Well, we left Friday a little later than I planned after organizing and reorganizing the packed van in order to fit the dog. Thankfully, when we arrived at the campgrounds we were told that there were 2 electric sites left. We ended up near the latrines, but they actually didn't smell all that bad. Thankfully!! It took us a while to get the tents up, but once we did Hubs surprised me by asking if we wanted to head off to Ash Cave.
We ended up at Cedar Falls because hubs got a little confused as to where he wanted to go, but we spent a good hour and a half (maybe more) climbing a million stairs from the parking lot to the falls, which were amazing! An enormous volume of water comes down the falls there. The only problem I had was my knee slipping out when my foot slipped on a rock trying to cross to the other side of the stream coming off the falls. Thankfully it went right back in and I pushed through the discomfort. Surprisingly, I did much, much better following to pop-out incident, so it's getting much stronger!
By the way, that's our dog, Joey. He's a Siberian Husky/Norwegian Elkhound mix.
The next day, Hubs surprised me again, suggesting we attempt to walk from the campsite through Old Man's Cave, Cedar Falls and onto to Ash Cave. I wish I knew how far we eventually walked. We got to Old Man's Cave just fine, and then down to the lower falls. Amazing, both places! And the boys were able to actually go behind the Lower Falls.
Me at Old Man's Cave - already sweating! *lol*
There are my boys over there behind the Lower Falls on the left. The boys loved this trip!
After our little lunch break here, well, we got a little turned around. We ended up heading up toward Cedar Falls only to get all the way to the top of a bunch of stairs and find that the rock bridge was out. Taking the crazy route like other people was a little out of the question with my knee, two small kids and a dog. So we headed back down. And then we misread the map...okay, I misread the map actually. We planned to just go back to camp and drive to Ash Cave. We went the wrong way on the path and ended up at Cedar Falls after like FOREVER! The path was insane. There were huge rocks we had to scale and Hubs was worried I wouldn't make it over some of them. We were also worried about Joey, but those worries were wholly unfounded and downright silly because, well like the Husky in him, Joe was the lead dog of our pack. He showed us which ways to go and we followed. He pulled us up hills and stairs and just kept going no matter how hot he was or tired. Huskies are amazing creatures! Seriously - the determination was just beautiful!
After a particular difficult path...and still not done!!
At Whispering Falls. Beautiful! (Exhausted...all of us!)
We thought we were nearly done...we were wrong. We ended up at Cedar Falls and then headed up to the parking lot where I considered letting Hubs walk back to camp and bring us the car. Hubs was all ready to go and I got up from the picnic table and said, "No...we can make it." And we walked another probably 2 miles, up huge hills and back down and up again until we finally found the camp.
We walked a total of 5.5 hours straight...with breaks, of course....no clue how many miles but easily 6-8 or more. We hobbled back to camp and Hubs pretty much collapsed on the picnic table, where he fell asleep for like an hour and a half. I crawled into the tent, changed my clothes and fell asleep while trying to read. An hour later I got up and started the fire so we could eat some hot dogs and smores and such.
I cried. A LOT! At one point near the end I was sure we were lost again and had gone the wrong way. When we finally found the lake (at camp) I nearly cried again. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen! My legs are still sore....but hubs seems to think they look smaller. Hubs finally asked me as we were drifting off to sleep last night, "What was the most memorable part for you?" And I had to say it was climbing over these huge rocks, up one that Hubs said looked like a friggin' cliff. When I got to the top he said, "Oh my god! You are amazing! I didn't think you could do that." He said I surprised him several times yesterday. He asked if I remembered the part where I was going to have him go get the car and then I refused to quit and I kept going. It's good to know that even though I was crying and whining and carrying on like a baby, he was still proud of me.
One girl on the trail looked at me as I was leaning over (I kept doing this to stretch out my leg muscles, especially the muscles in the back of my knees...I don't think I would have really survived otherwise!) and said to her boyfriend, "Is she okay?" *lol* One Indian fellow saw me near the top of the climb to the Cedar Falls parking lot and got freaked out thinking the way to Cedar Falls and crap was that much work. I laughed and said, "Oh, no...don't let my appearance fool you. We've been hiking for about 5 hours now...it's really not that far to Cedar Falls." He laughed and thanked me. A couple people found it annoying that it took me so long to go up and down the stairs (hello! Babying a hurt knee that just popped out yesterday!), but I really didn't care. I knew that what I was doing was something amazing.
So, yes. I ate badly. A couple smores. A few bites of a banana boat. Four hot dogs in two days. Doritos. Some McDonald's, an Arby's roast beef and a small curly fry later...I still don't feel that bad. God only knows how many calories I burned! And gallons of water I drank! I did pack a healthy lunch for everyone for the hike and some trail mix (thankfully I packed hearty healthy food for that trip or, again, we may not have made it!). We set out at 11:00 am or so on Saturday and didn't get back to camp until around 5:00 pm.
(I'll weigh in tomorrow morning but I sneaked a peek right after we got back and it said I was down to 386.0.)