June 4, 2010

The Only Ten I see {part II}: A Great Smokey Adventure

Here's something to amuse those of you who are still at work on a Friday.

One of the most memorable days on my vacation in Tennessee was the day that we spent hiking through The Great Smokey Mountains. Let's add hiking through The Great Smokies to the list of things I never imagined that I would do. While this was at the top of Naomi's list of things we MUST do while we were there, my only knowledge of where we were headed was limited to the song we sang when we were little "On top of Old Smoky, all covered with snow
I lost my true lover, for courtin' too slow... "

While previously in college, I had considered myself more outdoorsy and adventerous, its only taken a few hiking trips, ESPECIALLY with Naomi to realize that hiking uphill a mountain wasn't my idea of a relaxing afternoon. The truth is...sadly, I am quite a wimp when it comes down to it. It was a big ugly pill to swallow...while Naomi and Joyce are mountain goats that prance up the mountain side, I'm more like a big brown bear that slowly bumbles the way up. Any time I spent at REI was just a facade. And this was a pill I KEPT swallowing while on the trail.

While I put my foot down at camping over night during our few short days in Knoxville, the anxiety in the pit of my stomach knew I wasn't getting out of trying to keep up with the two of them and their moms. So it was a good opportunity to practice one of my challenges for our trip: to not complain. about anything. I was still pretty embarrased though - I knew they picked an easier trail. It didn't help that we had encountered a family at the very beginning of the trail who had actually hiked the whole way up to the top of the trail were we were going on and stayed overnight at the top, way past the caves that we were going to hike to....and this family said that the beginning of the trail was easy but it got harder the higher up you went. The first 30 minutes in, both Auntie Biesha (Naomi's mom) and Auntie Annie (Joyce's mom) were BURNING me on the trail while I was struggling for air and MISERY hit. This was supposed to be the easy part.
This negative thought feedback badgered me through the first mile. I have not felt that lame in a long time for being the last in our group and for not being pleasant company...for not being a cool outdoorsy girl....for being so out of shape. I compared myself to EVERYONE who passed me on the trail and only grew and more discouraged and weighed down. I tried to discipline my thoughts and emotions to dwell on what I knew to be true and lovely and to just focus on putting on foot in front of me.
But I kept thinking "WHY didn't God make me more athletic? I'm only good at art...and art isn't good for ANYTHING."

Standing in two places at once. I kept thinking about "A Walk To Remember" and how UNCHEESY I thought that part was.

Nay is adveturous but we were pretty sure even she couldn't handle the 1,972 miles it would take to reach the end of the Appalachian Trail.

This is the last bridge we crossed together before I literally BEGGED them to leave me. Seriously Naomi and Joyce are two of the most athletic girls I know and they can hike several miles, no problem. I came prepared with two books and a sweatshirt, anticipating this moment would come.

However I was not prepared with the MOST important thing. Water. Joyce had one bottle for the three of us so I had none and it started to get pretty hot while sitting in the sun. And I was starting to overheat. I was sitting next to a stream but there was only so much I could do with splashing water on my face. So I was left with one alternative: keep hiking until I found a cooler spot to stop. 

After about 20 minutes of just sitting and moping I kept thinking to myself "What if I'm so close and I just quit and didn't make it??" I imagined Naoms & Joyce comin' back and telling me that I should have kept going because the caves were so cool.
Knowing that I needed to get my mind off the physical challenges, I started to listening to a sermon on my ipod and kept pushing myself. I don't know how to describe the rest of the trek, but an hour and a half later, I finally reached the caves. And yes it was cool. 

There was snow in patches of woods and the water from the snow was dripping tons of little drops off the cliff of the mountain. I took a seat, tried to not die and waited for Joyce & Naomi (who of course had reached our original destination and continued on to the harder and colder part of the trail.)

Joyce and Naomi, coming back down, right before they saw that I had made it.

Victory picture.

All SMILES at the end. Seriously so thankful that I survived and that it was a memorable day with all the soul searching that I had time to do. In retrospect, while I have to admit that I don't like hiking as much as I thought I did, I still love spending a day in the great outdoors.

What would you want to be doing on a Friday afternoon?

1 comment: