hike it out.
John and I took a weekend trip for our second wedding anniversary. We were only about two months late taking it. Sigh. But that's how life goes.
When we finally made plans, it was a different type of trip for us (usually the beach, dinner and drinks are involved). I've been craving the outdoors and hiking through nature, so I looked into somewhere (anywhere) we could hike a legit trail not far from home--and not one with a boardwalk or asphalt of any kind. I was wishing for mountains in the heart of Central Florida marshlands and swamps, but I found a decent trail at Blue Spring State Park instead.
John was up for it, so we left for an adventure with hopes of a strenuous hike later that day. The hike was 4.5 miles, according to the brochure. But, we had to ask for directions to the trail--not a good sign--and a park employee emphasized, "It's not a loop. You have to turn around and walk back." Psh. Nine miles isn't so bad. I've walked six on the beach without even noticing. That's what I was thinking.
Back packs, bug spray and sunscreen on, we start the trek. It's 11:53am when we start. The sun is blazing. Where were the trees? I had been picturing a shady hike. Not 15 minutes later, John's shirt's off--it's pushing 100 degrees.
But it's beautiful. Wildflowers, Florida trees and plants everywhere. Deer prints in the dirt. Butterflies. Snap peas. Cypress knees in a once-filled marsh. We take pictures, and hunt for Pokemon along the way before running into a couple heading the opposite direction. They made it about three miles, they say, and they're done. They looked tired, but we kind of wondered if that was all that made them want to head back.
They were geared up. I mean, they wore wide-brimmed hats, cargo waterproof-looking pants (long pants), boots and heavy duty packs. John and I, shirtless in shorts at this point (I had a sports bra on, don't freak out) looked like real newbies--unprepared. Hey, at least I brought bug spray. So we kept going, and finally, finally reached the end of the trail overlooking the water--St. John's River, I think.
Proud of ourselves for sticking it out, we looked at the water for a minute, took a photo and turned to take the trail back. Our water was getting low, and we were only getting more tired. So we picked up the pace for a while. In the sunny sections of the trail, we started jogging to get through the heat faster.
All of that was unnecessary because in the end we missed a turn among the trees and got lost. John seriously asked, "How did we get lost going straight?" It's like I wasn't even surprised at this point. I was just so tired, scenes from the Walking Dead becoming very plausible in my dehydrated thoughts.
We only walked an extra mile or two. It really wasn't bad, but part of me likes to jump to worst-case scenarios when things go wrong (something I lovingly attribute to my dad). And apparently we made it back to the park just in time, because the small food stand was closing in 10 minutes. They were out of almost everything, including water (!). Two corndogs, Powerades and cups of ice cream later, we felt not so parched or starved anymore. That food didn't settle too well, though.
But let me tell you, that was one of the best workouts I've had in a long time. A few days later, my legs were still sore. We had so much fun together on the trail, too (besides getting lost at the end). Now, we're hoping to find more places to hike. If you're looking for an outdoor adventure, take up hiking. I'm thinking hiking out west should be near the top of the list.