My brother Brian, my nephew Garrison, and I decided to try our luck on the Alum Cave Bluff trail in the Smoky Mountains this past Friday while we were all there on vacation. We got to the trail about 1pm and headed up. It's about 2.5 miles to where we wanted to go and about 1300 feet of elevation gained. We really had no business being there. Brian and Garrison had been on antibiotics earlier in the week and I was having serious problems with sinus drainage and keeping my nasal passages clear.
I knew in the first mile it was going to be rough on me, but I was still enjoying it. I had my day pack with me but I ended up making Brian carry it after the first quarter of a mile since it had about two gallons of water in it. The weather was perfect at least. It was about 60 degrees with a slight breeze. After the first mile it starts getting steeper, and I was having to stop to catch my breath quite often. I just didn't have any wind that day. I'm sure the elevation had something to do with it, since by the time we turned around we were getting close to being at 5000 feet.
In the end we stopped about half a mile from the cave bluffs. I wanted to try to go on, but my left nostril had started bleeding some and Garrison had already had runny poop about 3 times on the way up to there. The trip down was much easier and quicker, but by the time we made back to the truck we were all three dragging pretty hard.
Still, the trail we saw was extremely beautiful and we saw some interesting features, even a few snow banks left over in the shade from a snow storm that came through about three weeks ago. My legs were whipped after the hike, but I didn't really have any pain the next day, so my walking the past six months at least paid off in that respect. Who am I kidding, six months ago I would have been lucky to make it a half mile up that trail and back. Hopefully next year when we go back we won't be sick before we head up and we'll make it to the top. I'll have some pictures of the hike up in the next few days.