Lone Star Hiking Trail 2015

Solo Thru Hike of the Lone Star Hiking Trail – 12/28/2014 – 1/2/2015 (Entry #2)

Journal Entry #2: Sunday, December 28, 2014

Hike Plan #1: – Parking Lot #1 to Stubblefield Campground – 20.3 miles

Weather: Thunderstorms, 35 degrees

LST5

What a crazy wonderful day! I am proud of Josh beyond words. He successfully completed his 20 mile hike with me today…he experienced hunger, freezing wet temps the whole time, pain in his ankles that brought tears to his eyes but he finished. I kept reminding him of something that has gotten me through the coldest of times backpacking in the Northern Sierras and when I was so fatigued on the AT….”Pain, cold, being uncomfortable and walking in the woods is temporary….the pain will end, the cold will end, the rain will stop…so push through my dear…you are stronger than you know.” Boy have I said that to myself a few thousand times since I was 14 years old…but it got me through a stress fracture in my foot on a long distance hike where i couldn’t quit, through a stress fracture in my hip while I was in the finals of a singles tennis tournament in 2010 (Which I won)…most challenges are 80% mental and 20% physical I believe….so if we can remember that everything is temporary, it is amazing how much you can push your body beyond limits you have predetermined for yourself…we are our worst enemies. 

With a starting temp of 35 degrees this morning and pouring down rain at our 8am hike start, he was a trooper. I loved looking up and seeing him with his pack and trekking poles ahead of me watching for the next blaze as I told him I was following his lead today…it was a dream come true for me. It rained 8 out of the 8.5 hours of our hike and the temps never got above 40 degrees….talk about muddy, wet and cold! I have to admit it was kinda miserable but don’t tell Josh I thought that. LOL. He was fine until his feet started to hurt at mile 15 then the tears came at mile 16. My heart broke for him but it was also part of the experience..maybe had he trained even a little, the pain may have been less or maybe he needed to go through this so he could see how strong he was. Either way, I let him be frustrated and upset and just continued to encourage him with my ‘This is temporary’ mindset. We saw no wildlife along the way which was a bummer as there is a section by Conroe Lake we walked alongside where the Eagles nest and when I did a 40 mile hike here in 2011, a dozen eagles soared above my head. But with the rain, I guess they were all bundled into their nests. We were the silly animals out in the rain. It was a sweet sight as we reached the end of the trail at the campground as we were about 20 minutes later than I had planned to finish. Brian had started to worry a little so he decided to walk a little down the trail towards us. When Josh looked up from his feet and saw his dad walking toward him, he was overcome with emotion. It was a sweet moment. Then Brian jumped into action getting Josh’s warm clothes out, getting food in him and getting his boots off of him. This day was a team effort for sure. 🙂 

Once Josh was settled, I sat in the car for a minute as I was shivering uncontrollably as the temp was already down to 31 and I was soaked to the core. They were about to leave to head home so I changed into dry clothes and got the point I could speak without chattering my teeth. I charged my phone to ensure 100% before they left and Brian surprised me with another mini battery charger to help keep my cell charged which was a great gift. I of course always carry my Spot Unit and My Delorme personal GPS to communicate with the outside world, but I always feel more secure with a cell phone as well.

 

It was now time to say goodbye to my family. I gave hugs, ensured all my gear was on the picnic table and we said our goodbyes. I headed for the bathroom to use the hand drier to try and dry my socks and pants I had on previously so they wouldn’t be quite as wet for the next day. As I was doing that, my family came into the bathroom, yes the women’s bathroom (but remember there wasn’t anyone in the whole aground but the park hosts), as they said they wanted to pray for me before they left! How blessed I am! It was new for me to have such family involvement in these type trips as normally I do all the planning, the coordination and the execution of the details, so it was nice to have my family there and involved.

 

The park host came over when the family left and said I could put my tent up under the pavilion for the night if I wanted to in order to stay dry for the night. She said two hikers did that the night before, so I graciously accepted the offer as I am no dummy and would look back at the last dry night with yearning later on in the week. The forecast called for dry weather Mon-Wed but storms and rain on Thursday and Friday so we would see how that would actually turn out for me. Ha! As I climbed into my tent that night, I felt physically strong…20 miles and I didn’t even feel fatigued or sore…but my right foot was a little unhappy with me already, causing me to limp slightly which I hid from Brian while he was there as I didn’t want to worry him…pain is temporary I reminded myself and come Friday, whatever pain I had would end as I drove home in a warm dry truck. It really sucks that my body can be fit and ready for challenges and it is always this stupid foot that is the only thing that causes me to take pause with pain. I guess it would be boring if nothing hurt to make the hike a little more challenging.

Tomorrow I head into the woods alone finally…as I write this, the hunters are shooting their guns trying to get their last trophies before hunting season is over and I am soo grateful for David Marrs who has lent me his orange gear to try and keep me from being mistaken for a buck! Goodnight all!

“Fresh beauty opens one’s eyes wherever it is really seen, but the very abundance and completeness of the common beauty that besets our steps prevents its being absorbed and appreciated. It is a good thing, therefore, to make short excursions now and then to the bottom of the sea among dulse and coral, or up among the clouds on mountain-tops, or in balloons, or even to creep like worms into dark holes and caverns underground, not only to learn something of what is going on in those out-of-the-way places, but to see better what the sun sees on our return to common everyday beauty.” – JM (1894)

(**See Entry #3 under Hiking option on the right)

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