Today I hurt. It isn't a good hurt either. Not yet, anyways. My knee aches and my calves are so tight, I'm limping rather then walking. My shoulders ache, and whenever I reach for something, I'm reminded of it. It's all the cost of a hike we went on yesterday.
Pre-kids, my husband and I did two main types of hiking. We did day hikes of 4 plus hours, carrying around 15 pounds or water and gear each. We also backpacked for anywhere from two to eight days. When we backpacked, we carried between 40 and 60 pounds each (depending on how long the trip was).
Now, it stands to reason that we were able to do more distance in a day on our day hikes then was advisable while backpacking. Obviously, when you are carrying that much extra weight, every kilometer takes more energy.
Yet, when considering what hike to do yesterday, my brilliant suggestion was upper Kananaskis Lake. It's a bit more then 15 km with a fair bit of up and down (though I forgot about the up and down when considering it). It's a trail we've done before as a day hike. Remember, our two types of hiking?
The problem with doing a "day hike" trail is that we were carrying backpacking weight. Fortunately, we were smart enough to bring enough food and water to get us and the kids through, so that meant that we were both toting 45 - 50 pounds. Add to that, I already had a slightly sore knee from running and swimming the day before.
We started off strong. I'm noticing that the inclines are getting easier and I don't need to take as many breaks as I used to. It's a beautiful lake, and the views are spectacular. It's mildly touristy, but most of the tourists stop after the first kilometer or so, meaning it isn't too busy.
We hiked along the lake's edge, then through some trees. Over some loose gravel and bigger rocks, the site of an old rock slide. Back along the lake, through more trees. Past a waterfall, and a bridge. Stopping for a bite to eat with the kids.
The kids are loving being carried on our hikes. Who wouldn't? They get a easy ride through some of the most beautiful spots in the world. They giggled and laughed, occasionally sang. Sometimes kicked, or threw their weight about, making it a wee bit more challenging for Mommy and Daddy.
When we were about a third of the way around the lake, we knew it was going to be longer then we expected. Once we were halfway around, we knew we had taken on more then we should have. The terrain was not as level as we had remembered it. And doing it while carrying 50ish pounds is not the same as doing it with a light day pack.
We pushed on though. Once you're halfway done a loop, there's no point in going back. May as well finish.
There was a spot where the little waterfall made some really cool ice formations.
Then it was starting to really hurt. Our shoulders ached and our calf muscles started to tighten up. My knee, which was a bit sore at the beginning was starting to protest bending. We stopped at the point where we had 4 km left.
This point was actually one of two parking lots on the lake. Regrettably, not the one we were parked at. I suggested going on by myself to get the car while my husband stayed with the kids. I could walk without a pack and make better time. Hubby would be spared from hiking the rest of it at all.
Seemed like a good idea, right? Well, no. Not really. I started to get a chill while we were stopped having our snack and realized that the person staying behind may get too cold. Plus the kids would probably freak out seeing one of us walk off. Plus, I wasn't aware of it at the time, but my pace had slowed way more then I realized and it wouldn't have been a good idea to carry on alone. Plus we had seen bear signs in a couple spots (it is the rockies after all), so it's always better to stay together.
So, we carried on. I got another wind and realized that part of my problem was that I hadn't had enough food/fuel. I took a few swigs of my husband's gatorade (I usually just drink water) on the remainder of the hike. While it hurt, knowing we were getting closer to the end made it seem more doable. Finally we hit the parking lot.
I could barely lift my (sleeping) daughter out of the carrier to get her in her carseat, but soon enough we were in the car going home. Bodies stiff and pushed to their limit climbed into the car. I was the lucky one that got to be the passenger. We grabbed some of the food left in the car and shoveled it into our mouths, and then we were on our way home - about 7 hours after we had started.
It's important to know your limits, and yesterday, we went beyond ours. I actually did okay for the drive home, but right after we got into the house, I started shivering uncontrollably. It meant I got first crack at the hot shower, so I guess there's some benefit. My husband thinks I had gone into shock, and I while I hate to admit it, he may be right.
Today has been a rest day, and tomorrow is looking like it may be as well. Running won't happen in the morning. I know that I'm better off waiting another day then going and risking true injury. Currently nothing feels worse then an overuse injury and I'm confident it will feel better if I let it get there without further stress.
Will we do it again? Not to that extent if I can help it - particularly with the kids along. But, yes. We'll do it again. This is why: