This weekend, my hubby and I embarked on our long-anticipated return to hiking, setting our sights on the 8+ mile Pine Mountain Trail and White Candle Loop Trails at F.D. Roosevelt State Park in Georgia. Admittedly, we had hiked such distances before, but after a significant break, this trip had an extra layer of challenge and exhilaration.
Our day began at Mile Marker 23, a distinct spot on the Pine Mountain Trail. From the get-go, we took a quick left turn, signifying the official commencement of our journey. The path we walked was beautifully framed by lush greenery and the songs of distant birds, creating a perfect ambiance for what was to be a demanding yet fulfilling day.
Not far from the beginning of our trek, we stumbled upon a mesmerizing sight – Odie Overlook. The stunning panoramic view it offered was our first reward of the day, reminding us of why we fell in love with hiking in the first place.
Further along the trail, we encountered Ferney, a massive and magnificent pine tree that held a sense of awe and mystery about it. Imagine when a tree gets a name, it must be majestic; I have never seen a pine tree that was so large! We couldn’t help but take a moment to appreciate this quiet giant, standing tall and strong, a symbol of the resiliency and beauty of nature.
After a little over six grueling miles, we reached Cascade Falls, a jewel in the heart of F.D. Roosevelt State Park. The sound of cascading water and the sight of the falls offered a breath of fresh air and a sense of serenity. It was a sweet respite for our tired bodies and a testament to our perseverance.
After our snack and a quick rest on the benches at Cascade Falls, we started back hiking to finish our journey. Despite the undeniable beauty around us, the weariness started to set in around mile 7. My feet felt like they were filled with lead, growing heavier with each step. My face, red from exertion and turning even more red as we pressed on, was a clear testament to my ambitious – perhaps overzealous – planning.
What was supposed to be a simple return to hiking felt more like a rigorous marathon. Yet, there was a silver lining. Despite the strenuous path and energy-zapping distance, we learned a lot about our endurance levels, and I had a renewed respect for pacing myself during such activities.
Regardless of how tough the journey was, we never lost sight of the rewarding aspect of hiking – immersing ourselves in nature, challenging our limits, and reveling in the views that make every strenuous step worth it. Each ache, each tired sigh was washed away by the beauty of our surroundings, making our day at F.D. Roosevelt State Park an unforgettable experience.
I can proudly say we conquered the trail, despite the arduous journey and the surprising challenges. And yes, we did learn our lessons: respect the trail, pace yourself, and never underestimate an old love like hiking – it has a way of surprising you when you least expect it!
As our sights are set on the Inca Trail and being prepared to complete the hike with no injuries and a thrilling sense of completion as we will watch the sun rise over Machu Picchu. With each of our weekend hikes, we are one more week closer to the Grand Hiking Expedition!