Monday, September 26, 2011

Image for September 26, 2011 - A Long, Soggy Hike

The Osprey Trail, First Landing State Park
I got out over the weekend for an extra long hike of twelve miles. It's been too long since I've challenged myself on the trail. All the two and five and seven mile hikes are fine, but the longer hikes are another game all together. Different pains can develop, this time the ankles are still sore. Mentally, twelve miles or more can be much more difficult as doubts creep in and can sap your energy. My strategy for handling long distances is to look at the map and break the trail into parts and create smaller, digestible chunks. There's an old saying, "When you eat an elephant, start with the tail." I like to design-in a series of little victories that I can swing from and build upon if the hike is more difficult then I expect.

Saturday's hike was a familiar one, though I had never done it from the Virginia Beach Ocean Front to home, always left from the house and headed east. It was a rainy, super humid day and I had the rain gear deployed for what good it did. I have yet to find rain gear that will keep the weather off of me, but will breath enough so that I'm not stewing in my own sweat ten minutes into the hike. One thing I've learned about hiking in the rain, is you can only get but so wet. No need to bitch about it, just pull up and the hood and start swinging your boots. The first part of the hike took me through First Landing State Park, or as we locals call it Seashore State Park. I took the Long Creek trail into the woods, then branched off for a bit on the Osprey trail to enjoy the shore line and to take in the biggest hill climb in the park, before rejoining the Long Creek Trail. One benefit of hiking in the rain is having the trail to myself and that was true except for one lone jogger and a couple of kayakers to break the solitude. Coming out of the park, I picked up the Cape Henry Bike Path and felt like a caveman shocked at the rush of traffic on Great Neck Rd. One aspect of this hike that I enjoy is the variety of environments that are traversed; from forest to suburbs and the option of a beach hike at the end. This time the rain and wind kept me off the beach, so when I came over the Lessner Bridge, I stayed along the road and picked up an extra mile or so detouring through Bayville Park. In a little over three hours, I had made it home. Soggier for my efforts, but with a renewed spirit and confidence that the next time I'm off for a hiking adventure in Scotland or wherever that I'll have what it takes to go the distance.

Happy Trails!