August 16, 2010

Meanwhile....


Not that I think you are all hanging on the edge of your seats waiting for an update from me but I found myself really looking forward to reading about a friend's hike of saddleback and basin mountains and that has prompted me to report the only "walk in the park" that I have done this season....


First, I need to do my Bike for Multiple Sclerosis justice. It also factors into part of the hiking story that will eventually follow. On July 11th I completed the 30 mile bike ride in just under 4 hours. My team (of 2) raised $790 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society...some donations coming from followers of this blog. Thank You. In the two months preceding the bike ride, I did a lot of different training sessions. There were many 8 mile after work bike rides and one 22 mile ride. I went to the YMCA once and did 4 miles on the virtual bike which made me feel like I was inside a video game, also made me kinda dizzy and totally kicked my butt. I walked while my daughter was at dance class, I ran hills at 11:00pm, I ran on the treadmill for record lengths of time, lifted weights and actually enjoyed the elliptical machine at a hotel in Connecticut on one of the many baseball tournament weekends. I built my endurance up so much that I had to work hard at becoming winded. Yes, I am bragging because I have never been "in training" and so focused. It felt great. I was able to fit all of this into the busy baseball schedule that we keep each summer. But to this point there had been no high peaking going on!!!
On July 5th I decided that it didn't matter how hot it was going to be, a hike was necessary for the Monday holiday. I figured it would be good cross training for the bike ride and that I would have five days for my muscles to recover before the ride. My father and I decided we would do at least one if not two mountains from the Adirondack Mountain Reserve. We started out hoping to hike Upper and Lower Wolf Jaw. We confused the trails that peel off from the Lake Road and found ourselves at the start of the trail to rainbow falls and further west, closer to Gothics and Armstrong. Feeling good and hoping to knock off some peaks we nonchalantly decided that it would be possible to hike Gothics, Armstrong and Upper Wolfjaw! We spent several minutes at the rainbow falls and filled up our water bottles. The Beaver Meadow Brook trail alternated between easy level climbing to quite steep. We stopped often, drank enough water and at one stopping point I ate an entire cliff bar. I usually nibble on one bar for the entire climb. During my training for the bike event I consulted with my friend who is a personal trainer on the differences in my eating habits and strange cravings I had been having. She assured me this was normal and that my body was calling for extra food and at a different rate; hence the science of metabolism. Long story not very short....We were minutes from reaching the junction that would have taken us rather quickly over to Gothics. We stopped at a nice lookout point for a rest....I had recognized that I was hungry but was trying to wait for the summit of Gothics to eat. Suddenly my empty stomach told it's stubborn brain to GET SOMETHING TO EAT. I bent over to grab beef jerky from my pack and got very dizzy. I panicked immediately and sat down to try to stop the spinning. My father calmly told me to breath and got me a Gatorade from his pack. We never carry Gatorade and I have to say that I believe it was my saviour. I guzzled the Gatorade which obviously got sugar and other necessary nutrients into me quick...all the while I got a taste of the irrational thoughts that fill a person's head during a full blown panic attack. I pictured me having to be rescued by helicopter or worse yet passing out and dying right there below Gothics and Armstrong. This had never happened to me before and I was glad when the worst case scenario thoughts left my head. We sat for a little longer and I pushed myself to eat peanut butter and jelly. I guess the combination of heat, changes in my metabolism and just being female triggered a quick drop in blood sugar. As we moved on and reached the sign that said .5 to Gothics, I told my father that I thought it best we skip Gothics and head to the mountain that would get us closer to the car not further from it. Of course he agreed and Armstrong was a mile ahead. I felt OK, but nervous about that kind of spell happening again. I forced the trail mix at regular intervals rather than waiting for hunger. We made it to the summit of Armstrong after negotiating a few ladders on open rock with awesome views of the Gothics slides. The view from Armstrong was breathtaking. It was hot but breezy and my father and I both laid our heads on our packs and rested for nearly an hour. We jumped up and got on the trail after coming back to the reality that it was almost 3:00. Upper Wolf Jaw wasn't far off but the trail consisted of straight down scrambling that required lowering of oneself down the rock by holding on to tree branches. Just after the summit of UWJ, we came across two young men with little experience in the high peaks but one made reference to the other being an eagle scout. Their water filter had broke, they had one bottle of water between them and they were trying to make it to haystack. They were standing over a mud puddle asking to use our filter. All I could think was...you want to use MY filter in that muck? But we politely pulled it out and attempted to filter mud for them. One pump of the filter and it was obvious that it would not produce drinkable water for them. They opted to follow us to an actual water source and discussed changing their plans. At this point I offered to lend them my filter to keep them from having to cut their trip short. They were surprised at my trust to let them ship it to me when they got back home. Ultimately they decided to go back to the ranger post and fill up with water, declining my offer. We parted before coming to a water source with us heading finally down the wedge brook trail toward the lake road. Wedge Brook is a soft trail that levels out just in the nick of time. I haven't learned learned from previous hikes to start out with moleskin on my heels as a preventive measure so the blisters from this trip were epic! (I had to squeeze my feet into my sneakers for the bike ride). We have decided to either carry Gatorade or packets of carbs/electrolyte energy. I had "honeyshots" in my pack for the bike ride that weekend and it provided much needed comfort as I was still scared of having a blood sugar emergency. Back at the car after twelve interesting hours.... Armstrong and Upper Wolf Jaw bring us to 25 out of 46.