and we took off again.
Then in 5 minutes it POURED! Thunderstorms, winds, and heavy rain while we were on the toughest part of the mountain... the rocky edges where the path was a mere 3-ft wide and a clean drop-off.
I LOVED THE RAIN! It refreshed me and I was able to pick up my pace, in spite of the increased dangers of slick, wet granite beneath my feet.
The weather channel threatened thunderstorms for the entire weekend, and thunderstorms were the very thing I feared about this planned mountain hike and I almost canceled because of them, but I was pleasantly surprised that I LOVED how the rains cooled me down!
I LOVE HIKING IN THE RAIN!!!
I was wearing proper wicking clothing & my shoes were mesh... all dried easily at the top of the mountain which made it comfortable that evening. However, We hiked back down in the thunderstorms.
On the descent, I was a child again! I didn't need to care whether I would get wet or not-- I definitely would! So I splashed in every puddle and played in every waterfall without a care in the world!
I wore my BodyFit Media Armband and here are my stats:
SATURDAY, JUNE 18, 2011, CLIMBING THE MOUNTAIN:
• 7 HRS CLIMB
• 4 hrs 8 Min physical activity
• 16,812 steps (uphill)
• 4371 Calories burned
• 1.58 ave. daily METs
SUNDAY, JUNE 19, 2011, DESCENDING THE MOUNTAIN:
• 4 HRS 15 min descent
• 3 hrs 26 Min physical activity
• 16,943 steps (downhill)
• 3882 Calories burned
HAVE A GREAT WEEK EVERYBODY! STAY STRONG!