So I may have mentioned I was taking my first-ever hike in the Shenandoah today. I had been whining about how we had to go for months and finally the DH and I and another couple we're friends with settled on this weekend. I was a little slow getting the information together and sending out the email, so I wasn't sure anyone was really coming, but ten minutes after we pulled into our McDonald's rendezvous point (and despite the fact that google betrayed me on its location and I had to call everyone and reroute them before they arrived), there were nine people there, plus a doggy!
We started high up and hiked down (don't recommend this, but more on that later). The views were spectacular:
We got to hike around a number of waterfalls (and some members of the party, who shall remain nameless, even hopped in):
Doggy particularly enjoyed all the water diversions.
Look at that view!
We got all the way down to the swimming hole at the bottom - but unfortunately, not being forewarned about a swimming hole, we didn't bring swimming gear. (Next time - plus we'll bring a priest so we can have Mass on the mountain, instead of everyone scrambling to find an evening Mass that's late enough! My DH and I went to Vigil on Saturday, but admittedly I only let people know we were going about noon on Saturday, so it wasn't easy for everyone to do that...)
I also tried to snap a shot of the local wildlife, but unfortunately the doe was not waiting around for her close-up.
Some funky mushrooms I found were more obliging:
Unfortunately, by the time we got to the bottom, we realized the trail didn't loop back around to our cars. We had already been hiking for hours (and gone about three-plus miles), but we had to go back - uphill. I jog and I'm really not totally out of shape, and it wasn't hideously steep, but the hike back took over two hours and it almost killed me. I lagged behind everyone else, after I realized that I just couldn't avoid stopping all the time unless I went at my own unimpressive pace.
All told, we were out there over five hours. It was a fabulous day - perfect weather and great people to go with. A smashing success! So we're planning our next ventures. (Possibilities: camping trip in the park with our married couple friends - we have a tent that never gets used!; a hike on the Billy Goat Trail some time soon; another hike where we go uphill when we get there and downhill after we're tired; tubing down the Shenandoah all day when the summer gets really hot (this sounds so fun).) We're already talking about going to Gettysburg with our buddies in two weeks (next weekend we're headed back to MI for a visit).
I felt so good about the massive amount of exercise I got - almost eight miles of hiking, half uphill! - but then we ended up going to this Italian place to eat. All I wanted was a chicken sandwich and an ice cream cone...but even though I passed up the pasta dishes with the heavy cream sauce, I left with my tummy in hideous pain from putting too much into it. What is wrong with me? No room at all for an ice cream cone. But, I have decided that I'm going to start using the gym at work and at least doing some stuff with weights - maybe the discipline with jogging will somehow follow. I want to look in the mirror and see fabulous, and I'm not there. Maybe I'll start doing step aerobics at home? OK, that's not likely. But I may try that fruit-veggies-and-protein diet (as long as dairy is allowed! Is it?).
I didn't think about being infertile once (although the endo I thought about - a five-hour hike is a challenge for the digestive system). I did briefly think about all our friends who would have loved to come but couldn't leave the kids home...