Ultimate Hike Update

Ultimate Hike Update

Bear with me a moment, I am running a bit behind...first let me tell you about the hike on March 18. We met at Harbison State Forest for a 7:30 AM start. We hiked eighteen miles.

I can hike 10-12 miles most any day; it may not be pretty, but I can do it. Once you get to about fifteen miles, I cross an invisible barrier. Equipment that works fine for ten miles starts causing problems at fifteen. Muscles start asking, "what are you doing to me!!!???"

That is why we put in long hours training...building up, adding a couple of miles each week so that our muscles, our minds and our equipment is ready for the Ultimate Hike...a 30-mile/1-day endurance event.

After the eighteen miler, we got in the car to drive home...and stopped for a late lunch...while everything was fine sitting in the car, when we got out it was not pretty at all! Muscles had gone on strike. That was OK, I have been here before, I knew that I still had work to do but I would be fine with more training.

A hot shower is a wonderful thing after a long day of exertion...I turned slowly under the hot water and it felt great. I took two Advil PMs and went to bed, knowing I would sleep soundly. I expected to wake refreshed...a new man. Everything was going according to plan until I tried to lift my head off the pillow. Somehow during the night, the muscles in my neck...the only muscles I had not used during the hike...had gotten scrunched up and I was having muscle spasms. I really hate to be whining but as my supporters, I figure you bought a ticket to the entire event. Don't NASCAR fans enjoy the wrecks as much as the race?

A doctor's visit, four days of prescription pain relievers and muscle relaxers later, I could turn my head again. I passed on the 20-mile walk with the group on March 25. I was no longer in pain but the occasional twinge told me not to risk it. I did go out to Harbison Forest to see off the group at 7:00 AM. We have a wonderful team this year, the largest team ever from Columbia. We have everything from bubbly young women to a curmudgeonly old guy (oh, wait, that's me!) There are eleven of us; life and schedules mean that a few are missing each week but it has truly been a pleasure to train with these dedicated people.

I always enjoy watching Spring come to the forest. With the hot weather in February, I expected things to come to life early (it had in the city and most had been killed by the short cold snap)...in the woods, it was happening more slowly. The dogwoods were blooming. When I missed the hike last week, I missed the emergence of the white lilies in the low wet areas. Mel (the other Columbia Coach) sent me the photo at the top of this post.

This Saturday, we will be doing our first practice hike with headlamps. So, if you want to come see us off (yes, I am fine and hiking again) and cheer us on, be at Harbison by 6:00 AM. We practice this because on the actual hike the first groups hit the trail by 4:30 AM and it is totally dark in the forest. We will be hiking 20-22 miles tomorrow.

Again, thank you for being a part of my support team and contributing to the fight against children's cancer.

Happy trails to you -James

Those of you "of a certain age" may like to reminisce with Roy and Dale singing Happy Trails: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcYsO890YJY

James A. Brannock
Personal Property Appraisals, LLC

About the Author

James A. Brannock

James A. Brannock

James Brannock is a Columbia personal property appraiser (furniture, silver, art, antiques, etc.). He began backpacking when his son was in Boy Scouts and spent 10 days backpacking at Philmont Scout Ranch...he continues to backpack once or twice a year with friends from those Scouting days. Brannock and his son, Calder, walked the Coast to Coast Trail across England in 2010 (see the photo from the Lake District). On the Ultimate Hike for CureSearch-Children's Cancer Research, Brannock walked over 30 miles in one day...some eight miles further than any previous single day personal record.

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