I expected Sunday to be awful, but it was surprisingly okay. My muscles were very sore, but not unbearably so. I could hobble around the house well enough and only had real trouble getting up and down stairs and transitioning between standing and sitting positions. Thankfully my joints seemed to have recovered, so I really only had the muscle pain to deal with.
I was, however, sore in a place that I never expected to be — my face. Apparently when I’m in pain, I make a grimace-y/ouch-this-really-hurts face and grit my teeth against the pain. You know how your mom always used to tell you that if you made a bad face for too long your face would get stuck that way? Well, she was wrong. You face won’t get stuck. But if you make that really bad face for 4 1/2 hours straight, it will leave your jaw muscles more than a little sore the next day. So if you ever find yourself in agonizing pain for any amount of time, always remember to relax your face. I cannot emphasize this enough.
And what about my toenails, you ask? Despite my new hiking shoes, I honestly didn’t think I’d make it down the mountain with all of my toenails intact. On the way down, all of my toes felt incredibly bruised and battered. I thought for sure that at the very least my pinkie toenails were history (although I wasn’t too concerned about this since, aside from my two big toes, my little toes sport the tiniest toenails that ever were, so it would take all of two seconds [okay, maybe a little longer than that] to regrow a couple of pinkie toenails). I am happy to report, however, that my new shoes served me well and I have a grand total of zero bruised toenails. Not even a little tiny bruise on any of my little tiny toenails. Thank you, Merrell.
By Monday my face was better, but I was still hobbling badly from sore leg muscles. I was okay with the hobble, though, as it added legitimacy to my claim of a whopping 725 exercise minutes for the week, which I proudly wrote on the office exercise challenge board. All it took was one look at me hobbling around the office to convince my coworkers that I had, indeed, spent an entire day hiking the Peak.
Tuesday — 3 days after the Big Hike — was the first day that I was able to walk straight, with only the slightest hint of hobble in my step. The pain, as Tim had predicted, was finally starting to fade.
As for the accomplishment?
- 12 miles.
- 14,110 feet.
- 10 hours and 40 minutes of hiking.
- 1 unforgettable experience.
Yeah, I’d say the accomplishment is still there. And it still feels damn good.
Would I do it again? Not for a long, long time. And if I ever do climb a mountain again, I will definitely be getting a ride down from the top. Never in my life do I want to walk downhill for that amount of time ever again. Not ever.
But was it worth it? Absolutely.
(Full photo set here.)