Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Hitting The Wall

[Caution:  Read at your own risk.  It gets ugly!]

It all started as a nice Sunday afternoon hike in the woods.  And then it went downhill.  WAY downhill!  But I'm getting ahead of myself...

After having a couple of lazy days, Vol Fan and I decided we needed to stretch our legs and get in some steps on our FitBit pedometer.  We had a late breakfast and then headed to Gruetli Laager.  We planned to hike to Suter Falls and then on to Horsepound Falls, which according to the trailhead sign should have been a 5 mile roundtrip hike.

It was a beautiful day and it felt good to be in the woods.  We had the trail to ourselves and were thoroughly enjoying the quiet crunch of our boots on the trail.

Suter Falls

As we headed further down the trail, we began to realize that the mileage was incorrect on the trail sign.  But we had plenty of water and some snacks so no big deal.  Right?!?  Just as we reached Horsepound Falls, I started to feel fatigued and developed a slight headache.  I attributed both to the fact that we had just hiked 4 miles on a pretty strenuous trail and that I was tired from having Pita and AB spend the previous night at our house.

Feetie at Horsepound Falls

We took some time to rest by the falls, drinking some water and having our snack.  Looking back, I realize that I was starting to have early signs of 'bonking' - some lightheadedness, some mental confusion in addition to the fatigue and headache.  [Bonking or hitting the wall is usually used in association with long distance sports - marathon runners, etc.  It is the depletion of glycogen in the blood.]

On the return portion of the hike, things continued to degrade for me.  I had to stop and rest several times.  But mainly, I just focused on putting on foot in front of the other.  Inching ever closer to my salvation, the car.

By the time we were within a quarter of a mile of the car, my right leg was barely supporting my weight.  If I stood on that leg and rested the other, my muscles would shake and feel like my knee was about to buckle.  There were several times that I stepped up a large rock with my left leg and was unable to raise my right leg.  Vol Fan had to give me a boost from behind.  I don't know what I would have done without him!

Fun/Scary Note:  At this point in our hike, we heard this...

We did not see the bear but we distinctly heard him.  So we started talking loudly and hitting our hiking poles together to make noise and alert him of our presence.  We also did not waste time moving on down the trail!

By the time we reached the car, my head was throbbing and I was starting to feel nauseous.  If I had known what was happening, we would have stopped at the nearest store and bought a sugary drink and some candy!  But all I could focus on was getting home.  As quickly as possible.

We were within a couple of miles of our home when the worst of it hit.  Without any warning, the entire contents of my stomach emptied.  All over me.  All over my car.  I could not have made a bigger mess if I had tried.  And poor Vol Fan!  He has a VERY weak stomach when it comes to all things gross.  Like very VERY weak!  I thought he was going to DIE before he got me home.

Once home, it took several hours before I was feeling human again.  Not only had I hit the wall but I had gone screaming headlong into that wall.  Lesson learned!


Betsy Adams said...

Oh My---that reminded me of a terrible experience George and I had on a hot summer day in Kentucky several years ago. We were STUPID --and decided to hike a rough trail when it was 95 degrees outside --and we had NO water with us... GADS!!!!

Anyhow--George began getting light headed ---so when we got to the waterfall, we stayed awhile and cooled off. BUT-the way back was UP hill almost totally.. George got more and more light-headed and confused. THEN --guess what he did? He FAINTED on the trail. Scared the S____ out of me... People came by and gave us some water. He came to--but was confused. Someone called 911--and we sat for a long time until the rangers/medics came with a stretcher... By then, GE was feeling better --so he refused to get on the stretcher. With their help, he walked out of the woods to the ambulance. They checked him out --and told him that his blood sugar had dropped tremendously... We went back to our motel --and he slept for awhile. Once he woke up, he felt fine so we went out to dinner as if nothing had happened... That entire episode scared me to death--as you can imagine. From that moment on, we always go prepared when we hike. Take sugar packets with you, and/or some almonds... AND--take lots of water...

Glad you are okay....

George said...

I don't have much to say since Betsy spilled the beans about my episode. I hope you are completely recovered and will soon be hiking again (without hearing any bears!).

Busy Bee Suz said...

You poor thing; this sounds dreadful. So, was it just fatigue? Lack of energy or food?
And seriously....did you trade in the vomit car yet?