Pre-Hike 03/01/2015

Let me introduce you to my dad, going by trail name Klondike John!



He will be joining me for a time at the beginning of the hike. He purchased enough of his backpacking gear that we could go on a practice hike together this Sunday.  We hiked part of the Graysville Mountain RMA section of the Cumberland Trail.  Precisely, we attempted the Leggett Road to Roaring Creek Overlook part of the Laurel-Snow segment.

It was a good trip.  We both wore several layers, some of which were peeled off later as the temperature was only in the low 40’s.  I started out without a base layer under my cold-weather REI Mistral pants, which worked out perfectly.  I wore a base layer long-sleeved merino wool shirt, my Patagonia R2 fleece, and a rain jacket since it was raining lightly while we were out hiking.  I should have taken the fleece off much sooner than I did; you will see in the video that I worked up some rosy cheeks.  We both had pack weight of between 25-27 lbs.

The path started out flat and ran mostly parallel to the Roaring Creek river.  The air smelled clean and fresh with a strong scent of pine.  I really appreciate that having spent most of the past five years in smoggy L.A.!  There were some really interesting remnants hailing back from when the area was mined for coal, such as the ruins of an old stone bridge:


There were a few small tributaries that flowed down from higher up the hill to our right that we had to rock-hop over.  I was able to get one such crossing on video.  The snow hadn’t quite melted and there were some spectacular ice formations that had formed over the last few days as the snow melted and froze repeatedly.  I promise, it looks a lot colder in the video and pictures then it actually was!


The trail then started a pretty respectable ascent that got our blood pumping and heart rates up before the way dipped sharply back down to an unnamed tributary that crosses the trail.  The trail description commented that the “drainage [has] stepping-stones that make crossing safe on the rare occasion when water may be flowing fast”.  As you can see, the recent snow and rain made for “extra” rare conditions where the stepping-stones were too far spaced and way too slick to make crossing safe.   Evidently in the summer the bed is often dry!


Klondike John and I took separate directions to find a crossing point, but in the end we decided against risking jumping slippery stones or just walking through and wetting our feet.  I was, however, able to capture a beautiful shot of a cascade from underneath an ice-festooned rock overhang.


The mileage to this point was a paltry one mile so in order to feel like we got a good training hike in, we turned back walked up and down the steep section three more times.

Klondike John found he needed some adjustments to his new hiking pants and I decided that I needed to remember to adjust my layers or at least vent in order to avoid getting too hot while hiking in the cooler weather.  I also found upon returning home that once I do cool down, I need to put the layers back on for a while in order to avoid getting chilled, even indoors. I’m grateful that I got the chance to figure some of this out before the AT hike seeing as Southern California hasn’t really had a winter this year.

During the hike I started reflecting on the nature of anxiety.  I have dear ones that suffer from this to a larger degree than I do, but it is something that came up for me when we first set out on the hike.  In many projects or endeavors I make myself unhappy with anxiety because at the beginning my mind immediately jumps forward to the conclusion of the activity.  As we started on the trail I was already thinking of being back at the car after the hike.  Please don’t get me wrong, I love to hike, but I also love to draw, sew costumes, and do countless other activities, all of which incite this anxiety at times.  The result is that I end up not enjoying myself due to the symptoms of impatience and physiological effects of feeling warm, having tightness in my chest and stomach, and other unfortunate consequences.  Thinking on this, I wondered if when I started on the hike a week hence, would I feel the same?  How will it change seeing as there wouldn’t be an end near in sight? Would my mind jump to feeling anxious about breaking for camp that evening?  Would the hike degenerate to me holding my breath for each day’s end or lunch time, or perhaps the next planned stay in town?  It just seems to me that would be more exhausting than the trip is worth.  Keeping these things in mind, I am confident I can work through this and become more adept at living in the moment while getting a conscious upper-hand on managing my mild anxiety.

I will still need a few weeks to get my trail legs and will struggle athletically at first, to be sure.  It won’t be just a walk in the park (pun intended), but it will give me a chance to really think and work through things in my mind.  My plan is to use this blog for writing on several fronts.  I wish to post videos of the beauty of the trail and my adventures therein, share the statistics of the trail such as elevation, temperatures and weather and the performance of my gear, and finally to write about musings that I will inevitably ponder as I put one foot in front of the other.  It may be at times funny and joyful but in turn also be melancholy, raw, and highlight my frustration.   I hope to provide interesting ramblings for those looking for different things from this blog.  Please let me know if there is anything in particular you would like me to cover in text, photo, or video and I will be so pleased to oblige if I can.  Looking forward!

Click to watch the video:


Music Credit: “Irish Heartbeat” by Van Morrison





24 thoughts on “Pre-Hike 03/01/2015”

  1. Perhaps the anxiety you experience is part of the “perfectionist’s curse?” Being too concerned over the end result makes it easy to 1) stress every detail to the point of driving yourself mad and 2) overlook the importance of the journey to reach your goal. Over time on the trail this anxiety will likely become exhausting, at which you have no choice but to let it go so you can continue on. The benefits of managing this better will have such a positive effect and increase your already incredible potential in your legal education and career. The effect it will have on your inner-peace will be priceless.

  2. Love it. Outstanding. Your blog is much much better than mine. Vivid descriptions. The video is great, entertaining and funny. That trail, area looks wonderful. Amazing icyles.

    1. I try to be a quick study! Honestly, I read so many blogs and journals this past year. I kept a running list in my mind of what I liked and what I didn’t, so this is a compliation of those things; I can’t take full credit. 🙂

  3. I’m really impressed with the way you compiled all this:) You already found some gorgeous shots. It must feel so different than Cali! I’m looking forward to following your blog- I love your descriptions!

    1. Thanks Lauren. 🙂 It is definately nice to be among trees and running water again. I’ve learned to appreciate the desert beauty of the Southwest, but these trails bring back fond memories seeing I was born and (partially) raised in the South. I really hope the system I worked out will allow me to produce daily blogs of this quality while on the trail. There certainly has been a learning curve these last few days!

  4. Wow! We are so proud of you, Malea, for going on this adventure! We are so excited to see you and Klondike John’s daily hikes, and all of God’s wonderful creations that you are seeing, and for your safety. Enjoy all of it! Love to you and your Dad! Nana and Big Dog

    1. I heard the Big Dog story! I miss you both so much! Thank you so much for subscribing and your concern and support. It means the world to me.

      1. You are such a sweetie, and we are excited to be “here” to share in your adventure. Be safe and we have missed you also! Love, Nana

        1. Thank you Nana and Papa Jim! I’ve been slow with the updates, but the transition to trail life is very time consuming! I am pleased to finally start posting updates. 🙂

  5. Waking this morning, I think about you and your hike — your waking up out on the trail. I hope that everything is going well, and you are enjoying the time. Stay safe and have a great time!! 🙂 Melissa

    1. LOL I wasn’t waking up that morning on the trail, but rather at my dad’s house, warm in bed (see upcoming blog post). The best laid plans of mice and men and all that. I’m loving it out here and can’t wait to catch up.

  6. Praying for a good nights sleep, and have a great full day of hiking tomorrow! Big Dog hopes that Dad sleeps well! We send you both our best love, Nana and Big Dog

    1. I hope I don’t disappoint! 🙂 I’m slow to update, but I am finally getting into the swing of things. I also had some technical difficulties. We should hit the trail together when I come back!

  7. Gypsy-

    So glad to meet you and Klondike John on the trail. Keep headed north! Your on the adventure of a lifetime!

    1. Thanks for the Trail Magic; I can’t wait to see the AT yearbook. What a great idea! I hope to see you down the trail.

  8. Hoorah!!! You made it to Franklin, NC and Wow am I ever proud of you! We have been praying for you … every crumb of the way. Enjoy and we love you so much, Nana

    1. Yep, in Franklin catching up on the blog! My trail legs are starting to form so it is time to step up the pace. Thanks for the prayers!

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