Hiking 101

Let’s hear it for another first for the year!

Yesterday, my boyfriend, his son, and I went hiking at Frontenac State Park. I can honestly say this is the first time I’ve been on a true hiking path in the woods. It is a beautiful park that overlooks Lake Pepin. The weather was in the high 70s with sun, blue skies and a light breeze.

I should have realized the hike wouldn’t be a complete piece of cake when we started by going down a long series of half rotted wooden steps. But, it was a beautiful day and there weren’t any bugs biting, so we forged ahead. The trail became more difficult as the hillside became steeper. If you looked down to the left you could see the waters of Lake Pepin lapping the shore. If you looked up to the right, all you could see were trees and the sunlight poking through them.

We continued on and learned about the limestone that was mined in the park in the 1930’s. The views were spectacular and we could see why earlier settlers had established “Old Town” on that sight as well.

Every time we came to a trail map, we would assess where we were and which fork in the path we should take. Eventually, we thought we should start heading back to where the car was parked, or it would be a longer hike than we originally intended. When it came to choose between the “1/2 Way Trail” or “Campground” trails, we thought we’d take the “1/2 Way Trail” which sounded easier, as the campgrounds were quite a distance from where we were.

Though we won’t know whether we took the easier trail or not, I’d like to say the one we took was no stroll through the woods. It immediately began climbing the hillside and became steeper and steeper. There were stairs that would climb straight up, twist, and then climb straight up again. I started out at a rather fast pace, urging the others to continue without stopping. I thought stopping might make me lose my nerve or become tired faster. Every time we reached another landing, we thought we were almost to the top. Every time, we were wrong. When we had about three sets of stairs left, my calves were burning and I did not believe I’d be able to make it any further.

After taking a break for several minutes, we continued on and finally reached the summit. Thankfully, the rest of the way back to the car was flat and paved. The boyfriend teasingly said, “Guess we’re not going to trade all of our biking gear in for hiking gear, huh?” I then told him we wouldn’t this week, but that we should try the hike every weekend to gauge my athletic progress. We’ll see about that, though!

As we’re planning our trip to the next state park on our list, I can’t believe that I’m being turned into such an outdoors person. What surprises me even more is that I’m starting to like it and am enjoying being active on weekends, rather than sitting in the house watching television. It looks like my state park permit is going to be one of my best and most used purchases of the summer.

This entry was posted in August 2009. Bookmark the permalink.

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