Gnats. Lots of ’em.

Posted by Meg

We haven’t had an organized team hike for a few weeks. On off weekends, Genevieve and I usually meet up for our own trail day. For the most part, we’ve been lucky with the trails we’ve picked for non-team hike days. But yesterday’s hike was not a good one.

About 2 miles in, we both looked at each other and said that if we were not training for the Xtreme Hike for CF, we would turn back to our cars and drive the 2.5 hours home, by ourselves, to our respective cities.

But we find ourselves just seven weeks away from the finale 31-mile hike day, so we trekked along for another 11 miles. We did not take a single picture. We were just trying to get finished. Here’s why it sucked:

  • Rain. It rained for the first few hours. Our pruny, water-logged feet squished along in our soggy shoes for 13 miles.
  • Snakes. Unknowingly, Genevieve’s trekking pole nearly speared what looked like a timber rattler that was hanging out on the trail. That’s the kind of stuff that causes nightmares.
  • Overgrowth. The more interesting part of the hike was overgrown — like 3 and 4 foot-high overgrowth. After spotting the snake earlier, we chickened out and did not make it up to the overlook.
  • Gnats. Clouds of them followed us for 6 hours. At points, it was difficult to open our eyes as they were flying right into them. (And into our mouths.)

But enough with the negativity. On a positive side, 13 miles was not too tough, which makes us happy to see our training progress. And all of this is for a cause much more significant than a crappy hiking day.

Our fundraising is also seeing great progress — We’re about halfway to our $5,000 goal! Thank you to all who have contributed and are cheering us along. If you haven’t yet, we hope you’ll consider contributing to help us reach our goal.

  • To donate to Genevieve’s page, go here.
  • To donate to Meg’s page, go here.
  • Should you wish to write us a combined check, shoot us a note at hikingforcff@gmail.com, and we’ll send you our mailing address.

A few things I’ve learned so far

Posted by Meg

Second Team Hike - Dobie Mountain

Second Team Hike – Dobie Mountain

We’ve now had our second CFF team hike. Our group has grown to 26, and I am so happy with the sense of comradery and enthusiasm around doing this to raise money and awareness for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

I’m starting to keep a running list of things I’ve learned during training so far:

* Blue Ridge Mountain Sports is a fantastic resource, both for equipment and knowledgeable staff.  That is where our hiking guide and leader is from of course.

* It is fun to have a coach again. Getting emails reminding me I need to train (and then feeling guilty when I don’t) is motivating.

* Trail people stink. Seriously. Hold your nose. (I guess I would too if I hadn’t showered for several weeks.)

* Through hikers are also not ashamed. Last weekend, we ran into a couple on the trail wearing nothing but their underwear.

* Trekking poles look dorky, but they are actually very useful. Same with camelpak-style backpacks. You know. The type that hold water.

* Notice I didn’t call it a back-pack with a water bladder. Bladder. That word is weird.

* Hills suck. I don’t know what is worse. The lack of ability to inhale going up. Or, the shakiness in the legs coming down.

* There is something incredibly liberating about your cell phone not having any service when you are in the woods.

* A visit to a local brewery is a great reward after a hike. Might I suggest Blue Mountain or Blue Mountain’s Barrel House if you’re ever in the area.

More upcoming hiking this weekend. We’ll keep this list going. Thanks again to everyone for the ongoing support!

Dodging Bikers

Posted by Meg

Our first “cousin hike” was along Buttermilk Trail on a Wednesday evening after work. We crossed over the bridge to Belle Isle and hopped on the trail. Soon, we found ourselves in the woods, dodging flocks of mountain bikers. As we jumped off the trail to let the bikers pass, we realized we should also be dodging all of the poison ivy along the sides of the trail.

View from Buttermilk Trail

View from Buttermilk Trail

Despite the bike traffic, it was enjoyable to find ourselves in the woods, but still be in the middle of the Richmond. (Very convenient for those of us working downtown.) Although we only finished a portion of the whole trail, we were able to take in great views of  the James River and downtown.

All in all, it’s definitely a trail we’ll try again, but will give ourselves more time to get through all 6 miles next time.

View of Downtown RVA

Downtown RVA