Saturday, July 20, 2013

Laurel Highlights Trail Hike

I know,  I's been a while. Life has been full of fun activities and time not spent at home, now that the weather is nice, and this time of year is extremely conducive to traveling. And we all know how addicted we are to that...
One of our big fetes for the year was to hike the Laurel Highlands Trail in western PA. It starts in Ohiopyle State Park and ends in Johnstown, where Adam's parents live, so it is extremely convenient. The trail is approximately 70 miles, but a fairly easy hike after the first 10 miles, so we were excited. We thought that 4 days over the July4th holiday weekend would be enough to complete it, since we could easily average 15-20 miles a day on much more difficult terrain. It was a beautiful, absolutely gorgeous actually, hike.
This being our longest hike we have planned, combined with my propensity for self-injury with my volleyball-ruined ankles, I decided the smart thing to do was to actually wear my ankle braces (that I am suppose to wear with any activity with unstable footing, but NEVER have). Well, that was the end of it. After the end of the first 18 miles, my left knee was KILLING me on the declines. I thought it was just the fatigue of the hike, since it hit at the end of the day, and thought a night of rest would cure it. Wrong...oh, so very very wrong. I think wearing the braces changed my gait and my knee was not tolerating it, there was no injury otherwise. We needed to average ~18 miles a day to complete the hike in time. The second day was slow going, but I could keep going. The declines were excruciating, but I could fly on the flats and uphills. Unfortunately, there was a lot of downhill and I was only able to accomplish 12 miles. For this reason, we knew that I would not be able to complete the trail in the time that we had allotted, and Adam was have trouble dealing with me in pain. Me, I was just mad and frustrated and wanted to keep going. We bailed on the hike the morning of the third day because my knee was definitely not okay. We did manage to knock out 35 miles, so I was glad for that, and I really did enjoy the was just so beautiful and serene.

At the Ohiopyle Trail Head

Night 1 shelter

Seven Springs Ski Area

Seven Spring

Not all was lost by bailing on the hike though and we had a fantastic weekend with Adam's family. We were able to make it to the 5th Annual Studer Beer Olympics for a few hours to hang out and watch the festivities, enjoy some wine with the neighbors and help them plan their trip to Hawaii next month (oh how we LOVE reminiscing and sharing everything we loved about living there!), and venture down to Adam's dad's high school reunion (I know, I thought it sounded odd to go, but it was a really great time with lots of people we already knew). That and my awesome mother-in-law kept cutting me up watermelon to consume...I probably left there 5-10 pound heavier in watermelon....I LOVE WATERMELON. Seriously, it's a problem. I won't even buy it for myself anymore.